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Songs We Love: Sharon Van Etten, 'Just Like Blood'

Sharon Van Etten
Laura Crosta
Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten could sing the instruction manual for a dishwasher and make it sound like lyrical poetry. Over the course of four full-lengths, her voice has only evolved and grown both bolder and more nuanced. Van Etten plays every word like an instrument, bending one note into the next with a woozy purr that's sometimes sensual, sometimes heartbreaking but always arresting.

"Just Like Blood," the latest single from Van Etten's upcoming EP, I Don't Want To Let You Down, out June 9, is a slinky slow burner that finds the singer rifling through the vestiges of a torrid love affair, recalling how it triggered her darkest impulses. As with most of Van Etten's work, her voice is the centerpiece, curling around simple organ and piano lines. "You set me off just like a gun," she sings. "Then you run just like blood." It's the moment in a tanking relationship when you realize the other person only brought out the worst in you.

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Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.
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