Oct 05, 2022
By Mark Redfern
Photography by Michael Schmelling
Sharon Van Etten released a new album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, back in May via Jagjaguwar (stream it here). Now she has announced a deluxe edition of the album and shared a new song from it, “Never Gonna Change.” The deluxe edition also includes one other previously unreleased song, “When I Die,” as well as two previously released singles that didn’t make it on the album: “Porta” and her beloved 2021 duet with Angel Olsen, “Like I Used To.” We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (Deluxe Edition) is due out November 11 via Jagjaguwar. Check out “Never Gonna Change” below.
Van Etten co-produced “Never Gonna Change” with Daniel Knowles. In a press release she says the song “is about managing depression and anxiety in the midst of isolation. Coping with recurring fears throughout adulthood, acknowledging that flaws, fears and triggers can’t be overcome, they are a constant part of one’s identity to learn to be at peace with.”
Read our review of We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong here.
Van Etten released no advance singles from the album, preferring that fans heard the whole thing in one straight shot. But when the album was released the album’s “Born” and “Mistakes” both made our Songs of the Week list. Then she also shared a video for “Mistakes.”
In a previous press release Van Etten had this to say about preferring listeners hear the whole album at once: “From beginning to end, this album is an emotional journey that documents the rollercoaster of the last two years we have all experienced in our own ways. I hope you will take that ride with me. Thank you for staying by my side.”
We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is the follow-up to Remind Me Tomorrow, which came out in 2019 via Jagjaguwar.
A previous press release set up the new album in dramatic phrasing: “Sharon Van Etten has always been the kind of artist who helps people make sense of the world around them, and We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong concerns itself with the questions we ask ourselves when we think the world—or at least, our world—might be ending. Have we loved as well as we could? Did we try hard enough? How do we protect the things most precious to us from destructive forces beyond our control? And how do we salvage something worthwhile when it seems all is lost? In considering these questions and her own vulnerability in the face of them, Van Etten has created a stunning meditation on how life’s changes can be both terrifying and transformative. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong articulates the beauty and power that can be rescued from our wreckages.”
Van Etten co-produced the album with Daniel Knowles and recorded and engineering most of it herself in a new custom built studio in her family’s home in Los Angeles. Van Etten plays guitar, synthesizers, piano, drum machine, wurlitzer, keys, and more on the album, but was also joined by her regular touring band of Jorge Balbi on drums, Devon Hoff on bass, and live musical director Charley Damski on synthesizers and guitars.
“I wanted to approach this release differently, to engage my fans in an intentional way, in an effort to present the album as a whole body of work,” Van Etten said in the previous press release. “These 10 songs are designed to be listened to in order, at once, so that a much larger story of hope, loss, longing and resilience can be told.”
Of the album cover, Van Etten says: “I wanted to convey that in an image with me walking away from it all, not necessarily brave, not necessarily sad, not necessarily happy.”
“Porta” was shared in February via a video for it and was one of our Songs of the Week. “Used to It” was originally penned for an HBO documentary, Baby God, about “a fertility specialist who takes it upon himself to impregnate women with his own sperm,” and was also one of our Songs of the Week.
Last year Van Etten and Angel Olsen released the joint song, “Like I Used To,” which was shared via a Kimberly Stuckwisch-directed video. The duet easily landed at #1 on our Songs of the Week list and was also #3 on our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list. Then they performed the song with a full band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Then they shared an acoustic version of the song and performed the acoustic version on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
In April 2021, Van Etten released epic Ten, an anniversary reissue of her 2010 Epic album, via Ba Da Bing. It featured covers of the some of the album’s songs by notable artists, including Fiona Apple, Courtney Barnett and Vagabon, IDLES, and more.