Sharon Van Etten has one of those weary voices that infects each of her songs with an irresistible pain, but it's a pain rarely worn on her sleeve.
Her latest song really plays to this skill. The median tone of "Every Time The Sun Comes Up" could be described as 'yawning contentment,' and she never really strays too far from it. She could be happy, she really could—hear the summery strumming and bass line, the great droll lines like "I washed your dishes / but I shitted in your bathroom," the humming, the giggly outtake at the end—but when she hits that slow, sad, sing-a-long chorus that makes her sound like Florence Welsh's introvert cousin, you understand the deep pain welling underneath. "Every time the sun comes up, I'm in trouble."
It's not often I hear a song like this. The juxtaposition is executed perfectly; she could be smiling, she could crying out for help—it depends on how you listen to it, where you listen to it, why you listen to it. Do you want to hear the happy ambling bass and twinkly piano on a sunny day, or do you want to wallow in the repeated wail of the chorus and confront the devastating depression it implies?
This is how "Every Time The Sun Comes Up" rewards, and deserves, repeated listens. Today she's smiling.