Watch Sharon Van Etten Unplugged and Substantiating Her Spot Atop the Best of 2014 Lists

Dec 16th, 2014 in Music


We’re currently reconnoitering and conjuring and divining our annual Best of 2014 lists for publication at year’s end.  We remain firm in our belief that publishing those lists before year-end does a disservice to those artists releasing music in December.  And truth has been borne out:  at the risk of slighting Elbow, The War On Drugs, Spoon and Sharon Van Etten, we will likely make Nicki Minaj’s just-released album our Best Album of 2014.  Sorry, just checking to see if you’re still reading.  That’s officially sarcasm, people.  It is highly unlikely that Ms. Minaj will ever receive praise on The Lefort Report.  What the world needs now is Anaconda?  Jeesh.  Sorry, got sidetracked there.

In comparison, Sharon Van Etten is one artist whose 2014 album and songs deserve to be at the very top of the Best of 2014 lists.  We don’t know of an album released this year that cut as deeply into our hearts and ears as SVE’s Are We There.  It’s her best album to date (self-produced too) and simply magnificent from stem to stern.  We love everything about it, including how perfectly it soundtracked a memorable train-ride across France last summer.

One of the more difficult tasks ahead of us is attempting to pick amongst all the deserving songs on Are We There for our Best Songs of 2014 list.  Amongst the possibles are Afraid of Nothing and Tarifa.  Both songs are wee-small-hours evocative and weighty in their separate ways, and the recorded versions are unassailable.  Thanks to KDHX we now have stunningly-great, unplugged performances of the two songs, which you can watch below.  We had not heard Van Etten perform unplugged recently and were (once again) taken aback by her stirring and incisive tremolo-falsetto (especially on Afraid of Nothing).  No vocoder.  No adornment.  No anaconda.  Just art distilled to its essence.

Photo by Nate Burrell

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