Are We There
Even though many of the songs on Are We There muse on the pain of difficult relationships (plainly evident in the titles of tunes like “Your Love Is Killing Me” and “I Love You But I’m Lost”), Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten sounds strikingly confident on the follow-up to her stellar 2012 album, Tramp. Whether she’s leading a dusky, after-hours synth-rock dirge (“Break Me”) or mournful piano ballad (the sublime “I Know”), Van Etten is brilliantly self-possessed. Alternating between a chilling whisper and throaty wail, the songwriter's forceful yearning—for sleep, for patience, for a romantic silver lining—unifies much of Are We There. But in such capable hands, suffering has rarely sounded so good.