I Don’t Want to Let You Down

One of Sharon Van Etten's greatest artistic traits is capturing life in all its messy splendor with her songwriting, and the songs on her new EP, I Don't Want to Let You Down, offer further proof. The title refrain is something most of us can relate to, and Van Etten gets even more vulnerable on “I Always Fall Apart,” a song about not handling crises especially well. One of the EP's cleverest moments comes on “Just Like Blood” when the rock rhythm gradually begins to fade out after she sings, “Shot me up like a gun/Then you run like blood,” as the life of her relationship slowly bleeds out. And with an opening line like “It took me years to find true peace” from “Pay My Debts,” she shows in one little line that the arc of her narrative might be on the upswing. The songs here came out of the same sessions as Van Etten's 2014 album, Are We There, and her downbeat and engaging drawl continue to mix perfectly with an ambient folk and quiet Americana sound to make for a treat of an EP.