Your Love Is Killing Me
I first heard a version of “Your Love Is Killing Me” in October 2012, when Sharon Van Etten stopped by the 9:30 Club and played the song-in-progress for a captivated crowd. Never before had I seen a new song spark so much stunned silence during — and intense conversation after — a concert. It’s no wonder, though, because “Your Love Is Killing Me” is one of the most vivid, honest and gut-wrenching pieces that Van Etten, already a master of expressing raw emotion, has ever written. We in the audience talked of the imagery evoked, the pure torture of love that’s conveyed through lines like “Burn my skin so I can’t feel you / Stab my eyes so I can’t see / That you like it / When I let you walk over me.” We were all itching for a recording of it, and it’s finally arrived in advance of Are We There, Van Etten’s fourth album, which comes out via Jagjaguwar on May 27th.
The recording is six minutes of pure emotional intensity that’s at once brutal and beautiful. It digs deep into the complexities of love and relationships, not just through Van Etten’s writing, but in the new boundaries to which Van Etten has pushed her voice. Her vibrato is in itself a double entendre; it’s wide, on the verge of faltering, but ultimately, it is used to display her strength. Though not for the faint of heart, “Your Love Is Killing Me” is worth a listen for anyone who appreciates incredible songwriting.