Sharon Van Etten's Beaten Down Dirge Video
I had thought that Sharon Van Etten’s brilliant, Remind Me Tomorrow album, #6 on The Best of Echoes 2019, might be a onetime flirtation with electronic music. But now she follows it up with a new, darkly hued single, “Beaten Down”. Over a slow dirge electronic groove, and spare synth pads and instrumentation, Van Etten sighs about life’s travails in that silken voice, urging her protagonist to stay strong even when making choices they’d rather not. It’s not all about being true to your ideals, but sometimes it’s just as noble to simply survive and carry on. Shot in black & white on barren California plain, it opens with Van Etten wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sitting on a simple wooden chair isolated in the open space. She sings, sometimes sitting disinterestedly, sometimes walking a horse, sometimes shouting the chorus as her hair and dress are tossed by the wind. All of this happens while the dancing duo of Allison and Veronica Huber, dressed in black leotards, move through synchronized abstract dance moves. You can feel echoes of some of Johnny Cash’s mid and late-period videos and look. It’s a haunting work.