Seventeen - Sharon Van Etten

from the album Remind Me Tomorrow (2019)

Imagine yourself as a songwriter who has taken on the daunting task of composing a song that converses with the person you were, and the place you lived, when you were seventeen.

What would your message be?  Would it be a happy reflection, or perhaps sad?  Would you advise the former you to jump the first train out of town?  Would you give counter-intuitive advise, like party your brains out and have tons of sex?  It is interesting to think about.

Arguably the greatest reflection on this subject is the song At Seventeen by Janis Ian, a soft ballad that laments on the hurt associated with being outcast, and feeling rejected, in a world where you are not pretty enough to be part of the in-crowd.

In her song, Seventeen, Sharon Van Etten takes the counterpoint to Janis Ian, reflecting lovingly on that girl coming of age in NYC.  She embraces the freedom and dreams of youth.  The endless possibility.  She contrasts this with a dose of reality, touching on the fears and struggles that come with age.  It strikes the perfect balance.  However, at its core, this is a love song - positively written - to her former self.

I am enamored with her treatment of the subject.  This song is truly beautiful

Click Here to watch the official video for Seventeen by Sharon Van Etten.

Click Here to read my May 2014 blog post for Every Time The Sun Comes Up by Sharon Van Etten.

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