ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
July 14th, 2014. "When I first met Sharon [Van Etten], I was impressed by her rare combination of vulnerability and courage, and I wanted to capture this in the video," says Karen Collins, the director of "Our Love," which premieres here today and was co-produced by our very own team here at V Magazine. "On set I felt like a privileged witness to something very personal. For greater intimacy, she closes her eyes for most of the video. But Sharon has the most beautiful eyes in the world, so I felt some sadness in doing this. Luckily, she opens them in the end."
On paper, Sharon Van Etten's road towards the critical acclaim she's receiving for her fourth studio album Are We There looks (refreshingly) substantial. Often compared to indie greats like PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Mazzy Star—who relied on, instead of the aftermath from remixes and mashups generated from MP3 "leaks"—actual demo tapes, Van Etten is an anomaly in today's music climate. When asked about her success, she almost sounds naïve, mentioning a demo that somehow found its way into the earbuds of TV On The Radio's frontman Kyp Malone. And from her 2009 debut album onwards, she's steadily gathered some of the most formidable names in the industry (she's collaborated with the National, Nick Cave, and J Mascis, to name a few). One only has to listen to her careful sound and sensitive lyrics to know that she isn't, of course, naïve—even if, from the looks of this video, she'd like you to think otherwise, Sharon Van Etten's eyes are wide open.
"Working with Karen was a dream," she tells V of the video's production. "We sat together and talked about imagery and feeling and distance versus connection, lightness versus darkness—referencing directors like Tarkovsky to articulate beauty in understatement and slowness. 'Our Love' is about someone acknowledging that having loved and letting it be over can be just as beautiful as being in love. It can also be a form of rebirth and renewal and inspiring and uplifting, even in the darkness and sadness."