Top 5: Why Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten should be best friends

Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten together

My two favourite singer-song writers: Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten need to be BFFs.

I can’t believe it – there isn’t even a photo of them together, a cover of each other’s songs, or a duet by either of them. I’m hoping they don’t see each other as direct competition or foes…

Therefore, I have collated five compelling reasons why they need to be besties forever:

1. They are both from New York and are of a similar age.
Fiona from New York City – now 38 – released her first single in 1996. Sharon from New Jersey (then moved to Brooklyn), New York – now 34 – released her first in 2009.

2. They have similar styles of music.
It’s safe to say they are of the same genre… Mellow alternative rock, I guess. Both have a jazz/folk tone to them too. They both have incredibly emotive lyrics and hooks in their songs that you just can’t get out of your head.
Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten togetherFiona’s songs are perfect for those times when you’re royally pissed off, or bitter about something. Sharon’s songs are perfect for those times when you’re feeling a tad melancholy or nostalgic. Fiona and Sharon’s vocals are both natural-sounding, as in, their live and recorded versions tend to sound identical. PURE TALENT.

3. Powerful songs.
Fiona’s Not About Love and Sharon’s Your Love is Killing Me are their most powerful songs (both of which I have over-played).

Not About Love
Conversation once coloured by esteem
Became duologue as a diagram of a play for blood
Took a vacation, my palate got clean
Now I could taste your agenda
While you’re spitting your cud.Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten together

Your Love is Killing Me
There he let it go, his temper, standing there
See her with his gun and he, steals love so he can feel alive
Everyone’s knees knockin’ at the fear of love
Taste blood
Everybody needs to feel.

As a side note: Both singers have a song called ‘I Know‘.

4. Similar style and character.
Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten togetherBesides their musical style being similar, they are both grunge, messy, quirky, yet stylish at the same time. I bet they shop at the same stores… They’re both kind of shy and humble in interviews, too.

5. It appears they both write only when they’re unhappy.
In the case of Sharon, she uses song writing as an outlet, a way to process the hard times. Fiona’s work is a ‘pep talk’ to herself when feeling low.  Neither singer has a happy song… I think the closest to a happy song of Sharon’s is ‘One Day’ or ‘Our Love’ at a pinch… And Fiona’s ‘Extraordinary Machine’.

Despite their similarities, I think Fiona’s writing is more complicated and broader with her use of language, but Sharon’s melodies and harmonies are beautiful.

Nevertheless, both artists punch you in the feels. Hard. Both FiFi and Shazza (if I may be so bold as to give them nicknames…) have the ability to transform strong emotion into relatable music. Both tell stories incredibly. And their work always brings back vivid memories of people, places or instances in my life, which is a talent and gift in itself.


About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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3 Responses to Top 5: Why Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten should be best friends

  1. Interesting..lately I found myself comparing Sharon Van Etten with Mark Eitzel (American Music Club). As songwriters they are male/female-side of same soul to me with an emotional reach in their songs that will tear you apart

  2. I think that this is a brilliant observation.I have just begun to discover Sharon recently. I loved Fiona Apple from the first time I was exposed to her work. I am actually a singer songwriter pianist myself and I was in a sideshow in Coney Island when I was 20 doing something ridiculously silly to me now to supplement the pitiful living I made from being e lifeguard and bartender. Music was a cathartic necessity that I accidentally got a little bit of attention and notice for doing in public and I got a couple shows booked from it, then more and I didn’t know how to be a dick and say “no thank you I’m glad you enjoyed it but it’s actually a coping mechanism and I can’t imagine it’s going to end well if wireless faceless communications are worldwide and commonplace in a few years and I have to see personal attacks on my private life because I don’t know how to set boundaries…” so I ended up in New York where a label bsded in New Jersey and another actually wrll lnown major label were talking about signing me. I had a few meetings with both and then my agent played a demo for me that was a girl who was just 18 in September… Sony WORK had just signed her and she was “edgy, piano..lower voiced, navel piercing, tattoo…It’s a better packaged version of you,” I heard 2 tracks and I was just like…who are you? It was like a multiple choice gift from the Universe… I had a viable reason why SONY’s competition label were going to admit that they’ve lost to a better candidate… I found someone who had a modern with almost prohibition era style vocal and a fellow vocabulary junkie, and I am amused by a navel ring being edgy to the people in my old label
    I loved Apple before the world heard her and even when snobby elitist gave attitude because shehad multiplatinum singles, I like the things that touch me. I Am going to love Sharon; I already do. pepper mcgowan

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