Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Buy On
  1. 100
    While Are We There can be taxing at points, by its end, you’ll be overcome by the feeling that you’ve shared in something profound.
  2. Her self-produced fourth album executes another dramatic confidence leap.
  3. May 22, 2014
    100
    She gives everything, and it’s impossible to be unmoved.
  4. May 27, 2014
    95
    She has never sounded more confident. Van Etten’s fourth album marks the true arrival of a singer who’s been on her way for a long time, and thinking of her as anything less than a career artist is certainly a vast underestimation.
  5. May 27, 2014
    91
    Are We There offers an artist in full command of her voice and her instrument, a woman who knows exactly what she wants to offer listeners and who isn’t afraid to accompany the barest streaks of sunlight with thousands of clouds.
  6. 91
    Are We There functions best as the portrait of an artist coming into her own, while hopefully putting some of her demons to rest.
  7. Jun 5, 2014
    90
    It reveals yet another side to this musician, who has continued to pull back layer after layer since she first appeared on the scene.
  8. 90
    Are We There will make sure to conjure it up and hold you rapt as you trundle through it together.
  9. May 22, 2014
    90
    Are We There is one of those rare albums when you stop listening to the music as simply a combination of chords, melodies and carefully constructed instrumentation, but as essential, emotional communication from one person to another.
  10. Uncut
    May 22, 2014
    90
    Are We There's subtler songs point to a painfully well-honed understanding of what drives and degrades long-term love. [Jun 2014, p.70]
  11. May 22, 2014
    90
    It’s a truly fascinating listen.
  12. May 22, 2014
    90
    One of the most vivid, involving, troubling albums about the trials of love in recent memory.
  13. May 27, 2014
    88
    In answer to the question posed by the album title, Van Etten's characters are still in transit, spinning their wheels, uncertain of their destination. No wonder their soundtrack brims with turbulence.
  14. Jul 2, 2014
    82
    Hearing Van Etten’s performance on [Your Love Is Killing Me] and several others are downright shiver-inducing.
  15. May 27, 2014
    82
    Are We There may be her most present-tense album to date, her most immediate and urgent--the peak of a steady upward trajectory.
  16. Magnet
    Jun 13, 2014
    80
    Her fourth and most accomplished album to date maps a course to know-not-where in the most emotionally direct, imaginative way possible. [No. 110, p.60]
  17. Q Magazine
    Jun 13, 2014
    80
    As on Tramp, Van Etten's lyrics remain similarly frank. [Jul 2014, p.117]
  18. May 29, 2014
    80
    The first four songs on Are We There don’t work as well as the later ones. Ultimately this doesn’t hurt, because the later ones are among her very best.
  19. May 29, 2014
    80
    A richly rewarding set from a songwriter growing with each release.
  20. May 28, 2014
    80
    Written and recorded herself, Are We There, her fourth full-length, is a Sharon Van Etten record through-and-through.
  21. May 28, 2014
    80
    Indecision and despair may be her favorite subjects to write about, but musically, Van Etten has crafted an assured, resounding triumph.
  22. 80
    Van Etten tackles heartache with refreshing sharpness, distilling complex sentiments into something beautifully simple.
  23. May 27, 2014
    80
    For a wallow in obsessive love, it’s hard to top “Your Love Is Killing Me” on Sharon Van Etten’s fourth album, Are We There.
  24. May 27, 2014
    80
    While still immersed in songs of emotional ravagement and betrayal, the confidence of her performances and spectrum of sounds represented here suggest a complete graduation from troubled, uncertain roots into a place where she can deliver her songs with a powerful, borderless command.
  25. May 27, 2014
    80
    Van Etten has gained in confidence and widened her scope, and the results are impressive.
  26. May 27, 2014
    80
    It has little in the way of variation, even less in the way of optimism, but feels completely whole despite that lacking.
  27. May 23, 2014
    80
    Are We There cuts deep into the skin of its creator and finds Van Etten more exposed than ever.
  28. May 23, 2014
    80
    Her magnificent fourth LP grows her trademark examinations of romantic decay to cathedral-like scale.
  29. May 23, 2014
    80
    Discernible throughout Are We There is the sense that she is operating with more levity and confidence than ever before, and a song that ends with a joke, a studio outtake and the sound of laughter is the perfect way to see it out.
  30. Mojo
    May 22, 2014
    80
    There's alot of her here, and the connections are all her own. [Jun 2014, p.89]
  31. Jul 17, 2014
    78
    Self-production and guests like Loudon Wainwright III and the Roches scales back Are We There in all the right ways, letting the drama ooze from vocal performance above all else.
  32. May 23, 2014
    75
    It's a fraught listen, though, that's for sure, and Van Etten's to be applauded on her boldness and vision, which nudges closer and closer to something truly remarkable and game-changing. If this isn't it, it's damn close.
  33. May 28, 2014
    70
    The lyrics, direct and occasionally graceless, find a deeper resonance in Van Etten's unhurried delivery.
  34. 70
    Are We There is definitely an album that will reveal itself to you with closer attention and multiple listens, as opposed to Tramp, which was a little catchier with its obsessions right from the get-go.
  35. May 27, 2014
    60
    Those happy to go with Van Etten will be rewarded by swooping pop noir, groaning organs and a sax solo, plus considerable hard-won wisdom.
  36. May 22, 2014
    60
    Van Etten's melodies often feel as if they're not quite taking flight, and rarely cause you to catch your breath the way her lyrics do.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 72
  2. Negative: 3 out of 72
  1. Mar 23, 2015
    10
    Songs like "Your Love is Killing Me" and "Afraid of Nothing", reinforce the acclaim this masterpiece absolutely deserves. This erie album hasSongs like "Your Love is Killing Me" and "Afraid of Nothing", reinforce the acclaim this masterpiece absolutely deserves. This erie album has the best songs to sit to alone on a rainy day or take a long drive out into the countryside. Beautifully written and Sharon's vocals sound better than ever. Full Review »
  2. Nov 30, 2014
    10
    Wanted to award 9.5 as if there is anything to complain about this album is it feels too short. SVE is one of the best female/musical artistsWanted to award 9.5 as if there is anything to complain about this album is it feels too short. SVE is one of the best female/musical artists of our generation IMHO. This album is worthy of album 2014 for my ears.

    Overall I love Sharon Van Etten and I think she loves my ears back! X
    Full Review »
  3. May 28, 2014
    10
    Short, smart, moving, relaxing, it's everything you expected to be, with amazing lyrics and a calming rhythm, this album succeeded inShort, smart, moving, relaxing, it's everything you expected to be, with amazing lyrics and a calming rhythm, this album succeeded in delivering us a masterpiece. Full Review »