Sharon Van Etten on The Battle of Relationships Vs Career

From Drowned In Sound:

Going back to the very intense songs. ‘Your Love Is Killing Me’ is a lot to take in. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way. You sing , “Burn my skin so I can’t feel you”“Stab my eyes so I can’t see”. The way you describe the physical effects of love on your body reminded me of your home recording ‘I Can’t Breathe’.

SVE: Oh, wow, that’s old, that’s not even officially out anywhere. Well, they’re about the same person! [Laughs].

Oh, really?

SVE: He just gives me that feeling! ‘Your Love is Killing Me’… that one I call “The Beast”. Heather heard many versions of that song while we were on the road. It started with just me playing guitar, but I heard it in my head with a drumbeat that I wanted. I kind of knew sonically how I wanted it to be, but I didn’t know it would get to the point that it did. It got a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. It’s one of the few guitar-driven songs on the record, you know? I wrote that song around a time where I had to make a choice. I had promised my boyfriend at the time that I was going to stay home after touring for like a year, but then during that time I got offered the support for the Nick Cave tour. It was that struggle… the whole record is basically about that struggle between relationship versus career and the struggle of having that balance between the two. It was a very hard decision to make and I ended up choosing the Nick Cave tour over staying home. It was a big transition for us at the time. We fought a lot starting then; it was the beginning of the end. That’s when I wrote it. The song is about when you love somebody so much and you can go through all this pain together and you can see what you’re doing to them, but you still make this other choice. You end up seeing this masochistic kind of love where you do realise what you’re doing to somebody: even if it’s not actually something you’re doing to them, you scan still see how they react to your own choices. Sometimes no matter what you do and no matter how communicative you are it can still really hurt. Even if you’re trying to be honest, you’re trying to be yourself and to do what you want to do, sometimes it’s just not enough.