What is it about heartbreak that drives one to explore the depths of grief rather than run away fast? Then, as a listener, what makes us want to grapple with someone else’s despair instead of looking for a happy song? Things are intensely personal on I Don’t Want To Let You Down in a way that is both captivating and raw with open wounds. Not content to place blame, Van Etten explores relationships with empathy from both sides of the figurative divide. On the title track, Van Etten sings “When dreams grew black / I didn’t want to see the light”; her voice both pleading and determined to hold together the shards of a relationship that has already failed. Observations don’t contradict one another as much as crash and lay emotions strewn upon the road with pieces not even large enough to gather up. As the EP continues it becomes quickly apparent that the end of a love affair is the uniting theme. “Just Like Blood” explores lost communication, “I Always Fall Apart” looks at the need for a confidant, and “Pay My Debts” views the destruction caused by distance. Each song has a different perspective but conclusions are similar in their longing for circumstances to be somehow different than what they have become. I Don’t Want To Let You Down may not be happy, but sometimes it’s good to have a soundtrack for tears. After all, heartbreak is universal and it’s great to have a haunting voice remind us we are not alone. I Don’t Want To Let You Down is out on June 9th.