“Murderer of poets, murderer of songs/Who robbed me of your memory, who robbed me of your time,” Van Etten croons over staccato piano, pulsing synth and marching drums. “Made her way into the symphony/Of your beautiful mind, of your beautiful mind.”
In an interview/in-studio video, the singer-songwriter detailed her inspiration for covering the song, which Williams first released on her 2016 LP, The Ghosts of Highway 20.
“My mom first introduced me to Lucinda Williams’ music when I was a teenager,” Van Etten says in the clip. “But back then I was a bit angsty, and I rebelled against her very much. And so quietly I would listen, but outwardly I would act like I wasn’t a fan. Then, later in life when I was writing my own music in my Twenties, and my mom and I reconnected as adults, we realized that we still had a shared love of Lucinda Williams. And I had never been so moved before because it was something I felt like we finally shared.”
“I picked this song ‘If My Love Could Kill’ because it was a song about [Williams’] dad, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and her frustration with it, as well as her love for him and the wanting to understand it,” she added. “It was a combination of love and anger and frustration. And it’s also just a really beautiful song … It will forever be the soundtrack of my life.”
The 10-track Music Moments also features Sting’s previously released cover of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” along with recordings from Band of Horses, Joan Jett, Jason Isbell, Anthony Hamilton, Lee Ann Womack, the Head and the Heart, Nile Rodgers and Brett Eldredge.
“The Music Moments album, and the stories behind the songs, set the stage for sharing experiences and fueling important conversations,” Michael Carson, chief marketing officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a statement. “Ultimately, these conversations are critical to reducing stigma about Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. We are relentless in our pursuit to increase awareness and advance the cause.”
Van Etten’s contribution follows “Staring at a Mountain,” her new song for the Eliza Hittman’s film drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always.