Vanessa Carlton Unveils “Future Pain” From Upcoming Album

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Early this year, Vanessa Carlton went into the studio to record her next album, Love Is An Art. Although it’s been done since last spring, we’ll have to wait until spring 2020 to hear the full album. Luckily, we have a new song to make that wait more bearable. Vanessa just shared her new single “Future Pain,” our first taste of her next chapter.

“Future Pain” has an immediate start, Vanessa crooning gently over fuzzy synths and shuffling percussion. She paints a scene of a man at a bar, succumbing to his same bad habits. But Vanessa’s romance with him is ill-fated, and she knows it. On the chorus, she sings, “I’ve got nothing to lose and nothing to gain but future pain,” bass giving extra weight to her words. “Future Pain” picks up on the second verse, reaching a peak with a bridge that says “bad boys become sad boys; it’s only cute when you’re young.”

A false end just over two minutes into the song gives way to an explosive ending, sweetly reminiscent of Vanessa’s pre-indie music. It’s the fullest sound we’ve heard from Vanessa in over a decade, showing how the two halves of her career can fit together.

Vanessa described “Future Pain” to PAPER, who premiered the song yesterday, saying:

This song is about repeating a pattern we know has the same unhappy ending and finding comfort in a pattern that is self destructive. Choosing dark over light. There is darkness in all of us. When and why do we let it win?

Listen to “Future Pain” below:

You can stream or download “Future Pain” from all the major music providers here. The song will appear on Vanessa’s upcoming album, Love Is An Art, due out in spring 2020.

Upcoming Album

In addition to “Future Pain,” fans can also get a taste of two other songs on the forthcoming record. Last May, when Vanessa announced that Love Is An Art was mastered and ready for release, she also shared snippets of “Love Is An Art” and “Patience.” Vanessa first played “Love Is An Art” in March 2017, later saying that it may be the title of her next album. It looks like she was right! Fans may also remember “Patience”; Vanessa uploaded a 1-minute recording of the song to SoundCloud way back in 2012. It’s exciting that we finally get to hear a proper recording of the song!

In an interview with The Cut in summer 2018, Vanessa spoke a bit more about her forthcoming 6th album, revealing that it was “partially inspired by Michael Pollan’s new book How to Change Your Mind. The concept came about a few years ago, based on a collaboration with indie music producer Dave Fridmann.”

The six covers she did in 2018 may be an indication of how her new music will sound. She told The Cut:

Doing covers is a way, as a musician, to see A) where your head’s at, because how are you going to interpret this? It’s like a mirror. And then B) it’s also a place where you can experiment and try different sounds.

Revisiting Vanessa’s Work

Vanessa Carlton’s last album, Liberman, came out in fall 2015. It launched stunning singles like “Blue Pool,”“Operator,” “House Of Seven Swords,” and “Nothing Where Something Used To Be.” Since then, Vanessa also released a few special albums and EPs. We got Liberman Live in 2016, followed by the Earlier Things Live EP in 2017. Then last year, Vanessa released six covers; you can now get them all in one package on vinyl.

More Vanessa Carlton News

Earlier this year, Vanessa Carlton also moved into exciting new territory: Broadway! From June 27th through September 1st, Vanessa played Carole King in the Broadway musicalBeautiful – The Carole King Musical. Will musical theater continue to play a role in Vanessa’s future or influence her own music?


Love Is An Art is due out in spring 2020. Enjoy “Future Pain,” and get ready for more news as the album’s release date draws closer. As always, keep checking back here for all the latest Vanessa Carlton music news.

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Hidden Jams

Hidden Jams is a music blog for super fans. Check out our new merch store for all of us who love music. Click "Hidden Jams" above or the image on the left to see our store.

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