Wednesday, July 28, 2021

MEET... Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen is an American singer-songwriter with a nostalgic, soulful voice that harkens back to 50s and 60s legends like Connie Francis and Dusty Springfield. Described as Neo-Folk to many, Olsen is an indie pioneer who takes us on an emotional journey through her tender lyrics and melodies. 

Over her nine-year career, Olsen has released up worthy acoustic songs, along with highly produced tracks with an orchestral backing. Within these years she has released five studio albums. 

If you want to feel like you’re living inside a movie, I’d suggest getting to know Olsen through her album “All Mirrors”, released in 2019 through Jagjaguwar. It’s an album that is vulnerable and open - a trademark of Olsen’s songwriting - that is further emphasised by the orchestral and string accompaniment. Though this album is a standout from her other works - Olsen has often used very heavy guitar and folk elements in previous songs - it is undeniably the best way to start with Olsen's discography. Screw leaving the best till last! Highlights for me are “Spring”, “Chance” and the title track “All Mirrors”. They are songs laced with the pain of memory and growing older. These topics Olsen deals with a lot, but with this album, they are blown wide open, and the listener can genuinely feel her sentimentality while singing about hope and lost dreams. 

Continuing your journey with Olsen, her album “My Woman” would be a notable second listen. Released in 2016, this was her first album that ventured outside folk and entered the realm of pop. This album was the first I heard of Olsen’s at the age of fourteen. It featured fantastic melodies that stuck in my head, like the ones in “Shut Up Kiss Me” and “Never Be Mine”, songs that felt like a modern retake on the sad 60’s songs I listened to growing up. “Intern” is a particularly good example of this. 

Adventuring into Olsen’s folk era, start with her “Strange Cacti” debut EP, the cover art I particularly love. This EP is for the Sunday morning after a night out, where you’re still hungover and feeling quite sorry for yourself. “Drunk and With Dreams” and “Some Things Cosmic” explain that feeling exactly and are standouts of the EP. To explain it in one word, it's lovely. It gives an oddly romantic view to existential dread and life.  Her debut album “Half Way Home” released in 2012 is rather similar to this, though not the best out of her discography. Olsen’s best venture into folk may be her second album - the one that put her on the map - “Burn Your Fire for No Witness”, released in 2014. This is where her guitar rhythms take full effect. If you prefer rock music, definitely give this album a go. The title track “Unfucktheworld” is my favourite. 

Whether you decide to follow Olsen’s discography as I suggested (or decide to mix it up because I’m just a woman on the internet) it doesn’t matter. She plays and sings emotionally and beautifully, and listening to her music makes it okay to be a flawed human yearning for something more. And no, she is not related to the Olsen twins.

Martha Kelly

Instagram- @martha.rfk

Twitter- @marthaanother

Image- Olsen_DSC_0329_%2813619947523%29.jpg 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;