The breathiness of Lana Del Rey, the jazzy upbeat of Zooey Deschanel, and a devil’s-in-the-details touch that’s all her own, Angel Olsen’s album is one to dance around your room alone and maybe have a good cry to.
But in a really good way.
Olsen started her career by singing in bars and coffee shops as a teen in St. Louis, MO. Her first EP came out in 2013 and her latest “MY WOMAN” is a fusion of cool indie rock, classic crooning, and a Southern kick paired with aesthetics you couldn’t possibly match.
The album moves its way into quietness. “Intern” is one of the more synthesizer-heavy tracks on the work, and introduces the album with a mellow beat that somewhat averages Olsen’s sound as a whole. It encompasses a dream-sound that have made artists such as Del Rey big, but pairs with a punch of reality. Meanwhile, songs like “Not Gonna Kill You” mid-album keep the breathy voice and pair it with a more Southern-influenced beat. The last track “Pops” shows off Olsen’s talent for making soft words and even softer piano an exciting thing to listen to. It’s fluid, natural, but enough to keep you interested.
Lyrically, Olsen’s works are depressingly relatable. Juxtaposing her ‘50s era crooning with feminist subjects, she sings, “Tell me that love isn’t true / I dare you to understand / What makes me a woman.”
It echoes the heartbreak and romance from a different era, but is mixed with the confrontational force of a modern day woman. The repetition of “all on my own” on “Those Were the Days” is simultaneously striking and dreaming. The work as a whole insists that softness can be strong and worth listening to.
The music video for “Shut Up Kiss Me” particularly is a great reminder of how no matter cool you are, there’s always someone cooler than you—in this case, Olsen. Her tinsel silver bob and dirty white roller skates alongside her Audrey Hepburn bangs that look like they’re too short at first, but then you realize they’re actually really cute, though you get the feeling that Olsen doesn’t really care. She hits the mark where people have missed it before, and it’s rejuvenating to see it happen.
If you’re looking for the newest shoegazing punk, Olsen is basically it.