Angel Olsen – My Woman
Feminist themes rise to the surface in the Missouri-raised singer's new album
This article is from 2016.
There are many words to live by on this excellent new album from Angel Olsen. 'Have whatever love you wanna have,' she commands on alt-country aria 'Heart Shaped Face'; 'Let the light shine in', she advises on galloping grunge chorale 'Not Gonna Kill You'. And as for 'Shut Up, Kiss Me' – well, a woman's patience has its bounds.
Olsen's earlier albums, and previous work with Bonnie Prince Billy and the Cairo Gang, leaned more towards downtime Americana and folk, but My Woman thrives on fuzz-pop, indie-rock, alt-country and psychedelic soul, variously recalling St Vincent, the Pretenders, Fleetwood Mac and the Shangri-Las. The album was co-produced by Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira) and its broader sonics are embellished by Seth Kauffman (guitar), Emily Elhaj (bass), Joshua Jaeger (drums) and guitarist Stewart Bronaugh (more guitar).
The Missouri-raised singer-songwriter has said of My Woman that although she never strives to make explicit feminist statements in her work, related themes nonetheless make their presence felt. She suggests that one idea at the heart of this record relates to 'the complicated mess of being a woman and wanting to stand up for yourself, while also knowing that there are things you are expected to ignore, almost, for the sake of loving a man.'
As befits such comments, and indeed an album entitled My Woman (whose stand out tracks include 'Sister' and 'Woman'), Olsen's third long-player affirms her position as a singular, strident rock'n'roll artist, who's tired of putting up with shit. She questions the power balance of love, and trust, on shimmering alt-rock groove 'Give It Up' ('What is it you think I need? Everything? It's not true … ') and refuses to budge on the loved-up remonstration of 'Shut Up, Kiss Me' ('Stop pretending I'm not there'). Overlook her at your peril.
My Woman is released via Jagjaguwar on Fri 2 Sep.