Best Albums of 2016: An Ode to Angel Olsen’s ‘My Woman’

“Do I need to give more attitude or uh..” Angel Olsen, playing the part of 1970s roller rink vixen clad in a silver tinsel wig, deadpans to the camera in the waning seconds of her music video for “Shut Up Kiss Me.” The song dropped this summer months before her album “My Woman,” (a record you’ll find on most of these Best of 2016 listicles that are drowning your newsfeed) the follow-up to her poetic manifesto, “Burn Your Fire For No Witness,” was released in September.

The rockabilly-tinged anthem details early break-up angst, the panic-stricken hours spent staring at your phone waiting for the call, eyes rolling at the dragging hands of the clock. Tension builds throughout the track until finally it reaches full-blown catharsis.

“Love so real it can’t be ignored / It’s all over but I’m still young,” Olsen howls as the song moves from 1960s country territory to haunting layers of screams and synth.

“My Woman,” offers a departure in sound and mood from Olsen’s previous releases, which garnered the St. Louis native a cultish following. (Introverts like me who drove to Nashville and Chicago in the same month to catch the Angel in the flesh).


Olsen’s early releases sometimes left her misinterpreted as a tormented artist, like some sort of female reincarnation of Elliott Smith. The pair share the gift of crafting cryptic, moody folk songs that articulate complex emotions in precise language. The most haunting of which detail mental anguish and the quiet, soul-crushing moments of frailty and loneliness.

“My Woman,” finds her staring down these same cumbersome feelings once again. There is still pain and remorse, lingering thought bubbles of self-doubt that hover uninvited as she wakes up to greet another Monday. Her songs offer answers if you listen closely. When the truth is elusive Olsen’s voice, aching and resilient, cunning and bright, offers solace. Like the warm, dappled rays that bend to your face on the first sunny day in March. The reprieve you need just when you thought about turning the lights out. “The thing that lives in the dream when it’s gone.”


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