We all know there are times in which we prefer to enjoy our own company, and whether the activities that follow include taking a stroll at our local park, reading a book, or thinking of intellectual philosophies — Angel Olsen is there to guide us through. The Chicago based singer-songwriter stated in a previous interview, “It’s very important to enjoy time alone with yourself and just existing, because existence is kind of cool.”
Raised in St.Louis, Missouri, Angel Olsen’s career began as a backup singer with Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s band, as well as the musician Emmett Kelly and his band, The Cairo Gang. Not much can be said from there, Olsen proved to be more than a backup singer. The ability to control the pitch of her voice in such a way, led her to stand out and release an EP (Strange Cacti, 2011) and a debut album (Half Way Home, 2012). Now she has returned with her sophomore album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, a beautiful and enchanting lullaby.
Her passion is heard through the speakers as they blare her vocals, but when one sees her live, that passion is not only heard, but seen. As she sings, she seems entranced in her own lyrics and music, as she sings direct from the heart.
WHY WE DIG HER:
Angel Olsen is not afraid to express what she truly feels. The feeling of loneliness, heartbreak, and human observation sieves through her songs, unafraid of whether or not they will be welcomed. The only thing Olsen hopes for us as listeners is to relate and share the thoughts a lot of us hold. The sincerity and rawness of vocal emotion she gives causes tingles, similar to when one sees her live. Its pretty great seeing a musician entranced in their own lyrics, singing from the heart and truly captivating the audience.
“Unfucktheworld” — Angel Olsen’s lyrics are beautifully prevalent on the opening track to the album. The title is something we all desire, but Olsen seems to be singing about a lost love and what she does in order to get closer to that love. However, she then realizes that the love that was once there is lost and left in isolation, a theme serenaded throughout the album.
“Forgiven, Forgotten” — A fun pop-punk ballad featuring pounding drums, with Olsen singing lyrics depicting an argument between a loved one and herself. She forgives and forgets, but does not receive the same treatment from her significant other. With this song, Olsen bluntly summarizes the emotions that exist when one is in disagreement with another. She sings “All is forgiven…/All is forgotten…/You never forgive me.”
“Hi-Five” – Although Olsen has barely started listening to country within the past year or so, its clear that she picked up a few sounds when making this song. The feeling of being lonesome is praised with a sincere high-five from Olsen who makes us feel like we’re not alone. “Are you lonely too?”, she asks, “So am I”.
“Iota” – A beautiful song that speaks from the heart. “Iota” spells out for listeners the many possibilities we all wish we had. This is emphasized with starting off each of its song phrases with “If only”.
THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE ANGEL OLSEN: Honest — Soft — MusicfortheSoul
Mar. 1 Soda Bar* San Diego, CA
Mar. 2 The Echo*# Los Angeles, CA – Click here for tix!
Mar. 3 Great American Music Hall* San Francisco, CA
Mar. 5 Mississippi Studios* Portland, OR
Mar.6 The Media Club* Vancouver, BC
Mar. 7 Barboza*! Seattle, WA
Mar. 8 Mikey’s Gyros* Moscow, ID
Mar. 10 Larimer Lounge* Denver, CO
Mar. 12 SXSW Austin, TX
* = w/Cian Nugent
# = w/Paul Bergmann
! = w/Shenandoah Davis
Angel Olsen’s new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness was released this week on Feb. 17 via Jagjaguwar Records. You can order it here.
Words: Brissa Sanchez