Angel Olsen’s newest album, “My Woman,” the third album from the indie-folk artist, builds on themes from her 2014 project, “Burn Your Fire for No Witness,” while staying true to her soulful and entrancing sound. On “My Woman,” Olsen contemplates the human experience, relationships and womanhood in a way that comes off as dreamy and romantic. In a press release for the album, she explained that it deals with “the complicated mess of being a woman,” and that many of the tracks are open for interpretation.
Accompanying the physical album is a bonus vinyl, “Others’ Blues” featuring covers of Roky Erickson’s “For You” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than The Rest.”
Three singles released prior to the album were accompanied by music videos. Olsen was very involved in working on the videos. She produced, directed and starred in them. The first single of the three, “Intern,” is atypical in that it is more synth-based than her traditional sound. In the accompanying video, Olsen remains deadpan, and her eyes appear haunting, reflective and observant. The eye contact in the video feels almost as if she is mesmerized with herself in a mirror.
In the line, “I am going to fall in love with you someday / I’m gonna fall in love and run away,” she is predicting her own behavior, perhaps based on her past actions, making her relationships with others just as much about the relationship with herself.
“Intern” is about waking up and going through the motions, whether on a day-to-day basis, in life or in love. In the song, Olsen reveals her artistic motivation the desire to “… be alive,” and “make something real.” Her lyrics are both unnerving and reassuring, saying that it “doesn’t matter who you are or what you do,” something will be there to “make a fool of you.”
Olsen’s lyrics on the album showcase longing. She is yearning, depressive, lonesome and comfortable with herself all at the same time. This creates an interesting bridge between Olsen and the audience.
In “Shut Up Kiss Me,” Olsen is a woman taking agency. This is a woman obviously frustrated, somewhat nostalgic and not ready for the subject to become a part of the past. Olsen’s self awareness comes through in subtle ways. The line, “I could make it all disappear / You could feed me all of your fears,” is a nod at unhealthy relationships as well as a yearning for refuge and closeness.
Each listen to Olsen’s new songs brings up fresh insights and questions. Olsen proves to be a complex lyricist with a range of emotions and the ability to convey them effectively through her music. Her newest album is worth a listen for those in need of a contemplative musical experience.