Kicking the weekend off with an artist who’s done something that only some of my favourite artists do, get me connected with the lyrics before I’m hooked on the music. Personally I almost always get hooked on the music and melody of even the vocals before the lyrics start becoming part of the picture for me, but the serene sadness and melancholy rhyming of Angel Olsen slays me every time.
Her new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, is a modern musical take on the sadness of old country, back when country had a truly sad side, it’s brimming with loneliness and heartache and makes for an emotional listen. “Hi-Five” showcases Olsen’s range amazingly while also showing the grit of her sound and bitter sarcasm of her lyricism. The line “Are you lonely too?/Hi-Five/SO AM I” feels so jaded it makes me smile at how over being lonely she is that she sees it as just a part of life that you accept. “Forgiven/Forgotten” adds a slightly off-tone sound to her voice and adds an even more distorted sound to make a driving rock song that’s sad, the only word I can think to describe it is country-punk, and some of the shredding at the end is so reminiscent of “Heroine” I’m hard pressed to say differently.
“High & Wild” goes back to a more clean sound and adds a rolling piano line that fills any space that Olsen’s enchanting voice leaves open. At times she even sounds like Grace Slick and her line “You might as well be blind, YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE BLIND” is so commanding it grips me every time.
More from Angel Olsen’s debut album soon.