Review: Angel Olsen’s Big Time


Review: Angel Olsen's Big Time

Angel Olsen has traversed many genres throughout her career, always maintaining an experimental edge within what would normally fall under the heading of “folk”. But for all these experiments, she had never fully engaged with the country’s vast borders—until now. her new album, Big time, which she previously teased with the release of the single “All The Good Times,” proves the move was long overdue. From the subject matter to the natural twang in Olsen’s voice, the genre offers an opportunity to hold the story she wants to tell.

As the pandemic wore on, Olsen came to terms with her sexuality and entered a same-sex relationship, only to see it end with heartbreak. After coming to terms with her newfound identity, Olsen finally plucked up the courage to come out to her parents, who welcomed the revelation with open arms. However, this relief soon turned to sadness as both her mother and father died soon after.

In a profile in The New Yorker, Olsen says she was inspired by legends like Dolly Parton, Nancy Sinatra and Loretta Lynn. All three women show a talent for turning their heartbreak to gold, which is where they come to terms with Olsen. in the Big time, She creates her most beautiful work to date, a tapestry of pain, love and Acceptance – not just of self, but ultimately of what we have to leave behind in this life.

While the St. Louis songbird never runs out of melancholy, she rarely struggles with grief. This time, however, feelings of loss form the basis Big time. However, this sadness also comes with a sense of peace and serenity, the kind that can overwhelm someone when gazing up at a western sky. Olsen guides us through an Americana-driven journey, taking specific, measured steps along the way. The songs are not hard to remember. Rather, they feel like a hand guiding the listener through the lessons Olsen has learned over the years. She brings with her a well-deserved wisdom and no longer feels like she is fighting herself. She trusts in her ability to overcome suffering.

Pondering about the past fades in and out Big time, in songs like “All The Good Times” and “Dream Thing”. In the latter, Olsen borrows country instrumentation with the new inclusions of pedal steel and organ adding richness to her delicate vocals. The track takes on a dreamy quality towards the end, with Olsen’s soothing voice leading the way. This continuity continues on “Ghost On” where the bass takes the lead in a slow dance. In the offering we get a taste of a woman who refuses to fit into the images others project on her.

The album’s powerhouse falls on “Right Now,” as Olsen asserts herself as someone who moves at her own pace, singing, “You can slow down I ain’t going fast.” Beginning with a simple acoustic guitar line, it all builds eventually to a thundering bridge reminiscent of those found on All mirrors. Here Olsen finds the perfect balance between her two songwriting extremes. Lightness and hope pour into the song with a warbling guitar parting the clouds and letting in the sun. In two of her previous songs – “Chance” and “Give It Up” – she asks, “What do you think I need? ?” In “Right Now” she no longer asks, but tells the listener who she is and what she thinks of it: “It’s time to let go.”

Sadness creeps in again on “This Is How It Works” where we find a singer fed up with the pain and bad news. Olsen stops by to take a seat, like in an old, empty bar with a personable bartender at the wheel. Tired of grief, she asks the listener to “tell [her] something good.” Olsen again seeks sympathy and understanding on “Go Home,” with his distinctive snare and subtle strings. Her voice takes on a reveling quality as she almost sobs, “I’m dancing, baby, but I feel like dying Even then, the idea of ​​letting go of the past and moving on comes up again when the song is sung with the lyrics, “How can I move on? Forget the old dream, I’ve got something new.”

Every song in it Big time offers its own odyssey, teaching new lessons along the way. Life has been giving Olsen hell the last few years, but even with that comes the new joys of fresh love (as exemplified on “Big Time” and “Chasing The Sun”) and a newfound wisdom. Big time is a monumental work about loss and how quickly things can change. We see Olsen finding renewed vigor as a songwriter, resulting in an album filled to the brim with radiance and conviction.

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