Shut Up, Kiss Me, Hold Me Tight (Angel Olsen, My Woman review)
Ever read Peter Pan dear readers? Or watch one of the many animated and live action movies that exist? Well, there is this idea out there that Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up and so he stayed in a state of perpetual childhood.
Now, in the media it’s become rather common to refer to those who engage in youthful behaviour without wanting to or feeling unable to grow up as having Peter Pan syndrome. It’s not considered as a psychological condition, but there is definitely a movement.
But what about people who oppose the normative behaviour and also experience that full range of emotions, are they still called adults?
Angel Olsen – My Woman
released September 2, 2016
Angel Olsen is an American folk and indie rock singer and guitarist. She also manages to channel some punk, western country and psychadelic rock when needed – Olsen is incredibly sorrowful, uncut, raw, and mindful. And from what I’ve heard it only took her 3 full-length albums to get there. *cough* Anthony Fantano *cough*
This is what grunge should have sounded like if it had some ska in it. Eat your heart out Nirvana and No Doubt. Or to put it another way, and ironically it breaks my heart to say this, this is a much stronger version of anything that Leslie Feist has ever put out. And I love me some Feist. Like, I can’t even – you have no idea what Leslie Feist did to my dumb little punk rock heart in 2005. Go listen to Let It Die, Open Season, and The Reminder after listening to this and tell me I’m not right. I dare you. It’s not gonna kill you.
Which incidentally is my favourite track on this little piece of album gold. I mean she even has a song called Heart Shaped Face, that just has to be a send up to Nirvana. It just has to.
Olsen does something special on every single track. She uses the best instrument she has, her voice, and arranges the melody accordingly to carry the weight of each message. The first half of the record starts out as woefully naive and volatile with its themes of love, but the back half puts itself it the shoes of one who has loved and lost, dealing with regret and that bitter disenchantment that dulls the edge of each love ventured.
The thing about excellent country music is that it doesn’t have to be about dead dogs, broken trucks or marriages ruined. It has to be authentic to the artist it represents, paying homage to what came before, but also owning the moment of what is. If I had to pick a track to represent the back half it would probably be Sister an epic of growing up and growing apart and rather well put by Olsen herself – you fall together, fall apart. A close second would have to be slow burner Pops, which if you haven’t fallen in love with Angel Olsen after listening to nine songs, I don’t know what to tell you.
This is an album of many tones, and I know it might come off cliche but she is in rare form and easily becomes my woman.
I would never accuse Angel Olsen of being a victim of Peter Pan syndrome, especially because it’s almost exclusively associated with men. But nonetheless, the question of love, lust, and loss are intertwined throughout this musical endeavour. What starts out as a youthful and naive look at love slowly turns into something much darker and more intimate and My Woman is seriously my favourite album of the year as a result. We’ll have to see what’s in store for the rest of the year, but with less than four months to go, you’ll want to snag a copy of this, lest you get left all alone.