Angel Olsen finds a way to unearth her turmoil and wrap it into ten delicate songs, effectively titled My Woman. The record is broken up into two distinctive halves, like a standard LP. On side A the songs are punchier, more succinct while Side B has elongated tracks that float rather than stab. This allows the singer to be able to express the entirety of herself with the entirety of her writing ability, making My Woman such an expansive listen to try and assort all the details into one review.
It goes like so; “Those Were The Days” is a song that is gently swaddled, with Olsen giving a vocal performance that gently resides over the top of the soothing atmosphere. It’s non invasive. It’s the kind of song that would help someone’s fears drift away as they place their body in stasis to sleep. In complete contrast, “Give It Up” pulses with such vibrancy it begs for their to be a dance paired with it. At the same time, the similarities lie in the composition style that Olsen has mastered for My Woman. Their are rich guitar lines, pop styled drums and Olsen’s incredible voice. It makes the record seem like a full human being, essentially becoming My Woman by placing all of Olsen into the record.
My Woman is sandwiched by two songs that are distinct, not exactly aligning with the middle of the record but not exactly out of range for the singer. “Intern” is a spacey track with Olsen’s thesis being the vocal delivery slicing through the synthesizers twinkling in the background with the lyric, “I just wanna be alive, make something real.” “Pops” closes the record with an intimate performance accompanied by piano lines. Now, these other instruments are not missing in other songs, these are just the two songs that are identified by them, effectively reeling in the listener because it stops them in their tracks and forces them to listen. Immediately after the opening, Olsen punches through with emotionally drenched bangers “Never Be Mine” followed by “Shut Up Kiss Me.” It’s interesting to note the different lyrical content of each, with both coming into a staunch realization but wanting it not to be true, caught in the pull of two directions. All this is happening through Olsen’s builds, dynamically crafted through the use syncopated drums, booming crescendos and intricate vocal cadences.
But where Olsen really shines are the two epics found on the back half of My Woman. “Sister” and “Woman” stand tall at over seven minutes long a piece, with the singer standing with them. Here, Olsen is a roaring cascade, constantly letting the song smoothly progress and take Olsen where it needs. “Sister” has a giant revelation centered around the lyrics, “my life I thought I’d change,” and the power can be felt from the delivery alone. “Woman” takes a long while to get going, centering on the ambiance involving synthesizers, careening off the edge with guitar solos to bring back some noise before striping down on the closing track. My Woman has all the right details for a modern singer/songwriter record. Hell, I would even argue it’s a modern day record that could fit in the era of the 60’s and 70’s. It’s full of different levels of attack, energy and emotional prowess from a talented musician.