Angel Olsen – Phases

With stressful events coming up (the holidays, dead week, and finals) this album is the perfect way to relax. The previous Angel Olsen songs I’ve heard were very alternative/pop, so I was pleasantly suprised to find out that this entire album is very folk.

The first song on the album is “Fly on Your Wall”. It’s about a relationship where one person cares more than the other. The slow but constant beat of the guitar and drums, paired with Olsen’s dark vocals make this song very melancholy, but it lightens up in the end when she sings, “A love never made is still mine / If only real in my mind.” The next song, “Special” follows this theme, but the guitar and the reverberation on the vocals makes the song sound very 60s psychedelic.

“Only with You” sounds like it came straight out of the 50s. It sounds slow and romantic, but in reality it’s about not finding what you’re looking for. “All your life you’ve been looking / Whatever it is you don’t find it in me.”

The next couple songs lighten up a bit. “All Right Now”, as the name suggests, is about how everything is ok. “Sans” sounds a bit more country, probably due to Olsen’s Dolly Parton-esque vocals paired with only an acoustic guitar in the background. The song is about waiting to be with your partner, and it’s probably my favorite song on the album. “Time moves so strangely when you’re moving all the time / Can’t wait to see you, baby / When it’s all through and you’re mine.”

“Sweet Dreams” goes back to the 60s psychedelic theme, which then shifts back to folk with “California”. Her voice warbles every once in a while like was popular in the past (think “Tiptoe through the Tulips”). It sounds very interesting. I was very confused with the lyrics “On the way to California / And I don’t mean California literally.” Apparently Olsen was talking about N. California Ave. in Chicago.

The last few songs on the album are all very similar. Not bad by any means, but there’s not much to talk about.

Overall, I really enjoyed this album. Olsen experimented with her sound and it turned out great. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future.

By: Monica Brich

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