‘My Woman’ is Angel Olsen’s most concise, varied album yet

“Never Be Mine” is the second track on Angel Olsen’s brilliant new album My Woman, and is a first for Olsen. Here, she mines the same territory as girl groups in the 1960s such as the Shangri-Las and the Ronettes, in what would be her most immediate, gratifying pop single if not for “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” which directly follows “Mine.” In less than nine minutes (this includes opener “Intern”), Olsen accomplishes an astounding amount of things; she masters synth-pop, 60s pop, and pop-rock, all threaded by Olsen’s deft penmanship and affected vocals.

It’s no coincidence My Woman opens with its four shortest tracks, before expanding in numerous ways on the back end. Those opening tracks serve a twofold purpose; they strike immediately, teasing and inviting its audience, and also act as a red herring. You’d be mistaken by those first four tracks to think that Olsen has shied away from slow-burning epics such as “White Fire” and “Lonely Universe,” tracks from her first two albums that truly highlighted Olsen’s vitality. Here’s she’s still crafting gorgeous slow-burners – “Heart Shaped Face,” “Sister” and “Woman,” I mean, come on – tracks just as grandiose, but there’s an economy to these songs, a self-containment that makes them even more powerful than their predecessors. You couldn’t help but feel there were loose strings on her previous LPs, a feeling as if the music could only convey so much of what Olsen expressed. Here, there are no loose ends, no stones left unturned. Angel Olsen has always had the voice and musical chops, yet it’s My Woman that showcases her talents the best, an album that finally matches the strength and versatility of its creator.

My Woman is available now. Purchase here.

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