On her fourth album, All Mirrors, Angel Olsen shows us her darkest side. Its introspective nature was an important step for Olsen. Through its brooding tones and lyrics she tells us about learning to trust yourself and move on, find peace in your own company. Valuable lessons, perhaps
It’s not easy listening, despite the preponderance of melodies, something that Olsen’s plan to release an entirely acoustic version in the future seems to acknowledge: its intensity is always set so high, it automatically makes demands of the listener. But it is rewarding: the sound of Angel Olsen skilfully mapping out an unanticipated new territory for herself, further out on the left-field. Nothing on All Mirrors ends up quite where you expect, including the artist who made it.
The descent into darkness is a trope we find time again across history, literature and film. But there’s also an abyss above. There’s a winding white staircase that goes ever upward into the great unknown — each step, each turn, requiring a greater boldness and confidence than the one before. This is the journey on which we find Angel Olsen. Olsen’s artistic beginnings as a collaborator shifted seamlessly to her magnificent, cryptic-to-cosmic solo work, and then she formed bands to play her songs, and her stages and audiences grew exponentially. But all along, Olsen was more concerned with a different kind of path, and on her vulnerable, Big Mood new album, All Mirrors, we can see her taking an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations. In the process of making this album, she found a new sound and voice, a blast of fury mixed with hard won self-acceptance. “In every way —from the making of it, to the words, to how I feel moving forward— this record is about owning up to your darkest side,” Olsen said. “Finding the capacity for new love and trusting change, even when you feel like a stranger. This is a record about facing yourself and learning to forgive what you see. It is about losing empathy, trust, love for destructive people. It is about walking away from the noise and realizing that you can have solitude and peace in your own thoughts, that your thoughts alone can be just as valid, if not more.”
2 All Mirrors
3 Too Easy
4 New Love Cassette
6 What It Is