On Sunday, June 19th, Angel Olsen played to a few hundred people at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg. A few miles away thousands were seeing Garth Brooks play his last of four shows at the much bigger MTS Centre. That night, the crowd at the Park was quiet. A little hungover, sunburned and tired from a warm weekend spent at the beach or lake with Monday morning was not too far away. Even still, it was a memorable night with Olsen’s voice being the main attraction. Just a few months later in September, she released her third studio album, My Woman.
The album is split into two sides – the first side contains the upbeat songs and the second side being quieter. The synth driven first single “Intern” starts off the album before energetic tracks “Shut Up Kiss Me” and the Liz Phair-ish “Not Gonna Kill You” jump out of the speakers. As things start to slow down, the near 8-minute “Sister” is a standout. Throughout the album, Olsen repeats certain phrases and nowhere is it as effective as it is here when she repeats “All my life I thought I’d change” to close the track out.
My Woman is more direct than previous efforts, some of the lo-fi aspects have been cleaned up for a more direct sound. This suits Olsen very well as she continues to grow as a songwriter. While the first side of the album sparkles, by the time you hit another near 8 minute song, the penultimate “Woman”, things start to drag a bit. Regardless, some of the best songs of Angel Olsen’s career are presented which makes it easy to skip back to the energetic side one.
(see also Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness review)