Who are you, Angel Olsen?

Sep 19, 2016 at 11:27 am

click to enlarge Who are you, Angel Olsen?
Angel Olsen. Courtesy photo.

Hey Angel, is it okay if I call you Angel? Although, if not, I’m not sure what else I would call you, perhaps Miss Olsen or Mz. O. Does anyone ever call you Ang? It’s hard for that nickname to not conjure images of the late Big Ang from reality tv (RIP) but maybe that’s just me.

Do you watch reality tv? I heard in an interview that until recently you hadn’t given “modern music” much of a listen, preferring joints from eras past, so I’m curious if that translates into modern television as well. It exhausts yet transfixes me, a habit I deny, like picking my nose in the car and drunk texting exes.

I think that’s part of what intrigues me about your music, actually. In the countless reflections that appear throughout your lyrics, there’s an unmistakable timelessness, an understated reminder that amidst of the complicated foibles of modern love (and life), there is simplicity, connection, destruction, and of course, misunderstanding.

Speaking of misunderstandings, shall we talk about this tinsel wig? Personally, I dug it, mostly because I’ve always hated tinsel and seeing it in wig-form gave me a completely new appreciation for it, but according to an interview you did with MTV, it caused people to draw comparisons to Sia, and even Grimes, to which I say, who cares? Sia’s dope, Grimes is dope, and you’re dope. If people aren’t smart enough to describe you in a way that doesn’t draw comparisons or references to others — cough cough, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, cough cough — then fuck 'em.

I get it though, you have people gabbing about who you are and what your music means all the time, and it probably gets a bit tiresome. After you name an album Burn Your Fire For No Witness, you’ve got to deal with every article including some sort of droll flame analogy. And now, with your recent release My Woman, you’re basically asking for journalists to ask you idiotic things like ‘when are you having a baby?’ and ‘Is the album title a feminist statement?’

Who are these writers who ask these things? I heard an interview you did the other day on a podcast and the host asked you what you had for breakfast, an exercise in rapport, I suppose. Now myself and I’m sure countless other listeners now know you ate a crepe that morning. Weird, right?

If we’d have gotten a chance to chat, I had a slew of non-breakfast related queries including but not limited to: what’s the last best thing you read? Who/what makes you smile the most? Is there only one tinsel wig? Have you ever been to Detroit? What do you write in? What’s it like directing yourself in a video? Are you a good listener? Do you like your voice? What’s something gross you do? What’d you think of Blonde? How and when did you learn how to rollerskate? Who are you? Who are you? Who are any of us?

Just kidding about those last three, maybe. Well, I’m coming up on my word limit and I’m afraid if I continue to write I’ll crawl further into the land of creep, so I’ll end with this: bye.

Sincerely, Alex

Angel Olsen plays at The Loving Touch next Monday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m., with Rodrigo Amarante. Tickets are $14 in advance.