MAGNET’s #15 Album Of 2016: Angel Olsen’s “My Woman”

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Angel Olsen has one of those voices. She can belt her songs out, but her control is excellent. This is someone who knows just when to make that voice whisper secrets or tear a hole through the sky. Her third album, My Woman, proved to be one of those perfectly timed I-have-arrived moments. The LP spins through several genres, from ’80s balladry (“Intern”) to David Lynch-ian retro pop (“Never Be Mine” and “Shut Up Kiss Me”) to indie-rock epics (“Sister” and “Woman”), but it never feels disjointed or overstuffed. Part of that is a credit to Olsen’s vocal prowess, but it’s also due to her songwriting and how it conveys desire and fear in a way that is both very specific and utterly universal. “Doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done,” she sings on “Intern.” “Still got to wake up and be someone.” It’s a little hard to imagine anyone not deriving something out of a lyric like that. And the last line of My Woman lingers long after it ends and handily sums up the album’s dark allure: “I’ll be the thing that lives in the dream when it’s gone.”

—Michael Pelusi