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Album Review: Angel Olsen - 'Big Time'

Updated: May 3, 2023

Angel Olsen is back with Big Time, her first new release since 2020, and her sixth studio release overall. The album represents a number of themes for the emerging indie folk star, including love, loss, and embracing one's self. Particularly, Big Time represents a significant moment in Olsen's life as she has begun to embrace her queerness. This included coming out to her parents, something she had not done to date. On this Olsen stated "Some experiences just make you feel as though you're five years old, no matter how wise or adult you think you are...Finally, at the ripe age of 34, I was free to be me". However, soon after Olsen's father would pass away, the funeral would serve as an opportunity for her family to meet her partner. Soon after this, Olsen's mother would pass away. Needless to say, there's a lot of emotional investment in this record and it shows.

It was three-weeks after her mother's passing that Olsen took to the studio to work on Big Time. You can feel every ounce of loss, grief, love, and Olsen embracing her identity for the first time, all on one record. While it may seem that having so many themes running throughout a record, especially one that is only ten tracks long could be chaotic, it's not. Big Time is grounded in its approach lyrically, regarding the grief she confronts on this record, Olsen said “You can’t plan grief, you can’t organize it or schedule it or know how you’ll feel when it comes. It just happens, and when it does, sometimes it’s not what you thought it would be.”

With Big Time, Olsen proves herself to be one of the most thought provoking singer-songwriters in the game. Musically, Big Time finds Olsen perfectly situated in a nice space between folk, indie, and alt country. Though Olsen has experimented with more electronic sounds in the past, that's not to be had on this record. And honestly, that is alright with us. There is something raw about Big Time and how Olsen treats issues of love, grief, and queerness, and given all that she's been through, it makes total sense. Big Time represents a gift from an artist's heart to the world.

Rating - 5/5

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