It only takes two songs of My Woman before we twig what Angel Olsen might be doing. Stepping out of the lo-fi fuzz of Burn Your Fire For No Witness, Intern starts off with Olsen projecting a voice – a character, even – that sounds like someone forgot to give Lana Del Rey her temazepam. And then, within minutes, she’s yelping with confidence through all sorts of octaves on the rollicking licks of Shut Up Kiss Me.
My Woman, it turns out, is every facet of what Olsen sees as her modern and idiosyncratic habitation of that gender. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do,” she sings on that opener, “something in the world will make a fool of you” – using the downtrodden role of the ‘intern’ as a frame in one song, then employing her voice as narrative technique in another, Olsen builds up a picture of a flawed, rounded person that seems to address both personal and universal.
Musically, it’s all much more pronounced than before. Both Olsen’s vocals and her guitar riffs ring with a clarity we haven’t seen from her before, Give It Up and Not Gonna Kill You perfect examples of her oddly-lovelorn blues given the spotlight. And again, that voice becomes the toy on the deliberately slurred and laconic highlights Heart Shaped Face and Those Were The Days.
But it’s in those different styles, in tracks like Sister and Woman, that Olsen paints the complex portrait of her personality, one that can be confident yet defeated, a temptress yet demure and gleefully scale everything in between. My Woman is your woman, and the flawed, brazen, no-fucks character that every woman deserves to be.