Angel Olsen’s new single, the title track off her upcoming album All Mirrors, marries introspection with a grand, sweeping, 80s-inspired sound.
St. Louis-born Angel Olsen has her roots in folk music, but genres can’t contain her; with each new album, she adapts her formidable voice and poetic talent to a different style. Since her first release in 2011, her songs have been piercingly raw and beautiful. Her vocals are filled with aching pain and desire, whether she’s singing a stripped-down ballad or a funky, guitar jam.
Olsen dropped the title single from her upcoming album, All Mirrors, on July 30th. She’s said that this new album is “about owning up to your darkest side” — in effect, looking at yourself in the mirror and refusing to turn away. It’s a difficult, vulnerable act to on which to base a record. But if anyone can do it, Angel Olsen can. “All Mirrors” is a darkly introspective track, setting the musical and thematic tone for the album.
The song begins with vast, atmospheric synth, and Olsen’s voice: “I’ve been watchin’ all of my past repeatin’.” It sounds like a new-wave, shoegazey track from the 80s; I hear some Slowdive and Cocteau Twins influence in the synths and percussion. The echoing drums, wall-of-sound instrumentals, and dramatic vocals paint a huge, empty landscape, but the lyrics bring us back inside ourselves. It feels like those times when your own head is the biggest and scariest place to be — when your past mistakes and failures play against your skull like a blooper reel, over and over. “At least at times it knew me,” Olsen repeats for the last minute of the song. We can’t tell exactly what “it” is — the mirror? Olsen’s own brain? But we have that one comfort, some familiarity to cling to when we fall into our own reflections. At least, at times, we were known.
Listen to “All Mirrors” here and watch for Angel Olsen’s new album to drop on October 4th!