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Availability & Price
ArtistOLSEN, ANGEL
TitleBIG TIME (PINK VINYL)
FormatVinyl LP (Album)
GenreAlternative Rock
LabelJAGJAGUWAR
Catalog NumberJAGC1 424
Release Date06/03/2022
Barcode0656605242439
ID1297150
 
Fresh grief, like fresh love, has a way of sharpening our vision and bringing on painful clarifications. No matter how temporary we know these states to be, the vulnerability and transformation they demand can overpower the strongest among us. Then there are the rare, fertile moments when both occur, when mourning and limerence heighten, complicate and explain each other; the songs that comprise Angel Olsens Big Time were forged in such a whiplash. "I cant say that Im sorry / when I dont feel so wrong anymore," the record begins, her voice softer and more open than ever, as if shes singing through a hard won smile. "All the Good Times", a twangy banger with nods to JJ Cale, starts the album on a triumphant and bright note. The title song, "Big Time", follows and continues the warm optimism. "Guess I had to be losin to get here on time," she sings, a fearless love song co-written with her partner.kkBig Time is an album about the expansive power of new love, but this brightness and optimism is tempered by a profound and layered sense of loss. During Olsens process of coming to terms with her queerness and confronting the traumas that had been keeping her from fully accepting herself, she felt it was time to come out to her parents, a hurdle shed been avoiding for some time. "Some experiences just make you feel as though youre five years old, no matter how wise or adult you think you are," she writes of that time. After that tearful but relieving conversation, she celebrated with her partner, their friends, oysters, and wine. "Finally, at the ripe age of 34, I was free to be me."Three days later, her father died; his funeral became the occasion for Olsen to introduce her partner to her family. Though she was fearful their presence as a newly out queer couple would be "an additional symbol of loss," those days went peacefully, yet only two weeks later Olsen got the call that her mother was in the ER. Hospice came soon after, and a second funeral came quickly on the heels of the first. Another trip back to St. Louis, another grief to face, another deepening and intensification of this still-new love. The shards of this grief-the shortening of her chance to finally be seen more fully by her parents-are scattered throughout the album. "Its a hard time again," she sings on "This is How It Works", pushing against the irrevocability of death, "Tell me a story that will make me forget." "Go Home", which begins with an almost numbed calm, slowly builds up to a wailing that comes up straight from the ground: "I want to go home, go back to small things. I dont belong here. Nobody knows me." "You cant plan grief, you cant organize it or schedule it or know how youll feel when it comes. It just happens, and when it does sometimes its not what you thought it would be." Three weeks after her mothers funeral she was in the studio, recording this incredibly wise and tender new album. Loss has long been a subject of Olsens elegiac songs, but few can write elegies with quite the reckless energy as she. If that bursting-at-the-seams, running downhill energy has come to seem intractable to her work, this album proves Olsen is now writing from a more rooted place of clarity. Shes working with an elastic, expansive mastery of her voice-both sonically and artistically. These are songs not just about transformational mourning, but of finding freedom and joy in the privations as they come.kkPlayful bits of Tammy Wynette and Kitty Wells are here, too, but so are the complex orchestrations of her genre-bending 2019 record, All Mirrors. While that record was full of dramatic shifts and twists, here the surprises come in their simplicity-a slow swell of strings, instrumentation that cycles like a storm, or sparkling horns in a light-flooded break-up ballad. While the spritely nature of her last EP, Aisles, may have signaled Olsens turn deeper into the electronic direction of her last All Mirrors, theres hardly a synth in sight here. Jonathan Wilson, served as co-producer and also mixed the tracks, while Drew Erickson played piano, organ, and scored the string arrangements. Emily Elhaj, Olsens longtime bandmate, was a consistent collaborator as well, on the bass throughout. "And I cant fit into the past that youre used to, I refuse to," she sings as a wraithlike piano scaffolds her hopeful voice on "Ghost On". "Forget the old dreams," she rejoices on "Go Home", "I got a new thing." Darkness inherently suggests depth, but it takes a much wiser writer to find meaning and complexity in the luminous place that Big Time occupies. "Chasing the Sun" ends the record in a smiling, romantic place, a verdant crescendo rising as she pines: "Write a postcard to you / when youre in the other room/ Im just writing to say that I cant find my clothes / If youre lookin for something to do."The burning of her earliest work is still here, of course, but this time shes "freed from the longing / for one moment to last" and shes ready to "walk through the fires / of all earthly desires."-Catherine Lacey Oaxaca, February 2022
 
Track listings
Media 1
1. ALL THE GOOD TIMES
2. BIG TIME
3. DREAM THING
4. GHOST ON
5. ALL THE FLOWERS
6. RIGHT NOW
7. THIS IS HOW IT WORKS
8. GO HOME
9. THROUGH THE FIRES
10. CHASING THE SUN
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