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Angel Olsen - Whole New Mess

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Whole New Mess

Angel Olsen

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Angel Olsen's spare, echoey Whole New Mess is a prequel of sorts, the blueprints that led to the ornate orchestral pop of her acclaimed 2019 release All Mirrors. Recorded in a converted church in rural Washington state, the new album contains demos of nine songs that appeared on All Mirrors, some with different lyrics or titles, as well as two previously unreleased originals.

You can almost hear Olsen's diehard fans…Demos rather than new material? Groan. That reaction is likely to be temporary. Because in tone and spirit, if not structure, these solo versions are revealingly different. With them, Olsen invites listeners inside the ongoing what-if-we-tried-this? musings that are part of the songwriting process and shows how the intention and resonance of a song can change depending on the setting or the moods and whims of the interpreter.

Olsen has said that the songs of All Mirrors followed the demise of a long romantic relationship; these demos show her working out not just the basic structures but also how raw to be. Her words grapple with deep notions of commitment, trust and betrayal, and as she seeks the most effective ways to deliver them, she's mindful of the ratios between narrative detail and broad emotional tone, between the sting of reality and blissed out hooks. She delivers the "Lark Song" verses with deceptively calm detachment, like she's just bricklaying to get the ideas down. That changes when she reaches the hook, which she belts with cathartic abandon. Similarly abrupt shifts (in tone and also the amount of reverb) define the hypnotic "Impasse": Knowing where she landed, with the expansive Roy Orbison-like orchestral tilt of the All Mirrors version, it's interesting to hear earlier points on the journey, with Olsen singing as though she's leaving herself notes (about peaks, valleys and the spaces in between) for future sessions. But the Whole New Mess version is mesmeric on its own, a reminder that a solidly constructed song reveals its truths regardless of the setting. © Tom Moon/Qobuz

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Whole New Mess

Angel Olsen

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1
Whole New Mess
00:03:42

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

2
Too Easy (Bigger Than Us)
00:02:32

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

3
(New Love) Cassette
00:02:50

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

4
(We Are All Mirrors)
00:02:36

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

5
(Summer Song)
00:04:09

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

6
Waving, Smiling
00:03:52

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

7
Tonight (Without You)
00:04:01

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

8
Lark Song
00:06:30

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

9
Impasse (Workin' For The Name)
00:03:48

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

10
Chance (Forever Love)
00:05:29

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

11
What It Is (What It Is)
00:02:36

Michael Harris, Producer - Angel Olsen, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - John Congleton, Mixer - Horus Elder, MusicPublisher

2020 Jagjaguwar 2020 Jagjaguwar

Album Description

Angel Olsen's spare, echoey Whole New Mess is a prequel of sorts, the blueprints that led to the ornate orchestral pop of her acclaimed 2019 release All Mirrors. Recorded in a converted church in rural Washington state, the new album contains demos of nine songs that appeared on All Mirrors, some with different lyrics or titles, as well as two previously unreleased originals.

You can almost hear Olsen's diehard fans…Demos rather than new material? Groan. That reaction is likely to be temporary. Because in tone and spirit, if not structure, these solo versions are revealingly different. With them, Olsen invites listeners inside the ongoing what-if-we-tried-this? musings that are part of the songwriting process and shows how the intention and resonance of a song can change depending on the setting or the moods and whims of the interpreter.

Olsen has said that the songs of All Mirrors followed the demise of a long romantic relationship; these demos show her working out not just the basic structures but also how raw to be. Her words grapple with deep notions of commitment, trust and betrayal, and as she seeks the most effective ways to deliver them, she's mindful of the ratios between narrative detail and broad emotional tone, between the sting of reality and blissed out hooks. She delivers the "Lark Song" verses with deceptively calm detachment, like she's just bricklaying to get the ideas down. That changes when she reaches the hook, which she belts with cathartic abandon. Similarly abrupt shifts (in tone and also the amount of reverb) define the hypnotic "Impasse": Knowing where she landed, with the expansive Roy Orbison-like orchestral tilt of the All Mirrors version, it's interesting to hear earlier points on the journey, with Olsen singing as though she's leaving herself notes (about peaks, valleys and the spaces in between) for future sessions. But the Whole New Mess version is mesmeric on its own, a reminder that a solidly constructed song reveals its truths regardless of the setting. © Tom Moon/Qobuz

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