Sunday Music: Angel Olsen Wants To Pick A Fight With Your Relationship

Angel Olsen’s song “What It Is” from All Mirrors is a masterpiece. It’s funny, sad, heartening, and heartbreaking all at the same time. While not a breakup song per se, it’s definitely not a celebration of being in love either. We may need to invent a new category for “reflective love songs” just to have a place to put it. Lyrically, she’s picking a snarky, philosophical fight with our relationships. Here are the first few verses and chorus to explain,

It’s easy when you’re passionate

It’s easy when you know your way around

It’s easy when you love something

It’s easy if you know exactly how

It’s easy to openly say

Oh, that you could never change your mind

That feeling coming over you

It would never dare leave you behind

It’s easy if you tell the truth

But knowing what it is, it’s not enough

Knowing that you love someone

Doesn’t mean you ever were in love

It’s never easy to admit

That maybe you just want

Just to feel something again

You just wanted to forget

That your heart was full of shit

You just wanted to forget

You just wanted to forget

Musically and sonically, this has to be experienced. Headphones help, or play it on a good system turned up. The vocal compression and distortion, the strings – the whole production is pure artistry by everyone involved in the making of this cut. It’s worth mentioning, similar notes apply to the rest of the album as well, this song is just one of the standouts.

Here’s the YouTube link to the song as it appears on the album and then a stripped-down, live solo version to get a sense of its bones:

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