Words About Music
Angel Olsen “Burn Your Fire For No Witness”
With her sophomore album, Missouri indie folk singer Angel Olsen seemed to promise a foray into a new sound than she used on her 2012 debut “Half Way Home.” Listeners expected a bit of distortion and percussion from the singer who usually stuck with her soft voice and a gentle guitar. Though the new record “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” wasn’t a complete U-turn, it still provides a bit of experimentation for the singer. Even the songs that are stylistically similar to the type of songs Angel has always written are very pretty and lovable.
“Burn Your Fire” begins with the two shortest and probably my two favorite songs on the entire thing: “Unfucktheworld” and “Forgiven/Forgotten.” They both just barely pass the 2 minute mark, and for that reason they are some of the most memorable tracks of the past year. They’re short and sweet and very poignant and kind of set the tone for the rest of the album. Angel has an obvious sense of humor and a great voice, both lyrically and vocally speaking. I just really like the vague descriptiveness of the music she writes. Her style is like the polar opposite of Sun Kil Moon. In fact, I’d say the first half of this album is pretty much entirely solid.
Unfortunately, the second half isn’t as consistently great as the first half. “Stars” and “Iota” are pretty good songs, but the final three tracks do pretty much nothing for me. which sucks because up until that point “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” had been pretty great. It’s just the closing three songs are so uneventful and don’t stick out to me in any way, which makes me not even realize that the album is over until “Windows” cuts out. If it had a better ending then I’d probably consider this album as one of the best I’d heard so far this year.
As much as I like and respect Angel Olsen, “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” has a much better start than it does an end. Her songs can be super catchy and interesting, whether they’re 2 minutes or 7, but sometimes they can drag on to points of near complete boredom for me. The first eight songs or so are pretty much consistently good or great, but I’m not really feeling the ending here. I wasn’t entirely disappointed with this album because it is mostly good, but it could have been a bit better. It just fizzles out in a way that doesn’t have me super excited about re-listening to it. And that’s all.
SCORE – 7.4
FAVORITE TRACKS – Unfucktheworld, Forgiven/Forgotten, Hi-Five, White Fire, High & Wild, Lights Out, Stars, Iota