Angel Olsen - Aisles EP Music Album Reviews

Angel Olsen - Aisles EP Music Album Reviews
The songwriter takes an uncharacteristic breather with a collection of faithful, occasionally brooding covers of 1980s hits like “Forever Young” and “The Safety Dance.”

Angel Olsen doesn’t want you reading too much into her new Aisles EP. On the heels of two of her most emotionally taxing albums yet, she’s recorded something entirely out of character: a covers EP of ’80s hits she’s heard at the grocery store. It’s not a declaration of a lighter new direction, or a sign that she’s entered a Weezer-y, internet-pandering phase of her career. They’re just some covers, she insists. “I know it’s not really in my history to do something unintentional or just for the hell of it,” she writes in notes accompanying the EP. “I just wanted to have a little fun and be a little more spontaneous.”

If that’s a lot of preface, it’s because you’re about to hear Angel Olsen cover “The Safety Dance,” and some assurances it’s a fluke might take a little of the sting out of that. Trading on her icy presence, Olsen’s slow-motion rendition of Men Without Hats’ 1982 hit is pure schlock, the kind of moody novelty cover that might soundtrack a trailer for an Ozark ripoff on Amazon Prime. Only the slightest indication of a smirk in Olsen’s otherwise robotic voice betrays that she’s in on the joke, that yes, this is ridiculous, and no, she doesn’t care that you assumed she was above this kind of thing.

Laura Branigan’s Euro-disco banger “Gloria” gets a similarly brooding makeover that slows its strobing tempo to a graveyard crawl. But elsewhere Olsen plays these covers pretty straight. She preserves the prom-dance tenderness of Alphaville’s “Forever Young” and the direct hookiness of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s “If You Leave,” both of which highlight the brighter corners of her voice. Aside from softening the guitars and cutting out Billy Idol’s extremely ’80s rap, her take on “Eyes Without a Face” is otherwise faithful to the original.

There are some pleasurable little details dotted throughout these songs, though they’re subtle: how the tangles of strings and synthesizers faintly tease the dense, dramatic arrangements of All Mirrors on the slower numbers, or the way Auto-Tune lifts and coddles her vocals on the more upbeat covers. For a few moments when the drum beat picks up on “If You Leave,” the EP imagines how sensational that voice might sound over an actual dance track—a prospect that no longer seems so improbable.

Aisles is most endearing when it leans into frivolity, largely because there’s little else with such relaxed stakes in Olsen’s discography. After five albums of roiling, car-crash emotional intensity, there’s something gratifying about hearing her knock out a few undemanding covers. At times her distance from this material becomes its own muse: These aren’t, after all, songs she grew up loving, or treasured family favorites. They’re just some tunes she’s enjoyed while grocery shopping, and she interprets them with fitting nonchalance. It’s an unusual departure for a songwriter who’s always staked everything on her conviction, but if any artist has earned the breather, it’s Olsen.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Angel Olsen - Aisles EP Music Album Reviews Angel Olsen - Aisles EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 31, 2021 Rating: 5


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