Exclaim!'s Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part Two Best of 2016



 
6. Angel Olsen
My Woman
(Jagjaguwar)

Angel Olsen's latest record, My Woman, plays out in two parts: one being more accessible, hook-driven and loud, the other softer, far-reaching but intense. Both hold your attention — songs like "Shut Up Kiss Me" and "Not Gonna Kill You" hook immediately, while tunes like "Heart Shaped Face" or "Sister" softly draw your ear in near. Olsen's voice, long a wonder, hits powerhouse levels here, confrontational, personal and devastating, all in equal measure. And oh, so damn good.
 
My Woman is an evolution of her previous work, more accessible but maintaining the smart lyricism of her earlier records. Despite the arrangements being more expansive and complex, the songs vary in genre and intensity. She teases with synth-heavy opening track "Intern," only to follow that up with the waltzy, bouncy "Never Be Mine." Olsen is doing what she pleases here — unabashedly so — and the result is as satisfying for us to take in as it must have liberating for Olsen to get out.
Cosette Schulz