A respectable retrospection

Angel Olsen’s “Aisles” is a tasty take on a handful of classics


Album cover from angelolsen.com

Vae O’Neil, Arts and Entertainment Editor


Growing up in Saint Louis, Missouri, Angel Olsen grew up fascinated by the past and passionate about music. In her teenage years she attended many punk rock and music shows while learning piano and guitar at the same time. She began writing her own music, and at 16 joined a local band. Today Olsen continues making music, most recently an EP named “Aisles,” a collection of five covers of 80s classics so wonderfully flavored by her style that it might take most listeners until “Forever Young” to realize that these aren’t completely original works. That, or it’s because this particular listener is rather young.

What sets these covers apart is Olsen’s sound; it’s a kind of 80s synthesizer-and-drum base with some indie acoustics and such for seasoning. Definitely the kind of thing someone would find in a Guitar Hero game. As this is an EP of covers, “Aisles” is apparently somewhat of a departure from her usual releases; the complete list of tracks are “Gloria”, “Eyes Without a Face”, “Safety Dance”, “If You Leave”, and “Forever Young”, and the inspiration is rather unorthodox for Olson. According to her press release for the album, the songs were ones that have been cradled by her memory, such as “Gloria”: “I’d heard ‘Gloria’ for the first time at a family Christmas gathering and was amazed at all the aunts who got up to dance… I imagined them all dancing and laughing in slow motion, and that’s when I got the idea to slow the entire song down and try it out in this way.”

With her usual track record (is that a pun?) being enormous and labor-intensive projects, this particular creation is one that Olson has described in interviews as a sort of spontaneous breather. Keeping that in mind, it is a damn good breather to toss an ear to.“Aisles” and Angel Olsen’s other music is available pretty much anywhere on the internet where music is streamed and sold.