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Half Way Home

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iTunes Review

Angel Olsen brings an intensity to her first album, Half Way Home, that’s both disturbing and thrilling to hear. The Chicago-based singer/songwriter fully emerges with a batch of songs distinguished by their exquisitely melancholy imagery and gauzy, insinuating melodies. Traces of Roy Orbison’s operatic flights and Edith Piaf’s self-lacerating arias can be heard, as well as the smoldering bluesiness of Karen Dalton and Judy Henske. All comparisons aside, Olsen is a riveting vocalist who can tenderly caress a lyric before ripping it in two with a heartbreaking wail. Tracks like “Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow,” “The Sky Opened Up," and “Lonely Universe” are magnificent invocations of personal darkness. The erotic daydream “Acrobat” and the yearning, Patsy Cline–like “The Waiting” lighten the mood somewhat, though romantic cautionary tales like “Miranda” are more typical. The closing track “Tiniest Seed”—an aching alt-country ballad—may be the album’s most seductive number. Olsen’s deft guitar work and a softly insistent rhythm section lend Half Way Home a stark, often eerie sound, bringing out the haunting qualities in her uncanny, remarkably accomplished music.

Customer Reviews

Wow wow wow wow wow.

Though the album is largely stark and simple, I was on the edge of my seat through the entire session. Her voice and phrasing beautiful, it eminds me of Johnny Cash. Where you expect a full belt or a heavy harmony, she remains plain and naked, free from melodic clichés. And yet, you feel the full force of the song, at that moment. Its brilliant. This is one of the best albums of 2012.

oh good

the end to a year where i only half liked new releases by some perennial favorite bands and new artists alike. i was beginning to think it was just me. but here is something worth loving. finally.

Transports me

I love how Angel's voice and songs transport me to another time. She is truly incredible.


Born: 1987 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Raised in St. Louis, Missouri and later relocating to Chicago, Illinois, indie folk singer/songwriter Angel Olsen began performing in St. Louis coffee shops in her teenage years, eventually branching out and tapping into a network of like-minded artists. Olsen worked with California musician Emmett Kelly as part of his collective the Cairo Gang, singing harmonies on Bonnie "Prince" Billy's 2010 album The Wonder Show of the World, as well as its 2011 follow-up, Wolfroy Goes to Town. In 2010, Olsen...
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Half Way Home, Angel Olsen
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Customer Ratings