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Angel Olsen discusses her bittersweet new album, 'Big Time'

Angel Olsen.
Angela Ricciardi
/
Courtesy of the artist
Angel Olsen.

For nearly a decade, going back to her debut album Half Way Home, singer-songwriter Angel Olsen's music has lived a life of dusty solitude and expansive introspection, finding meaning in lonely blue skies.

"I've always been kind of an emo kid," Olsen says in an interview with All Things Considered. "I've always been obsessed over dark and light, and things that pass. Sometimes you can change so much."

On her new album, titled Big Time and released today, those thematic preoccupations became strikingly literal; ahead of recording it, Olsen suffered the loss of both of her parents in quick succession, just shortly after finding love and coming out to them.

That swell of experiences drew Olsen, understandably, to the silhouette of country music. She spoke to NPR about the process of recording it against that bittersweet backdrop, collaborating with her partner (begrudgingly, at first) and learning to ignore the gulf between generations – in favor of love.

To hear this conversation, use the audio player at the top of this page.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.