ANGEL OLSEN: YOU ARE NOW ABOUT TO WITNESS
And so maybe that is how it begins, to find something to be yours, that is yours, to find something for yourself. It begins as love, to find love, maybe that is it, the love of another, to love another, to find in another self, something for yourself, but that might not be it, maybe it goes wrong, and then what do you have, yourself, for yourself, but you have to be strong, you have to be, you can’t just fall apart, so you think about yourself, your true self, your false self, the selves that have come and gone, and that becomes yours, the loss and confusion, the woe, and then you pull yourself together, and remind yourself, that no matter what happens, there is you, and there will always be you, before and after this, you are your light, there is a light, there is a power, there is the fire that burns, that maybe no one sees, your fire that burns for no witness. That is it, right? The point of all of this.
“I’m sure that, listening back to some of the songs, it is impossible to deny some of the experiences that are put in the songs I haven’t gone through, and that I won’t go through again in life later on,” comments a seemingly under the weather Angel Olsen discussing the possible narrative of her masterpiece Burn Your Fire For No Witness, “but I don’t necessarily feel like it’s about me, like this is the album where I’ve noticed a writing pattern, because before, yeah, I wrote a couple of songs, and this is an album where I could finally look at what I had done, on this album and previous ones, and kind of see patterns in how I addressed certain subjects. I think this one’s unique because I got to kind of step back and see a storyline in it afterwards, because before I knew I was writing a lot of songs addressing love and hate, things being miscommunicated, and also being OK with being by yourself, because these are the kinds of things, I like to read books about those things, and I like to see movies that are moving that make me feel transcendent.”
Burn Your Fire For No Witness is a beautiful album from the somber “Enemy” to the rock of “All Is Forgvien,” the jangle of “Hi Five” to the beauty of “White Fire,” it moves through heartache, sadness, anger, and humor, and all of the emotions one feels in trying to makes sense of the thing, or the world. But even as beautiful as it is for the listener, we hear it in frozen time, the recorded version. For Olsen, it is the presentation, bringing this piece to a different place night in night out, physically playing your favorite song every night, you come for perfection, tethered to this idea of this piece, she’s played it 112 times this year, what is that like?
“I feel good pretty good about them, I get sick of playing them even if I think people wanna hear them, and I think that’s pretty selfish but, you know, but we’ve playing the songs for like, almost the same set for like most of the year, and we’ve added different songs from previous albums and mixed it up and stuff, we tried new versions of stuff, we try ‘Unfucktheworld’ and this is the one song tha it surprises me that people want to hear it, because it’s like the opposite of a song, there are two parts, it doesn’t have a chorus, and so when it ends it’s always kind awkward, I am happy I can play shows and people are even asking me to play songs, but the fact that they are asking to play that one, it’s like what did you expect to happen, you know how it ends, but I think it takes a little bit of guts to play a song like, I just think it’s weird people asking me to play it…it’s cool that people wanna hear it, but it always kind messes with my mind a little bit, I don’t regret writing it or playing it, it’s just one of those things that forces me to face myself.”
Well, November 5th, you can come and face Angel Olsen facing you at Fitzgerald’s. I am excited as Burn You Fire… is probably my favorite (or atleast top 2) albums this year. Also, don’t get the impression it will be a dark affair, Olsen is pretty funny, so it will not be a sort of tissue and candle-lighting affair, it will rock, it will slow down, it will rock again, your soul will be stirred and heart will beat faster. And for that night, what is yours can be shared, our fires can burn in unison. Come, be present, and bear witness.
“You know, I am trying to write something that I think will hopefully inspire me to sing it all the time, like in 10 years from now I wanna sing the songs I’ve written, I don’t wanna look back on it and say ‘That was complete horseshit.’”