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Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen's new tracks reflect on personal emotion and instancePhotography by Cait Fahey

Stream Angel Olsen’s dreamy deluxe album reissue

The singer reissues her captivating album with added new tracks. Here, she talks about loneliness and the 70s western TV obsessions behind it all

If Angel Olsen’s resplendent second LP Burn Your Fire for No Witness left you craving more, chances are you’re a) in possession of enviably fine taste, and b) pretty hyped to hear that JagJaguwar’s deluxe reissue of the captivating album, appended with new material, is imminent. To guide you through the release, streaming below via Dazed, we picked Olsen’s brains on the stories of loneliness, disenchantment and 70s western TV obsessions behind all five new tracks.

“White Water”

“It's sort of watery and spacey and lo-fi, just a girl with a guitar, weird peaking noises. It's super experimental. We messed around in the studio and (producer, John) Congleton added this crazy part that sounds like you're in the jungle or something. You're in the jungle and missiles are being fired at you (laughs.) It comes after "Windows", which is this very 'ending' kind of song, and "White Water" picks it back up again. It's like a semi-colon after the album. For me, the lyrics are all about trying to cleanse yourself of all these changes. I named it "White Water" because, when I first started writing it, the chords were similar to the album’s but going in completely different directions. And I thought, how appropriate for it to be a completely different title song (to Burn Your Fire...).”

“All Right Now”

“I really wanted this to make the album, but (the record) was too long... which is a good problem to have! I love the tambourine sound on it – it's more of a spacey release song. It's like, ‘Everything's fine now’. It's sort of sad that it's not on the album, but it's important for me to have a good mixture of feeling songs and wordy songs, and "All Right Now" is definitely a feeling song. It's like, ‘I'm gonna put this on and feel something. I'm not gonna stand in one place and reflect on my life.’”

“Only With You”

“The song's a good example of how I've learned how to hold back a little bit, with people. As you get older, without even realising it, a lot of people become more aware of everything, and more prepared. In a way you're naturally on guard, you develop a guide. And with my voice I've definitely learned I don't have to show all of my feathers at once. And with songs like "Windows" and songs like "Only With You", it's more about just making a simple recording. The presence of a voice is more important than showing somebody that you can reach all of these scales. It's about if the feeling is real. I'm still learning how to be as real as possible.”

“May As Well”

“I was in Chicago when I wrote it. My friend was having a barbecue in the park, his family came into town and they always meet up and have these huge dinners. I don't know what was going on but I felt really disconnected, and I ended up not staying. I walked home from the park to my house in Chicago on this beautiful sunny day. In the summertime we could access the roof and we'd all hang out and read or listen to music. So I climbed up this ladder with my guitar and sat on the roof and started writing and recording. After I wrote it, I sent it to a friend and they were like, ‘Who is this?!’ I was like, ‘You arsehole!’ But it is from a different timeline: it's like something straight out of the fifties.”

“Endless Road”

“This was a cover of the Bonanza theme tune that I did for my mother. She watches Bonanza a lot – she likes seventies westerns – and we heard these two cowboys singing it on the show. My parents are in their 70s and 80s, so it's hard for me to relate to what they're interested in, but I'll watch the westerns with them when I get a chance. Around this time I'd just finished working with Bonnie "Prince" Billy. I started touring on my own and everything was changing. So the song’s like a musician's perspective – you're never around, your relationships are tested and you think about things differently. When I get home people are like, 'You went to all these great places and you got to see all these things!' And it's weird, because the whole time I was in this exotic place I was wondering, 'When am I gonna take a shower,’ you know? ‘When am I gonna see a friend of mine?’ And hearing this song, I was starting to realise what it meant to be working that hard. It really hit home.”