American singer-songwriter extraordinaire Angel Olsen has returned with a brand new single, the title track to her upcoming sixth studio album Big Time.
Olsen’s greatest has always been her versatility. Whether it’s straight-ahead indie rock, impassioned neo-noir, acoustic folk, orchestral pop, or southern-fried soul, Olsen has managed to wear a number of guises over the past decade without ever seeming disingenuous or insincere. ‘Big Time’ is another leap into new territory, this time taking on the sound of country.
Not unlike her previous single ‘All The Good Times’, ‘Big Time’ comes complete with strident organ lines and whispy pedal steel guitar that place it firmly in the old school Bakersfield Sound of classic country music. ‘Big Time’ is right in the standard love song structure that country and western is ideally suited for, but since this is Angel Olsen, there are some wah-wah guitars and resplendent harmonies to keep things from getting too schmaltzy.
Music video director Kimberly Stuckwisch explains the creative inspiration behind the single: “For ‘Big Time,’ we set out to celebrate how humans identify and to subvert the old-fashioned gender binary and societal/internalized gender roles of the past through choreography, colour, and wardrobe. To exist outside strict definitions is powerful and often not given a place in cinema. This was our chance to hold a positive reflection in the space and to shout to the world that you are more than who you are told to be.”
“‘Big Time’ is what happens when we do not express our true identity but find freedom when we step out of the shadows into our most authentic selves. In the first rotation, the lighting is drab, the clothes are monochromatic, the dance is monotonous . . . gender-conforming roles present. However, with each rotation, something magical happens, both our cast and Angel begin to come alive, to feel free. We see the clothes brighten, the dance heightens, and the bar that was once devoid of emotion can barely contain the joy bursting out of each individual.”
The idea of having a big gay country song isn’t actually all that out of place as it might have been 10 or 20 years ago. Artists like Brandi Carlile and Orville Peck are taking their country music backgrounds and adapting them for a whole new audience who might not have been welcomed in the traditionally conservative genre. Olsen always had a bit of twang to go along with her heavier rock and punk roots, but it usually came out as smokey odes to the past. With ‘Big Time’, Olsen steps firmly into the present.
Check out the video for ‘Big Time’ down below. Big Time is set for a June 3rd release.