In the years following her incredible My Woman, Angel Olsen’s life transformed into something unrecognisable. It was the start of many new phases, but also the end of friendships and romantic relationships. Frantically scrambling for stability whilst the ground was pulled from beneath her, the astonishing All Mirrors is the sound of Olsen finding her feet.
Olsen centres the album around coming to terms with change – accepting her darker faults and growing into womanhood. Originally, the songs were spare, pared-back, often just her voice and a solo instrument. However, then Olsen expanded the palette of each track with beautiful synths and grandiose strings, pushing her raw feelings into the soundscapes of each song.
Across the album, Olsen holds up a mirror to the harsh realities of life, illuminating the difference between the beauty of our dreams and the way things are in actuality. Opener ‘Lark’ perfectly expresses the feeling of falling out of love, the terrifying feeling of being denied the happily ever after you wanted. ‘All Mirrors’, another highlight, explores this struggle internally, questioning how we find the balance between what we project of ourselves and what we see in our reflection.
Olsen has a new-found maturity on All Mirrors, an understanding that life has to constantly change. Although there are lost lovers and stunted dreams, moments of new love and new life are constantly appearing, and the clarity she’s found in this permeates through her lyricism to create an impactful listening experience. On closer ‘Chance’, Olsen expresses her newfound disinterest in searching for absolute love, in promising forever. She earnestly asks why her partner can’t just “say you’re with me now / With all your heart?”.
With All Mirrors comes an acceptance that beauty is always growing and fading – we cannot make it permanent. We can only be thankful that it is here in this moment.
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