WVAU’s #3 Song of 2016: "Shut Up Kiss Me" by Angel Olsen

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WVAU’s #3 Song of 2016: "Shut Up Kiss Me" by Angel Olsen

Michael Lovito

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It‰’s impossible to discuss “Shut Up Kiss Me‰” — the highlight single from Angel Olsen‰’s My Woman ‰ÛÒ without also discussing “The Waiting,‰” probably the most accessible track on Olsen‰’s 2012 release, Half Way Home. A mousy, country influenced ditty, “The Waiting‰” finds Olsen in love, but apologetically so. “Oh, forgive me from wanting, I‰’m only learning,‰” Angel sings of her unrequited love. “Sometimes I need you to be the one to call‰” she says to her would-be lover, a kind of reluctant request for action, a polite statement of desire if there ever was one.

“Shut Up Kiss Me,‰” of course, is the exact opposite. Here, Olsen has all the answers and apologizes to no one. Politeness is sacrificed for directness and the acoustic niceties swapped out for electric power chords. It‰’s on “Shut Up Kiss Me‰” where Olsen finds her voice, and in more ways than one. Not only does she adopt a more confident and demanding persona, but she also uses her actual vocal delivery in hitherto unheard ways. Her voice longs, it gushes, it teases, it tempts and, by the end, it cries out in nonverbal passion, all before being played out by a simple yet charming “shit solo‰” (Angel‰’s words, not mine).

As if the song itself wasn‰’t enough to smash Olsen‰’s image as a straight-laced folk singer, it came packaged with a video that‰’s all sass and spitfire. The looks she shoots the camera are equal parts withering and come hither; as much as she wants whoever she‰’s singing about, it‰’s clear that they need to be goaded. Well, mission accomplished. Vamping to the camera in a sparkly wig, satin jacket, and white roller skates should be silly, but, to be completely honest, it‰’s sexy as shit. As equal parts challenge and offer of shelter, Olsen is daring us to come and get what we want, so she can get what she wants. Far from the days of “The Waiting,‰” Olsen is finally taking things into her own hands. With her would-be lover clearly in her sights, Olsen is able to finally say what she‰’s always wanted to say. That‰’s great because, as listeners who get to pretend to be her would-be lover ‰ÛÒ if only for three minutes and twenty-two seconds ‰ÛÒ it‰’s exactly what we want to hear.