Angel Olsen’s My Woman was one of the best albums of 2016, making Olsen’s forthcoming Phases, due out on Nov. 10 via Jagjaguwar, one of Paste’s most anticipated November releases. Today, the acclaimed indie songstress has shared her self-directed and -edited video for “Special,” one of the first singles released alongside her announcement of Phases in September.
Between its grainy quality, narrow framing and up-close-and-personal perspective, the meandering clip has the feel of an old home movie. Watching “Special” is akin to spending time with Olsen and friends as they relax on the porch, drink coffee, go crate-digging, drive along a winding country road and generally while away the day. Olsen treats her camera like an old friend, a dance partner and a mirror, forging an intimate connection with the viewer. One YouTube commenter poses a fair question: “What did we do to deserve Angel Olsen?”
Olsen had this to say of the video:
My friend came to visit me for a week and I had all these grand ideas about how to make another video. But it’s been a long year of touring and videos and pressure to keep on being important or interesting. So I woke up the next day and changed my mind, deciding it would be best to just capture the days we were hanging and to occasionally have the camera up. Those days were some of the hardest and also sweetest of the summer. We spent much of the time talking about the current state of affairs and how everyone has been going through tremendous change and having to make hard choices. Maybe it’s just this year, but it feels that we’re entering a new era, one that requires us to really pay more attention to the world and ourselves in it. What I realized is that going through a hard time and talking about it with friends makes you feel your friendships and who you are, and sometimes it takes a weird year to recognize what you still have.
As for “Special” itself, Olsen explains that the sprawling song played a key role in shaping My Woman as a whole. “‘Special’ always felt like a band song to me, something to lose track of ourselves in,” she said. “It didn’t quite fit the rest of My Woman and was a major deciding factor on whether or not it would mean a double LP. My Woman came out and I kept thinking about the song and wanting to play it anyway.” We sure are glad she did.
Watch the “Special” video below. You can find out all about Phases and see Olsen’s upcoming tour dates here.