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Sometimes, you have to go through the fire to find peace. For Angel Olsen, that meant discovering her first queer love, coming out at the age of 34, and suffering through the loss of both parents. But now that she's through all of that, she's releasing her best album yet: Big Time.
"Many of the songs I wrote on this record were inspired by my first queer relationships, coming to terms with who I was, a result of what it meant to be sitting with myself in a very real way during the early pandemic," Olsen says. "It felt like I experienced a storm of emotions and realizations on love now that I was tapping into this hidden part of myself. Was this how it was supposed to feel? Because this is very intense and different than anything I've felt before. Nothing makes you feel more gay than your first gay heartbreak!"
Olsen wrote and recorded the album amid that first queer love but also in the midst of tragedy. Three days after she came out to her family, Olsen's father died, and then two weeks after she introduced her family to her partner at his funeral, her mother passed as well.
The result is a heartfelt and emotional record full of Olsen's voice that's stronger and clearer than ever. On songs like "All the Good Times," "Through the Fires," and the album's title track, Olsen mourns and celebrates, creating an album full of heartbreak along with love and resilience. It's music that doesn't shy away from the pain of life but never loses the optimism that forms its core.
"Big Time I thought would be an apt title for the experiences I had, both to do with coming out and losing my parents shortly after -- the pandemic, the state of the world, all of it -- and yet I personally feel it's my most at-peace record I've ever made," she adds.
Big Time is out now from Jagjaguwar.
This story is part of The Advocate's 2022 Advocacy and Politics issue, which is out on newsstands July 18, 2022. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.