REVIEW: Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Like I Used To’
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
On their own, Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten’s musical genius’ flow from each of their respective works, swirling round you with every chord and smooth vocal line. But together, they have proved to be a force to be reckoned with.
With all of Olsen’s talent and her hugely successful album All Mirrors, it would be easy to believe she’s ‘made it’. So when she confessed her dream – which she assumed to be farfetched – to write with Van Etten, and her disbelief when it finally came true, it solidified to us, as awe-struck listeners, that even artists at the top of their game get starry eyed. The twist in the story – Sharon Van Etten felt the same. In fact, Van Etten was the one who reached out to begin with, leading to a completely collaborative process from start to finish. The result? Two artists with endless admiration for each other, authentically writing a track that comprises introspective, poetic lyrics and magical production.
‘Like I Used To’ is a work of art, suiting both artists perfectly. From dreamy crescendos to powerful choruses that seem to grab you by the heart, everything about this song is captivating. It has the yearning and passion of Van Etten’s ‘Seventeen’ and the transcendent nature of Olsen’s ‘Lark’ - the perfect concoction of musical qualities that can only be achieved by these two otherworldly artists.
Their voices complement each other beautifully too, with Olsen’s sweet, creamy vocals and the depth of Van Etten’s. The second chorus is when we find out just how flawlessly they weave in and out of each other; Van Etten gradually creeps to the forefront of the mix during the lyrics ‘open my heart like I used to’. It’s almost as if they’re the same person, just reaching different vocal registers, but that’s the beauty of their powerful voices – they work so seamlessly together. And they portray the longing, the nostalgia of the past, intertwined with the present, exquisitely capturing the essence of a year in lockdown. ‘Like I Used To’ is an anthem, it's a majestic collaboration.