Pick of the Week: Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen “Like I Used To”

Sharon Van Etten Angel Olsen
Graphics by Ainsley Basic

By Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen released their first collaboration, “Like I Used To,” late last month. I’m craving more from the two indie powerhouses already. Van Etten and Olsen’s haunting singing compliments each other perfectly. Blending at times and highlighting their distinct ranges and tones at others.

With heartbreak in their voices, they sing about feeling down and avoiding the surrounding world as much as possible. By the final verses, however, they have a change of heart. Lyrics “dancing all alone like I used to” and “taking what’s mine like I used to” declare that they will embrace independence. A steady drumbeat and guitar riff carry through the song while piano and twinkling noises accent it. This powerful instrumentation adds to the emotional depth of the lyrics.

 

HOW THE COLLABORATION CAME ABOUT

Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen had always been supportive of each other’s works, but never thought to ask if they could collaborate. "I've met with Sharon here and there throughout the years and have always felt too shy to ask her what she's been up to or working on,” Olsen said in a press release. So when Van Etten reached out to Olsen in 2020 about doing a duet and sent over the unfinished song, Olsen happily accepted. 

“Like I Used To” was made remotely over the course of a year. Listening to the seamless audio, it’s hard to believe that it was recorded apart. The music video artistically works with this separation, too. For much of the video, the screen is split in half showing each side of the duet. But for a few moments at the end, the two are depicted together. The very last scene shows them joyous, holding hands and dancing with one another on a stage. Hopefully this scene can become a reality soon and we can hear the powerful duet performed live.

 

Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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