Angel Olsen's video for "Big Time," the lead single from her upcoming album of the same name, has been out for a little while now, but we haven't stopped listening to it.
Both the song and its video declare powerful statements about love and joy and being yourself. Listening to it feels like driving into a triumphant sunset with the love of your life in the seat next to you.
The video puts Olsen in an old-timey-style bar, about to perform on a stage for a very traditional-looking audience. When she starts singing, the couples start dancing, but as she continues the song, the dancers' movements become freer, gender roles are loosened, and joy spreads throughout the room.
By the time she's singing the final chorus, the dancers are wearing bright and colorful outfits (and so is Angel) and are dancing as if no one is watching. It shows the healing power of music, following Olsen's journey in finding queer love as well.
"For 'Big Time,' we set out to celebrate how humans identify and to subvert the old-fashioned gender binary and societal/internalized gender roles of the past through choreography, color, and wardrobe," director Kimberly Stuckwisch said. "To exist outside strict definitions is powerful and often not given a place in cinema. This was our chance to hold a positive reflection in the space and to shout to the world that you are more than who you are told to be."
Olsen, who came out publicly in 2021, and her coming out journey has greatly influenced the album. Three days after she came out to her parents, her father passed away. It was at his funeral that Olsen introduced her partner to her family. The introduction went well, but just two weeks later, her mother had passed as well.
Three weeks after her mother's funeral, Olsen was in the studio recording this new album, and the emotion and clarity that come from being yourself and being out are clear on the album. Olsen seems to be writing and singing with a newfound freedom, and it's leading to some career-best work.
The new songs are more country influenced than her earlier material, but it still retains the sounds she's known for. There are pieces of Bonnie Raitt, Karen Dalton, and Townes Van Zandt in these songs, and it fits Olsen's voice and songwriting beautifully.
Early indications are that this could be a new queer sad girl classic, joining Tegan and Sara's The Con, Phoebe Bridger's Punisher, Julien Baker's Sprained Ankle, and Mitski's Be the Cowboy as greats in the genre.
Big Time, the album, is out on June 3 from Jagjaguwar. Olsen and director Kimberly Stuckwisch also announced a short film titled Big Time that will debut on the Amazon Music Channel on Twitch and the Amazon Music App on June 2 at 6:30pm PT. This July, she also kicks off her next tour along with Sharon Van Etten and Julien Baker. You can buy tickets at her website.