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Hi.

Welcome to Rob Hakimian’s website, collecting together the best of his writing from over the years.

5.

5.

Angel Olsen - My Woman

[Jagjaguwar]

The first two or three times I listened to My Woman I was faintly disappointed. Angel’s last album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness was also in my top 10 of that year (2014) and this follow up seemed like she’d stripped back the dramatics, the dynamics and the cutting edge of her sound. It only took a few more listen to realise that My Woman is purposefully not a re-hash of Burn Your Fire, but is a much more finely crafted, more mature and overall more impressive album.

The heart-cracking melodrama of Olsen’s music is still as strong as ever, and that’s clear from the very first track, “Intern.” What’s changed is Angel’s way of getting across just how deep these emotions run, musically, vocally and lyrically. In “Intern” she laments over wide, warm synthesizer, admitting “doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, still gotta wake up and be someone.” Hearing this statement, both damning and invigorating at once, being sung in Olsen’s inimitably rich voice cuts straight through me. The following run of tracks is classic pop rock, where she’s flits between the crushing (“Never Be Mine”), tongue-in-cheek flirtations (“Shut Up Kiss Me”) and back again (“Give It Up”). In this trio of songs it’s clear she has more of a grip on herself than before, happy to poke fun at herself or imbuing her songs with the kind of airiness that says that despite her lamentations, she’ll get through this stronger and better than before.

The second half of the album sees Angel working with her backing band in a collaborative way that results in her biggest songs to date, musically and lyrically. “Sister” is the first of two songs which push past the 7-minute mark; a slow build as Angel contemplates the love she has received and what’s yet to come, before the song explodes into my favourite guitar solo of 2016. “Woman” is a more brooding affair, where Angel summons all her powers as a singer, writer, musician and of course a female, as she challenges some unseen combatant: “I dare you to understand what makes me a woman.”

Angel completes the album with the delicate piano ballad “Pops,” signing off in magnificent form with the lines: “baby don’t forget it’s just a song / I’ll be the thing that lives in the dream when it’s gone.” She’s absolutely spot on – as she is throughout My Woman.

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Below you can see my top 50 albums of the year list.

[Click on the album art at the top to download the album]

50| Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS
49| Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exits
48| Daughter - Not To Disappear
47| The Avalanches - Wildflower
46| Beyonce - Lemonade
45| Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
44| Gold Panda - Good Luck and Do Your Best
43| James Blake - The Colour In Anything
42| Lambchop - FLOTUS
41| Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger
40| Nothing - Tired Of Tomorrow
39| Camp Cope - Camp Cope
38| Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years
37| Aphex Twin - Cheetah EP
36| Mary Lattimore - At The Dam
35| Woods - City Sun Eater In The River Of Light
34| White Lung - Paradise
33| Solange - A Seat At The Table
32| Wild Beasts - Boy King
31| Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
30| Marissa Nadler - Strangers
29| Weyes Blood - Front Row Seat To Earth
28| Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
27| Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
26| Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
25| Kedr Livanskiy - January Sun
24| Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
23| Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines
22| Pantha du Prince - The Triad
21| Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
20| Cavern of Anti-Matter - void beats/invocation trex
19| Olga Bell - Tempo
18| Chairlift - Moth
17| Mitski - Puberty 2
16| Anderson .Paak - Malibu
15| Underworld - Barbara, Barbara we face a shining future
14| Xenia Rubinos - Black Terry Cat
13| Savages - Adore Life
12| DIIV - Is The Is Are
11| Frank Ocean - Blonde
10| Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
09| MONEY - Suicide Songs
08| Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
07| A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
06| Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
05| Angel Olsen - My Woman
04| Parquet Courts - Human Performance
03| Preoccupations - Preoccupations
02| ANOHNI - Hopelessness
01| Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

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