New Music Friday: Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen's 'Like I Used To' is our 2021 anthem
Mullet music (in the best way)
After teasing fans earlier this week, Van Etten and Olsen have finally released their highly-anticipated collaboration, 'Like I Used To', an energetic and orchestral anthem that ticks all the right boxes. According to Olsen, the song is reminiscent "of getting back to where I started, before music was expected of me—or much was expected of me; a time that remains pure and real in my heart and important for me to remember and check in with as I go forward in this life."
While this sentiment certainly carries prominently throughout the song, the message resonates in other ways. In particular, it's applicable to pandemic life both lyrically and in feeling—likely no accident, considering that the song was written in 2020. Case in point: "Call my family just to know they're there/Sleeping in late like I used to/Crossing my fingers like I used to/Waiting inside like I used to/Avoiding big crowds like I used to".
As for the track itself, it's the perfect meld of Van Etten and Olsen's individual strengths. Easily distinguishable as the work of John Congleton, the stunning production comes as no surprise—the producer has previously worked with Van Etten on her fifth studio album, Remind Me Tomorrow, and Olsen on both her sophomore album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, and her fourth album All Mirrors.
On the choice to collaborate, Van Etten explains: "I have loved [Angel's] music for a long time. I have been to her shows and cried in the audience. I have cheers’d her post-show on the road. She has sent me inspirations and support in my highs and lows along the way."
“Even though we weren’t super close, I always felt supported by Angel and considered her a peer in this weird world of touring. We highway high-fived many times along the way," Van Etten continues. "I finally got the courage in June of 2020 to reach out to see if she would want to sing together. I got greedy and quickly sent her a track I had been working on. I never thought I would get the courage to send her an unfinished song and ask her to do a duet with me and here we are.
Olsen adds: "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, but in 2020 she approached me to work on a song together. Summer went by and we kept talking, going back and forth on a verse or two—it was the first time I really wrote something with someone like this."
The video, directed by Kimberly Stuckwisch (who also produced Billie Eilish's video for 'When The Party's Over'), is equally as gripping as the track—watch it here:
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