AOTY 2020

Half Way Home

Angel Olsen - Half Way Home
Critic Score
Based on 8 reviews
2012 Ratings: #171 / 1032
User Score
Based on 170 ratings
2012 Ratings: #106
Liked by 2 people
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Beats Per Minute

While the album never stumbles wildly or veers off course, there is a bleakness, even in the midst of some of the more hopeful songs, that may keep some listeners at a distance.


What makes Half Way Home magnificent is its openness to what could be, to potential.

Consequence of Sound

Olsen’s white-hot volatility isn’t the main story of Half Way Home, but more the engine that carries her equally remarkable sense for folk- and country-based arrangements into something far less definable; even “anti-folk” is shallow in comparison. 

Bare-bones harmonies, restrained instrumentation, and Olsen's brilliantly isolated musical persona result in an album to return to repeatedly, with new layers revealing themselves each time.

She can put her voice wherever she wants to, and she can land it without warning. It can cut or soothe, scare or comfort, and you’re not quite sure what it’s going to do—and when it’s going to do it. 

The Needle Drop
On her latest effort, Angel Olsen delivers a quaint and simple set of contemporary folk tunes with a few alt-country detours. Though the sounds are pretty familiar, it's her wonderfully bold voice that brings it all together.
I was hiking in Red River Gorge, Kentucky a couple weeks ago when I was given the news that a family member had very unexpectedly died of a heart attack. My current situation was not ideal in the slightest for this news - my friend and I had just laid down to sleep after a long night of being on the trail and setting up our camp (it was midnight), and we were miles from anyone. I was laying in my sleeping bag in the tent when I read the messages. It was so different from any other time I'd ... read more
Acrobat - 7.7/10
The Waiting - 7.9/10
Safe in the Womb - 5.7/10
Lonely Universe - 5.0/10
Can't Wait Until Tomorrow - 5.0/10
Always Half Strange - 5.0/10
You Are Song - 5.0/10
Miranda - 5.0/10
The Sky Opened Up - 5.0/10
Free - 7.2/10
Tiniest Seed - 6.5/10

Nota: 59💛
MarkCooper's review of this led me to revisit this early. I had it in my pile of records to listen to and score, but it was behind a bunch of other things.

Anyway, this album is just more/early proof that AO is one of the great talents of this decade. Oh that voice. While 'Burn Your Fire...' can be sparse and desolate, in some respects it actually has nothing on this.

'Lonely Universe' & 'Free' are so so good. Hoping we get new music soon, but I'll happily spin this for now.
AO’s debut is a long, long, long, long, beautiful album
Essa mulher nunca errou, amo Acrobat e Safe in the Womb.
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Year End Lists

#22/Gorilla vs. Bear
#23/Tiny Mix Tapes

Track List

  1. Acrobat 
  2. The Waiting 
  3. Safe in the Womb 
  4. Lonely Universe 
  5. Can't Wait Until Tomorrow 
  6. Always Half Strange 
  7. You Are Song 
  8. Miranda 
  9. The Sky Opened Up 
  10. Free 
  11. Tiniest Seed
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Added on: September 12, 2012