Angel Olsen Is Taking Us Back to the ’80s with Her Covers EP “Aisles”

The first single from the EP, which is out August 20, is a cover of Laura Branigans “Gloria.”

Laura Branigan’s 1982 rendition of Umberto Tozzi and Giancarlo Bigazzi’s “Gloria” was an exciting romp about a woman that was too speedy for her own good. Synths ring out like overjoyed trumpets as Branigan paints an image of the curious Gloria running after a man, either under the influence of her own delusions or swept up in a romantic fantasy. Its immensity is what makes it a great bar song, running song, hell, even an NHL hockey team’s anthem. Today, Angel Olsen has released her own rendition, and it’s none of those things. 

By slowing down the track’s tempo and flattening the synths to a cosmic effect, Olsen has flipped the ’80s classic on its head to a stunning effect. The lyrics “I think you’re headed for a breakdown / So be careful not to show it” and “I think they got your number / I think they got the alias that you’ve been living under” feel ominous and haunting. Why is Gloria running? What are the voices in her head saying? And who are they? Angel Olsen has turned the track’s ostensibly innocent energy into an X-Files soundtrack on Quaaludes. I can’t stop listening to it. 

Turns out, “Gloria” isn’t the only fresh take on the ’80s sounds that Olsen has worked on. She’s announced a covers EP titled Aisles, which happens to be the first release on her new label imprint somethingcosmic. The singer will also share takes on Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face,” Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance,” OMD’s “If You Leave,” and Alphaville’s “Forever Young.”  

Olsen has also included a statement on how the EP came together with friend and local engineer and producer in Asheville, NC, Adam McDaniel. “Summer 2020 was tough for many reasons. But Adam and his wife Emily opened their home to me and made it a safe space to create and let go. I told Adam I had an idea to record some covers and bring some of the band into the mix, or add other players,” she said. 

“I wanted to record 80’s songs that I’d overheard walking the aisles at the grocery store, and I needed to laugh and have fun and be a little less serious about the recording process in general. I thought about completely changing some of the songs and turning them inside out. I know it’s not really in my history to do something unintentional or just for the hell of it but my connection to these songs is pretty straightforward, I just wanted to have a little fun and be a little more spontaneous, and I think I needed to remember that I could!”

Hear “Gloria” below and pre-order Aisles, which is out August 20, here. It also comes in a physical version that will be available September 24 on limited frosted blue vinyl and clear blue cassette.

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