Angel Olsen is releasing Whole New Mess at the end of this month, and while most of the album are stripped-back versions of the songs from last year’s All Mirrors there are also a couple of new tracks. We’ve already heard “Whole New Mess” and today she’s shared the other newbie, “Waving, Smiling”. Olsen says:
“‘Waving, Smiling’ in my head is the last scene, a slow motion realisation of love not lost but at peace somewhere within myself. It’s the bittersweet end of a chapter of my life – it is the final acceptance that despite coming to an end all of that time was not lost or wasted.”
There is definitely a stillness and placidity to “Waving, Smiling” that is a tonic to the tumultuous times described on the other songs that make up the album. A skeletal guitar line drifts cleanly and Olsen’s voice is clear and unwavering – she’s had her heart broken, but even that is history now because there are no tears left. The Olsen of “Waving, Smiling” is stolid, as if she’s maturely taking stock of where she finds herself now she’s passed through the storm: “Now baby I’m lying / Laid out and smiling / Look out my window / The sun is shining” – and she’s no less captivating.
A gorgeous ‘live’ version of “Waving, Smiling”, shot by Ashley Connor at Asheville’s Masonic Temple has also been released; you can watch that below. Find the studio version of “Waving, Smiling” beneath or on streaming platforms.