Sharon Van Etten & Angle Olsen – “Like I Used To”
On this song, you get two of the best voices and songwriters in the Alternative Folk collaborating on a song that would put the Everly Brothers to shame for the vocals, and give Bob Dylan a run for his money lyric-wise. Van Etten and Olsen harmonize so well, it’s almost that the vocals are double tracked by just one of them. Olsen’s voice is perfect on this with her Roy Orbison chirps, while Van Etten’s voice is smooth as silk, reminiscent of Joni Mitchell in the Court and Spark days. This is the best duet I’ve heard since Dolly Parton and Norah Jones. I love the fact the neither Van Etten nor Olsen try to hog the spotlight. This is no battle of the divas; this is two confident musicians harmonizing like angels in the heavenly choir. And the lyrics are so self-confident yet revealing.
Will the marker stain the skin? Stole the dress I saw you in Now nothing comes to mind. Saw a life as override, One more session overdrive. The ceiling is the roof Change address and draw a line Show my friends the silver lines Call my family just to know they’re there Sleepin’ 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 Crawl the field and let you in Brand my heart I found you in To say nothing’s more apart Will my lover be there, stay Follow them to less the pain The ceiling must be wrong Well my head’s gone today Sell my past for a way to sing and have something left to say Pray my hands, pray my voice Give the reason, take away Make believe an order for to stay Lighting one up like I used to Dancing all alone like I used to Giving it up like I used to Falling in love like I used to Open my heart like I used to Making out long like I used to Holding hands openly, rights to taking what’s mine like I used to Like I used to (like I used to) Like I used to (like I used to)
There is no doubt; this is what a duet should be; each artist enhancing the power of the other. There is no power struggle, just respect and a joy of singing. The lyrics are amazing, of course. You have two veteran songwriters, both of which love to reveal their hearts. I am looking forward to many more duets from these two.