Angel Olsen Shares Cover of Men Without Hats’ “The Safety Dance” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, February 26th, 2024  

Angel Olsen Shares Cover of Men Without Hats’ “The Safety Dance”

Aisles EP Due Out August 20 via Her Jagjaguwar Imprint somethingscosmic

Jul 29, 2021 Photography by Dana Trippe
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Angel Olsen is releasing a new EP, Aisles, which features covers of five 1980s songs, on August 20 via Olsen’s new Jagjaguwar imprint somethingscosmic (with a physical release on September 24). Now she has shared its second single, a cover of Men Without Hats’ 1982 classic “The Safety Dance.” (Olsen’s version removes the “The” from the song’s name, so it’s simply “Safety Dance.”) Listen below, followed by the original version of the song.

“I felt this song could be reinterpreted to be about the time of quarantine and the fear of being around anyone or having too much fun,” says Olsen in a press release. “It made me wonder, is it safe to laugh or dance or be free of it all for just a moment?”

Previously Olsen shared the EP’s first single, an impassioned and slowed down take on Laura Branigan’s 1982 disco classic “Gloria.” Like all best cover versions, Olsen completely transformed the original song and brilliantly made it her own. Aisles also features covers of songs by OMD, Billy Idol, and Alphaville.

“I know it’s not really in my history to do something unintentional or just for the hell of it,” says Olsen in a press release, “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!”

Olsen recorded the EP in the winter of 2020 with co-producer and engineer Adam McDaniel at Asheville’s Drop of Sun Studios.

“I told Adam I had an idea to record some covers and bring some of the band into the mix, or add other players. I needed to laugh and have fun and be a little less serious about the recording process in general,” says Olsen. “I thought about completely changing some of the songs and turning them inside out. I’d come over to find Adam had set up five or so synthesizers, and we’d get lost on a part for a while messing with some obscure pedal I knew nothing about. We’d spend a good amount of time going through sounds before finding one or two, sometimes we’d get real weird and decide to just go with it. ”

McDaniel had previously helped Olsen perfect the audio of live-stream at-home performances during the pandemic.

In May, Olsen teamed up with Sharon Van Etten for a brand new collaborative song, “Like I Used To.” “Like I Used To” was shared via a Kimberly Stuckwisch-directed video. The duet easily landed at #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then the super-duo performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Also in May, Olsen released a new box set, Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories, via Jagjaguwar. The set features Olsen’s albums All Mirrors and Whole New Mess, along with a bonus LP titled Far Memory and a 40-page book. All Mirrors came out in 2019 and made it to the top spot on our Top 100 Albums of 2019 list. Whole New Mess came out the following year and was #39 for our Top 100 Albums of 2020.

Aisles EP Tracklist

1. Gloria (Laura Branigan Cover)
2. Eyes Without a Face (Billy Idol Cover)
3. Safety Dance (Men Without Hats Cover)
4. If You Leave (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Cover)
5. Forever Young (Alphaville Cover)

Angel Olsen Tour Dates:

Sat. Sept. 11 - Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival
Sat. Oct. 30 - San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands

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