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Song You Need to Know: Mark Ronson featuring Angel Olsen, ‘True Blue’

This surprising collaboration between the superstar producer and the indie singer-songwriter is a sad-disco standout

Angel OlsenAngel Olsen in concert at the Union Chapel in London, UK - 30 Apr 2018

Angel Olsen in concert at the Union Chapel in London

Richard Isaac/Shutterstock

“Fucking around, I’m falling in love,” a distant, muffled Angel Olsen utters at the beginning of “True Blue,” the unexpected highlight from Mark Ronson’s sparkling new record Late Night Feelings. The track has been ringing in minds since its release last week—its disco sludge smearing over summer windows like a psychedelic car wash.

This isn’t the first time Olsen has lent her swelling, syrupy vocals to someone else’s song. In 2017 she appeared on “Stranger’s Kiss,” an alluring indie-pop duet with Alex Cameron. A year later, she teamed up with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament, singing back-up on his solo single “Safe in the Car.” But “True Blue” is an unexpected shift to the mainstream, an unlikely pairing that even shocked Olsen herself. I wasn’t sure what it would be like to work with Mark, considering we are both from different production worlds,” she admitted. “But it was such a fun, organic experience for me. Seriously.”

Olsen was influenced by somber disco during the making of “True Blue,” most notably Nico’s dance cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” That comes through in the track’s sultry groove, its booming beat coalescing with Olsen’s delivery: “I ran to you, I ran to you/I ran to you and you know why.” “I wanted to make something dark like that, but also something people could skate to,” she claims. “A true roller rink song.” Mission accomplished.

 

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