review of Have One On Me


24 Feb 2010, 0:23

Joanna Newsom, Have One on Me (Drag City)

Joanna Newsom, along with Devendra and CocoRosie was one of the original freak folkers, and she definitely earned her title. she came into the music world a pixie, with the harp as her eclectic choice of instrument and a voice that was.. absolutely adorable to some, abrasive to others. following Milk-Eyed Mender's critical success, much-anticipated Ys had her take a now much larger audience on a dynamic journey, sweeping, mythical, magical. Have One On Me is three discs long, so it's difficult to not call this grandiose as well, even intimidating. but, the huge difference here is subtlety - and that is what makes HOOM's 2+ hours of music very manageable. that symphony that bombarded us with beautiful sounds on Ys, is now under control (thanks greatly to composer Ryan Francesconi). the squeaks and yelps of Milk-Eyed Mender are there but less forceful. her BA in creative writing, as always, is in full effect. but things seem much more personal. more... sad. not a one song is made to be some kind of adventure. there is a distinct lack of hooks, of any dramatic narrative. if you're not careful, all three discs might finish before you feel like you've grasped on to much of anything. and somehow this does not lessen anything. the great achievement of HOOM that it is a well-composed piece of art that is just fucking beautiful for being itself and offering nothing else - an anti-pop piece. it's a heartbreaking meditation, not designed to have you hanging on every note and lyric. Baby Birch's slow buildup hits in just the right places, rather than overwhelming the listener with emotion. the symphony pops in only when needed on "In California," in which Newsom seems to channel the blues and folk of Joni Mitchell. each and every song contains multitudes of layers, labyrinths of lyrics to wade through. yet, all of that can wait. because for the first several listens, all that you'll need to get out of these tracks is that they make up an album that's quite pretty to listen to. Joanna Newsom has done nothing but mature - this is her most adult release to date. and it's absolutely magical.


  • Crustclock

    Nice review! Although I don't know what 'more mature' means after an album like Ys.

    24 Feb 2010, 15:47
  • FrinkianZ

    i think her time as a musician has been marked by a distinct progression in a positive direction - i.e. maturity. first, we adored her for a uniqueness coupled with an amazing talent, she had a naiveté, her music lived in some small shire untouched by industry. with Ys she was presented with the tools to move beyond the quirkiness of a harp and a strange voice, and it was like a kid in a candy store, she took that symphony to the moon and back with five magnificent opuses. this album is so much more adult because the things she's singing about are actually.. well, real. are presented in a way that is grandiose but manageable, inspiring but humble, etc. etc.

    24 Feb 2010, 16:39
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