Even so, sometimes I am so overwhelmed by something I need to write about it for a larger audience. This is one of those times.
Soak up Joanna Newsom’s new album. Do it.
So easily people shrug off her music as too eccentric, her voice as too childlike and eerie, her harpsichord too . . . much. I can comprehend those arguments, but few great albums strike the listener as gold upon first run-through. Have One on Me is an epic two hour three-disc commitment through all the piano trills and shrill climaxes of her seemingly underdeveloped vocal chords, but also through upbeat folk-inspired anthems, heart-wrenching lyrical excursions (these, of course, hit me the deepest), and the gospel according to Joanna. It’s a vivid journey through lonesome roads leading to the garden of Eden where you’ll find a very wise daddy long legs. The content of this album deals more closely with arachnids and lovesick blues than the naturescapes and nautical analogies past. Her voice sounds more likely to lull you to sleep than cause you to cringe, but maybe I’ve just learned at what volume she sounds best. Newsom convinces us that she has left the confines of the forest and experienced life, love, alcohol, and of course, spiders. I am as always baffled by her spiritual references and credit them to a sort of rebellious mysticism, but that’s for you to interpret.
I assure you, give this one a few listens. You won’t regret it. And if you do, I’ll buy you a beer and tell you why you’re wrong*.
The cherriest of lyrics:
I found a little plot of land
in the garden of eden
it was dirt and dirt is all the same
I tilled it with my two hands
and I called it my very own
There was no one to dispute my claim
Well, you’d be shocked at the state of things
The whole place had just cleared right out
It was hotter than hell, so I lay me by a spring
For a spell as naked as a trout
Like a bump on a bump on a log, baby
Like I’m in a fist fight with a fog, baby
Step-ball-change and a pirouette
And I regret, I regret
How I said to you, ‘honey, just open your heart’
When I’ve got trouble even opening a honey jar
And that right there is where we are…
Well mercy me. I’ll be goddamned.
It’s been a long, long time
since I last saw you.
And I have never known the plan.
It’s been a long, long time.
How are you?
Your eyes are green. Your hair is gold.
Your hair is black. Your eyes are blue.
I closed the ranks, and I doubled back–
but, you know, I hated to close
the doggone door on you.
With that said, let me know how you feel about it. I miss holding heated musical dialogues with friends. Translation: COMMENT PLZ.
*Just kidding. Unless I’m drunk.