Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me (Drag City) 3LP
Joanna Newsom is one of those artists who polarizes opinion and sparks fierce debate. This mammoth triple-album set (housed in a sodding-great pizza box of a cover) therefore seems destined to become one of most discussed records of 2010. This here blog is not generally in the habit of entering into such discussions but just so happens to have a bit of a “thing” for Ms. Newsom and her delightfully harp-tastic song stylings.
These particular stylings are generally similar to those on her previous opus, Ys but with rather more restrained arrangements, where conventional rock instrumentation is allowed greater prominence than on previous releases. Indeed, despite its length, Have One on Me is surely Newsom’s most approachable album to date – particularly as her signature love-it-or-hate-it squawk has been softened to a conciliatory purr.
Joni Mitchell comparisons have been bandied about and Never for Ever-era Kate Bush would be another apt comparison. But you should all know by now that Joanna Newsom is in a world of her own. What is more, you should be well aware that her world is a wonderful place to be. In this climate of austerity, Have One on Me really does feel like a much-needed outpouring of generosity. Heck, if your heart isn’t melted by the likes of “’81” and “Kingfisher”… erm… we’ll just have to agree to disagree, won’t we?
This could be the album that turns Joanna Newsom into a bona fide superstar. As such, it should be pretty damn easy for you to find a copy at your local record store. Otherwise, you could go straight to the source and buy it from Drag City.