The Milk-Eyed Mender
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The Milk-Eyed Mender

March 23, 2004

Song Title
Bridges And Balloons
Sprout And The Bean
The Book Of Right-On
Inflammatory Writ
This Side Of The Blue
"En Gallop"
Peach, Plum, Pear
Three Little Babes
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: March 23, 2004
  • Label: Drag City
  • Total Length: 52:04
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000W1NER8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,780 Paid in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 Paid in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
178 of 201 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real gem, if you're game April 1, 2004
By skytwo
Format:Audio CD
Joanna Newsom will never find a popular audience. The idea of a classically-trained singing harpist who plays American folk music would pretty much guarantee that, but Newsom's vocals are also an acquired taste-- of the sort that probably causes most fans to endure accusations of just trying to be hip, and not actually enjoying the music.
However, if you take in some of the samples and decide that you find Newsom's voice charming rather than grating, you're in for a special treat. For a young whippersnapper, her music manages to include many sophisticated elements, including a pleasantly reverent, old-timey, Appalachian sound that lingers beneath the atmospheric melodies. The American south that Newsom creates is highly idealized, but never so decrepit or depressing as to be gothic.
The lyrics are as important as the music, and although they can sometimes be frustratingly obscure, they are often disarmingly witty ("like a slow, low-flying turkey/ like a Texan drying jerky"), and even make ironic use of the pretentious academic jargon that seems to have become the lingua franca of 'empowered' college women these days. Yes, it's smart and artsy, but it's also genuinely fresh and engaging. Keep up the good work, Ma'am.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Subjectivity of Music..... October 8, 2006
By E. Dill
Format:Audio CD
I've just finished scanning most of the reviews to date. We've got those who loved the album from the I did. Then there are those that hated it initially but found that it grew on them. Finally, we have those who hate it, find it either some intellectual joke played on them or the worst example of a singer who can't sing they've ever heard.

Like all of us, we can only truly discuss what WE feel....not what others feel, why they feel it and who's fooling whom.

This, to me anyway, is a transcendent album and Newsome is a voice I will not forget. (I know, I know, you detractors won't either!). It's a little girl voice with a big jarring sound coupled with odd phrasing and pronounciation (I mean, M.I.A. IS Sri Lanken, Joanna is American!)

I remember a time when I was still a teen and first heard free jazz. I was bowled over by its harshness but felt some of what has been suggested here. Were they kidding? Was this noise and nothing more? Then, rather slowly, it came to me. It came to me NOT because someone told me I SHOULD like it. It came viscerally. It was almost like pure emotion. The sax would scream, cry, howl, laugh....sometimes all in one piece. I still remember standing in the back of a local club, listening to a great local tenor sax player (Ernie Krivda) moving from a post-bop thing to some free jazz. He literally had me weeping with the emotion of the music he was playing.

As for folk singers, Iris Dement has that quality to her voice. I haven't a clue whether Iris' voice is pure or stylized, just like I haven't a notion about Joanna's either. I DO know that those who like Dylan's phrasing MUST know that his most famous version of his voice WAS "developed".
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow March 25, 2007
Format:Audio CD
I haven't had as strongly and immediately positive a reaction to an artist in years as I did when I heard some tracks from Joanna Newsom. I thought the only time I would fall so quickly for a quirky artist who can't sing would be that time I first heard Tom Waits playing at a record store years ago, but Newsom's incredibly catchy harp melodies, her unconventional lyrics, and her squeaky-hinge voice combined into something that absolutely knocked me over at first listen. I waited impatiently by the mailbox until I got this CD, with the tunes of singles "Bridges and Balloons" and "The Sprout and the Bean" running almost constantly through my head.

Once I got this album, I found to my relief that Newsom's work is consistent throughout and that it held my attention through repeated listens. Newsom's off-tune, off-kilter voice wears far better than one might expect and her tunes are pop-like in the way they hook themselves into the brain like Velcro. Her lyrics are a double-edged sword on repeat listens in that there is a lot of depth to them - they are more poetry than traditional pop lyric - but some verses (a remarkable minority, actually) are art-student twee.

The good in this album far, far outweighs the occasional pretension in the lyrics. I'm over the moon about Newsom and I listen to this album over and over. I imagine it is true, as other commentators have noted, that Newsom's singing voice, if you can really call it that, could be a stumbling block for many listeners. It usually is for me. But in my opinion, Newsom makes it work.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It either speaks to you or it does not November 18, 2007
Format:Audio CD
On first listen I was amazed by this album. How could she be so audacious as to not to attempt (at least) to create a "pretty" sound? When you make an album don't you do everything to make it "pleasing to the ear?" I realized after a few tracks... she doesn't care about that. These are her songs and she does them her way and that's that... take it or leave it. I was, however blown away by the fact that someone would choose not "try to make it pretty." That's guts.

Next the lyrics started to roll over me and through me. Word play, that's what I thought next, and I love word play. Clever snippets of lyrics stayed with me. I found myself going back to the songs for reasons I could not explain other than it pleased me to hear them again.

I read some reviews. I liked a "strangled squirrel" comparison I read. That's not totally off the mark (at certain moments.) I also agreed with comments like "not like anything else you will hear this year." So far, that is certainly true.

On careful listening (headphones, man!) I came to love most of these songs, perhaps it will be all of them eventually. They entertain me and I suspect they are entertaining my soul a bit as well. How much popular music falls into that category?

One rule this album breaks is that popular/folk music is supposed to be pleasing to the ear. They rioted when "The Rite of Spring" debuted. Most of us don't really want to be challenged with anything too new or different and this qualifies.

I enjoyed reading the negative reviews. Certainly, I can understand those who cannot get beyond "the voice." You are forgiven and may go in peace. To those whose expectations were fanned by the New York Times, I am sorry.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars unique!
The sound of J.N.'s voice is quite singular, and when paired with the harp or harpsichord, the experience is even more of a rare find! Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Ashlyn L Shellito
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and Lovely to Listen To
If you pay attention to the lyrics, these songs are funny as hell. If you're only listening to the sound, it's beautiful and original. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jessica Salmonson
5.0 out of 5 stars YES
Joanna Newsom is a unique and amazing musician. She is so talented and I love listening to this album over and over again. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Hannah
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite albums
This has been one of my favorite albums for years. The lyrics are beautiful, the instrumentation is perfect, and from start to finish it's really a masterpiece. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kyle Palmateer
5.0 out of 5 stars visions of joanna
yeah yeah her vocals arent etta james by any means but her sound her harp playing ability are incredible this album is her best in my opinion she is a master of catchy but also... Read more
Published 21 months ago by natalie portman"s nephew
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Joanna Newsom isn't for everyone, and in the Milk-Eyed Mender her vocal style is playful and child-like. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Kurt
1.0 out of 5 stars Goodness...!
A record for Bjork fans who would like to know why some of us dislike Bjork. One listen to this and they will get the same effect Bjork has on me. Read more
Published 22 months ago by G. Wareing
4.0 out of 5 stars A.Cruz
This record was a great listen and find. I was stumbling on to some new artist for me and I had heard about Joanna Through some videos. Read more
Published on December 11, 2011 by A.Cruz
4.0 out of 5 stars joanna newson music
joanna's music is good, exspecially for kids. I have the cd and I'm not that young, really to grown for it. but I like it. overall its a nice cd. Read more
Published on December 20, 2010 by sherry Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it because my son likes it :)
My 9-year-old son was watching TV with me one evening and heard a snippet of "Bridges and Balloons" in the background of an LG commercial. Read more
Published on November 7, 2010 by C. Leon
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