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My first exposure to Joanna Newsom came through her previous solo album, THE MILK-EYED MENDER, which while similar to YS was far less ambitious and epic. YS is to THE MILK-EYED MENDER what Van Morrison's ASTRAL WEEKS was to BLOWIN' YOUR MIND, simultaneously an ambitious expansion of the possibilities in the previous work and an attempt to produce something truly epic and unique. And the comparison to Morris is apt. Although YS contains only five songs, it clocks in at over 50 minutes, but in those 50 minutes there are no instrumental breaks. The only other performer I know who has recorded several songs that were as long as the ones on YS and featured singing through their entire length is Van Morrison. The songs on YS don't sound like "Listen to the Lion," but it might be the closest musical equivalent.
These songs are epic, theatrical, and expansive. And the word "unique" can't be applied too sparingly. The instrumentation alone sets it apart.Read more ›
Well first and foremost, it has to do with Newsom's voice. If you've never heard Joanna in action, I encourage you to stop reading this very minute and click on one of the songs above. Really. Do it. Because, chances are this will be the dealbreaker. The first time I heard a sample , I rated her voice in the bearable-to-slightly-intriguing range. Today, I'm rather fond of the way she warbles her poetic verses. But my girlfriend prefers nails on a chalkboard than to being within earshot, no matter how many times I try to subliminally influence her otherwise.
If you can get past Newsom's voice, the second hurdle requires making a mental commitment to listening to this cd at HOME. This is not the type of cd you can play at a party if you want to keep your friends. And the songs are much too long for the standard car ride unless you're anticipating traffic. So when you buy this disc, you need to mentally donate at least one hour of time to dressing up as Romeo or Juliet, laying down in a bean bag chair, and letting Newsom take you into another world. Well maybe you don't need to dress up, but it would really help with the ambiance.
If you can envision getting this far, I'd say this cd is a safe bet. The strings and instrumentation are outstanding, and you will no doubt come to admire the depth and breadth of each song. Each song starts off at a relatively slow pace before reaching a powerful crescendo that justifies the wait.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Joanna Newsom's Ys is a work of spectacular beauty. Easy listening this is not; complex, challenging, and rewarding it is. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Erik Bateson
Vinyl quality and packaging is top notch.
Also a perfect record, but if you're buying this, I assume you already know that.
I can not live without this album. Joanna Newsom creates something truly special and without precedent in this album. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jaffa
I love this record so much. the packaging is beautiful and sturdy. There is a beautifully illustrated lyric book inside as well!Published 14 months ago by Abby
Joanna Newsom is a standup comedian who tours the country with her harp in renaissance era gear and plays with the mindset poor little girl lost in the memory of her childhood. Read morePublished 18 months ago by J.F. Carroll