March 3, 2010

Joanna Newsom further polarizes music listeners with "Have One On Me"

Joanna Newsom's new album, "Have One On Me," is not, as the title might suggest, available for free download somewhere legitimate. It is eighteen long songs, divided onto three discs, six songs on each (666!). That's as close to rockin' as this joint gets. I realize this is the Rock Report, not the Frock Report, but

Like Tori Amos, Bjork, Amanda Palmer, Mike Patton (and Shearwater), Joanna Newsom has a distinctive voice (somewhere between a cat and an eight-year-old) and records poetic, intricately arranged music. This article suggests that the album is obtuse to make a point, that it's a "protest against distraction." That's like saying the Super Bowl is a protest against pedantry. (pedantry: narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned attention to detail or rules - The Vet, looking this up so you don't have to.)

"The Good Intentions Paving Company" is my favorite song. It's the most upbeat and conventional and there's nothing else on the album that sounds anything like it. Some of the other songs sound like they were made up as they were being recorded and many have surprise orchestral flourishes. If you are looking for an album to play while your baby is awake that won't drive you mad with simple melodies repeated ad nauseum, this might be the album for you.

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