Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

Have One On Me

This is the album I’ve known she’s been capable of. It’s a sprawling three disc, two hour epic. On Have One On Me Joanna Newsom strikes me as being the heir of Joni Mitchell’s folk and classical pop crown. All you have to do is listen to the first song, “Easy”, and you’ll hear what I mean. On “Good Intentions Paving Co.”, Newsom flirts with the kind of jazzy arrangement that Mitchell was known for too. Instead of complete reliance on harp, Joanna Newsom plays piano on some songs, like on “Soft As Chalk” or “Does Not Suffice”. Her harp is still her primary instrument, as you can hear on “’81”, which I posted below. Her harp playing is particularly gorgeous at the end of “Go Long”. Joanna Newsom’s voice on this album is the biggest, and most welcome, change. On The Milk-Eyed Monster, her voice could be irritating depending on your mood. It felt like she was singing in a quirky way for quirk’s sake. I liked Ys more, because I could appreciate the artistry of the baroque pop on it. But on Have One On Me she turns the quirk way down, and her voice is all the more beautiful for it. As on Ys, Have One On Me has strings, horns and woodwinds. A regular drumset occasionally accompanies the music. The arrangements are less ornate than they were on Ys, which strove to be baroque. Occasionally, as on “Esme”, it’s just Newsom and her piano. As you can see, there’s enough variety in the arrangements so that the album is never boring. Seriously, what I can say to you is that if you like chamber pop and folk, I haven’t heard much better than this album. If you’ve been turned off by Newsom’s singing before, I don’t think you will be on Have One On Me.

’81 (Disc 1)

In California (Disc 2)

Soft As Chalk (Disc 3)

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