Have One On Joanna
February 20, 2010 3:21 PM   Subscribe


 
Do ouch hat! top! Ham tim !
posted by sourwookie at 3:32 PM on February 20, 2010


Damn, I meant:

ant ouch his! top! Ham tim !
posted by sourwookie at 3:37 PM on February 20, 2010


MC Hammer did dirty bits ? Man, that is some setting of the bar there.
posted by y2karl at 3:49 PM on February 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the very interesting read. She's a wonderful songwriter; any instinct I had, on first listen, to be annoyed by her voice or her self-assurance or her beauty was simply bowled over by her immense, humane lyrical gift.
I wasn't born of a whistle or milked from a thistle at twilight;
No, I was all horns and thorns, sprung out fully formed, knock-kneed and upright.
That's one of my favorite sequences (from "Sawdust and Diamonds") and I think it's the best expression of her wonderfully gnarly music.
posted by cirripede at 3:51 PM on February 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm actually not the biggest fan of Newsom's lyrics, but that's probably because half the people who write articles about her decide to call her a poet and compare her to Milton, and it gets irritating. In any event, her music justifies any quirks she has.

Just so we're all on the same page: Three songs from Have One On Me have been released. There's '81, which I linked to previously. That was followed by Good Intentions Paving Company, and Kingfisher. There's also a bootleg of her performing in Sydney last month.

I think Ys was the best album of the last decade, and I'm feeling incredibly apprehensive about this new one. '81 was incredible. These two newer ones I'm not certain of. Or rather, I think they're both good, but I haven't heard anything yet that comes close to the grandness of Only Skin, and I desperately want to see her try and top herself. So I'm excited, but also worried.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:58 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do ouch hat! top! Ham tim !

Wookin' pa nub in all da wong paces?
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:02 PM on February 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


God, I remember Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em. Did she erase "Pray" and "Have You Seen Her?" Those songs have to qualify as crimes against humanity.
posted by reenum at 4:06 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Have One On Me apparently leaked, for people itching to give this 2-hour monster a try. Not that any of us here feel that way brb
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:07 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't it just taping over the protect hole on the cassette and hitting record with no input? I have no further opinion on shrieky harpy.
posted by arruns at 4:07 PM on February 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was at one of those recent shows in Australia where she played a number of songs off the new record for the first time. I though they were amazing; extending a toe across the gap between intricate Ys-like mythmaking, and Edith Frost-ish brokenheart ballads. I saw many tears across the audience -- and would've seen more, probably, if my own eyes hadn't been welling up a bit themselves.

At times, though, her band's arrangements were clunky, and weighed down her songs like unwanted ballast. Although I liked Van Dyke's string arrangements on Ys, for me, Joanna is a dish best taken with just voice and harp.

(I have a wierd feeling about this new album, even though I've been hanging out for it for nearly 4 years now. I've got a hunch that I'll love 60-80% of it, but there's be a few songs that just won't do anything for me whatsoever. Would I violate the artist's intention for their work and delete or otherwise remove the songs I don't like? Could I do that if the artist was JOANNA NEWSOM, probably my favourite living songwriter?

...

It's an odd one. Hopefully the album will be wall-to-wall incredible, and it won't come up.)
posted by Rumpled at 4:12 PM on February 20, 2010


arruns: "Wasn't it just taping over the protect hole on the cassette and hitting record with no input?"

That's all it takes. I wasn't aware that it already been declared an arcane ritual.
posted by jjb at 4:27 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


NWA's Straight Outta Compton: Explicit Content Only (NSFW)
posted by Evilspork at 5:10 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


She seems wicked talented, musically, but oh god, her singing voice makes me want to peel my skin off with a lemon zester in some ill-conceived method of self-defense.
posted by elizardbits at 5:17 PM on February 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's a fair-enough and quite common reaction, elizardbits -- it was actually mine, too, when I first heard her -- but it is so worth getting over that superficial hurdle. Her songs are some of the best I've ever heard, and any voice can be gotten used to.
posted by Rumpled at 5:22 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


FUCK YOU reenum FOR GETTING "HAVE YOU SEEN HER" IN MY HEAD
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:22 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of Newsom's earlier songs, for those who (like myself) don't own her self-distributed records Walnut Whales and Yarn and Glue:
- Erin
- The Fray
- Flying a Kite
- What We Have Known
posted by cirripede at 6:27 PM on February 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


As to her singing voice, which honestly I always loved even back to the weirdly shrill "Walnut Whales" days, if you read the interview, apparently that voice is gone. She developed some sort of nodes on her vocal cords last yeah, and her voice is not what it used to be, which could be good or bad depending on your point of view.

Where the interviewer states that "she must give “full disclosure” and admit that further vocal modifications have been deliberate," I am fearing this means autotuning or some such horror. Oh well, either way I pre-ordered the album, and the three songs that have been released already are lovely.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 6:29 PM on February 20, 2010


or, you know, "last year" even.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 6:32 PM on February 20, 2010


I like the new album so far but I don't LOVE it. I prefer her "older" voice.

I'll hesitantly recommend the lovely Marissa Nadler to fans of Newsom, as well. Here's Thinking of You from her best album: Song 3: Bird on the Water.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:35 PM on February 20, 2010


Is it wrong that my first thought was "Please god don't let this link to a Pitchfork interview"?
posted by nevercalm at 7:24 PM on February 20, 2010


I really liked the article, but I'm sorry, her songs sound like a drunken Bjork being beaten with a sack full of cats.
posted by sanka at 8:44 PM on February 20, 2010


My father, on a professional musician level, did this with my first Too Short tape.
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 10:38 PM on February 20, 2010


I really liked the article, but I'm sorry, her songs sound like a drunken Bjork being beaten with a sack full of cats

How is this a bad thing?
posted by mek at 12:40 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


He needs me he needs me he needs me hee neeeds meeee.
He's large.
posted by sourwookie at 2:02 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are cassette tape recorders so far in the past that someone as obviously smart as this woman really can't figure out how hitting the 'record' button at the right time would erase the dirty words?

God I feel old.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:45 AM on February 21, 2010


Tape definitely worked, and so did crumpled up paper stuck into the protect hole. I also feel old.
posted by snottydick at 8:08 AM on February 21, 2010


C'mon, guys, don't you remember how hard it was to time hitting the record button just right? Especially when the record head and play head were separate, so to get it perfect you had to pull the tape out and use the eraser end of a pencil to wind the cassette back that quarter inch or so to get the timing just right? And there was definitely an art to avoiding recording that mechanical "I just hit the record button" klunk.

I both feel and am old.
posted by ook at 9:40 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow; I missed the January post saying the new album was coming out. Gotta say that new Joanna Newsom is the best news of this week.

I picked up the Milk-Eyed Mender after hearing 'Bridges and Balloons' on a folk compilation compiled by Devendra Banhart; it was easily my favorite album of that year (perhaps 2003 or 2004). When Ys came out, it really took me a while to engage with it. It probably sat on the hard drive mostly unlistened for about a year before I finally put in the time for a close listening. Perhaps needless to say, I was absolutely floored by it. It went from over-complicated and barely-listenable to one of my favorite albums ever in the course of about an hour. And it's only grown on me since; certain passages from that album I get a bit choked up just thinking of.

I really can't wait to sit down with this album and give it that same kind of listening. We're living in a time laid heavy with fantastic song writers, like Stephin Merritt and John Darnielle, and Newsom is the best of the bunch, pairing top-notch lyrics with compositions that make those lyrics soar even further... By contrast, with the Magnetic Fields it's pretty clear that the music is a kind of formal exercise, a bare scaffolding supporting the words. Which is more-or-less the result of existing in the rock paradigm sixty years after Elvis: the genres have been so thoroughly explored and mapped out that formal exercise is pretty much all that's left to do. Sure, there's an endless run of bands looking to bring back the visceral power of rock, but it's never anything that hasn't been done before and often better, be it Vampire Weekend following on Paul Simon, or the Crystal Stilts following on Joy Division.

Newsom goes further by existing outside of the rock and folk formalisms, though she certainly references them. ('Good Intentions Paving Company' is in a gospel style, interestingly...) It's like everyone else is obsessed with playing checkers and she's found an old beat-up chess board and spent the last twenty years studying some notes by Tarski.

Having listened to (ahem) a few tracks from the new album now, her voice is still very recognizable as her own - there's just none of the huge sweeps in pitch or the high-end cracks that were so memorable on the previous two albums. This limits her emotive power, but it's nothing to be ashamed of, since her voice gave out after having the hell beaten out of it by the very singing style that we all love or hate her for. Being deprived of a voice with a power that most musicians can only dream of, she's still left with a perfectly good sound, transformative songwriting abilities, and the best lyrical ability on this side of the Blue.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:05 AM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Good Intentions Paving Company" is the best song I've heard in a cow's age. Haven't played the last hour of Have One On Me yet, as I can't get this track off of repeat.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:16 AM on February 21, 2010


I gave that first disc three listens before going on to the rest. There's so much here. It'll take weeks to really digest this.

I like Good Intentions and Kingfisher much more in the context of the rest of the album. Listening to them on their own I was worried the album was going to be more stripped-down and noninteresting. I could not have been more wrong. Kudos to Ryan Francesconi for his arrangements. I'm thinking I prefer these to Ys very very much, which I was not expecting.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:44 AM on February 21, 2010


like a drunken Bjork being beaten with a sack full of cats

seriously, if someone described something I hadn't heard to me like that, I would be all over that shit. also, TRIPLE ALBUM! ballsy, I love it.
posted by saul wright at 11:52 AM on February 21, 2010


FWIW, you could tape over commercially-produced cassettes by putting a piece of scotch tape over the "write protect" pit on the top of the tape. kind of like a 3.5" floppy disk... this is probably how Mom censored the tape :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cassette_Write_Protect_IV.jpg
posted by teletype1 at 9:17 PM on February 21, 2010


But deep down inside, her mom wanted to own Hammer pants, do the dance, and be with MC. You know it.
posted by stormpooper at 7:13 AM on February 22, 2010


"I really liked the article, but I'm sorry, her songs sound like a drunken Bjork being beaten with a sack full of cats.

How is this a bad thing?"

Put that song on a video of Bjork being beaten with a sackful of cats and you've got gold for sure.
posted by e1c at 11:02 AM on February 22, 2010


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