Ys-Joanna Newsom 

(Drag City)

This may be the most divisive album of 2006. It's certainly one of the most ambitious, with the biggest potential for either embarrassment or triumphant success and a wide rift between the two. Listeners will either love or loathe Joanna Newsom's pretensions: the album title named after an ancient city (pronounced "ees"), the swooping string arrangements courtesy of Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks, Newsom's harp accompaniment and petulant-sounding voice, her Ren Fest melodies and fantastical lyrics. At times, her seriousness can be unbearable and her storytelling tedious (as on the 10-minute "Bear & Monkey"), but the album nevertheless casts a particular spell, mainly because Newsom remains so fearlessly at the forefront, like an actress who appears in every frame of a movie. Her voice, pitched high and dramatic, leaves no room for overtures or even breaths but ebbs and tides from verse to verse, implying hooks where there are none. ("Emily," "Cosmia") -- Stephen Deusner

Grade: B+

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Fly On The Wall Blog

A Post About Gluten Free Strippers and Effing Traffic

Music Blog

A Week's Tribute to Jimmie Lunceford

News Blog

MATA Proposes to End Ikea Route, Alter Others

Beyond the Arc

Beyond the Arc Podcast #84: The Dillon Brooks Era

Tiger Blue

#25 Memphis 42, Houston 38

Music Blog

Butthole Surfers and Bad Seeds Salute the Man in Black

Music Blog

Soulsville USA Festival Lights Up McLemore Ave.

We Saw You

Emo and you

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Stephen Deusner

  • The Rovers

    Roots-rocker Cory Chisel brings a traveling party to a historic stage.
    • Aug 15, 2013
  • The Hussy at the Hi-Tone Café

    • Aug 15, 2013
  • Endpapers

    From false starts, to dirty wars, to fairyland: the Flyer samples the books of summer.
    • Jul 11, 2013
  • More »

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation