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I would marry Jonu in a harpbeat

By the way: Joanna Newsom’s latest offering Ys is indisputably my favorite album of the year. It’s not as accessible as the catchy, wispy plunkings of her first full-length outing, the charmingly named Milked Eyed Mender, but if you give it some effort of active listening you will lose yourself in its meandering, epic poetry. Get over the fact that her voice, described by critics as both childlike and weathered, is described by less learned listeners as squeaky and strange. Get over the songs being 12 minutes long on average. And please, get over the fact that she plays a harp and uses words like “sorrel” and “thee” all over the place. Give this album a chance and it will open to you as the furrow to the plow.

In five beautiful, sweeping songs arranged to orchestra by Van Dyke Parks, Jonu croons her little heart out, lending her expressive voice to her brilliant lyricism. Other songwriters happen to rhyme while playing their catchy hooks and progressions; Jonu writes epic (in the literary sense) poetry that just happens to be set to soul-rendingly beautiful music. Sitting down with the novel-thick lyrics booklet and listening to Ys is an experience you’ll have a hard-time duplicating.

Jonu is 24! That is to say, she is my age. I am stunned and humbled that this creative writing major with classical harp training has produced such a masterwork at an age when no one I know is more than a fledgling in their career. This willowy harpist owns my heart completely.

Posted in Musings.


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