I was introduced to Joanna Newsom by a friend with a late night play of 'Peach, Pear, Plum' a good few years ago because, and I quote, "I think you'll get this". It reminded me of a strange little girl squawking a nursery rhyme (not a bad thing) and intrigued me enough to buy the album it came from 'Milk Eyed Mender' and her other release at the time 'Ys'. I listened to a few tracks from the former album for a while, but didn't connect to 'Ys' at all. I am shamed to admit that, but I suppose it was a little "unconventional" for my taste at that point in my life. Too enigmatic? Too archiac? Too epic? Who can say?
I recently rediscovered 'Ys' and the experience was an almost religious one. To finally "get" and appreciate the beauty of what had once been an undecipherable mystery was truly an epiphany. An epiphany which prompted me to buy the new album.
Was I disappointed after such a profound reawakening? No.
'Have One On Me' is an utterly stunning piece. Newsom has reigned in her previously wild, unabandoned vocal and sometimes overly opulent musical landscape, to absolute perfection. There is a sense (and sound) of control and purpose here that makes the three disc/two hour journey a joy rather than past pilgrimages (pleasurable as they ultimately were) to the shrine of Newsom.
There are shades of Kate Bush, touches of Joni Mitchell, however, despite some similarities to these greats, this is really all about Joanna.
Lyrically, musically and vocally a masterpiece. Newsom is undoubtably one of the greatest artists of our age.