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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2010
I would recommend that you read the accompanying booklet containing the text of the lyrics as you listen. You'll have a better understanding of the songs as well as appreciating Joanna's skillful phrasing. Having written all her own material with little or no repetition in the lyrics; all that I can say is "Wow".

In an age where a lot of singers seem to thrive on songs that are boringly repetitious (e.g. Sarah Blasko's song "Is my Baby Yours?" on her album "As Day Follows Night"), Joanna Newsom is a breath of fresh air, a very talented song writer, a remarkable singer and skillful musician.

Joanna's music is unique. If you can look beyond the child like voice you will find much to enjoy in this collection of songs.

Five stars are not enough for this album.
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on 4 March 2010
This is a truly, truly great album: a masterpiece. Combining elements of the sparklingly fresh and original debut ( The Milk-Eyed Mender) with the more lavish, ornate follow-up (Ys), this is nevertheless another leap forwards for Joanna Newsom.

Her singing has become more assured and powerful. The harp playing is as beautiful as ever, but the songs often blossom unexpectedly with other instrumentation. Some of the album's most affecting moments are piano-based. The song structures are also very impressive - sometimes complex but never 'obscure' for the sake of it - and overflowing with intricate melodies.

It IS reminiscent of Kate Bush in places (no bad thing), but still unmistakably Joanna Newsom.

Over three discs it takes time to appreciate what a subtle and far-reaching song cycle this is, but the album really rewards repeat plays. It's a sumptuous feast that will keep this listener enthralled for years to come.

Who else is putting out material of this quality in 2010?
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on 2 March 2017
Something amazing, being both exquisite AND epic, which is a masterful feat.

I would like to hear more of her words. Those of a song like You and Me, Bess are mostly unable to be heard clearly despite the fact she sings slowly and with little accompaniment. A superb album though, surpassing all to come since: alternative folk or alternative rock singer songwriters - such as the very good ones like Sharon van Etten and Courtney Barnet - due to the breadth of ambition achieved superbly here and on the magnificent Ys.
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on 24 February 2010
I could quite legitimately be described as a Newsom fanboy. I have loved everything she has done from the helium voiced early Ep's to the intricate fables of Ys. I have seen her live 10 times, and would quite like to marry her. So I am biased, I admit it. At the same time, I think I have a sufficiently independent mind to judge each album on its own merits, and am able to hold my swoon long enough to engage my brain (this is not true at her concerts - she could sing me Uzbeki nursery rhymes backwards and I would be spellbound).

My initial reaction to 'Have One On Me' ( as with most of her output) was slightly puzzled and cautiously hopeful. I know from experience that the structure, punctuation and resonances of her work take time to settle and form, so I have let the music slosh through me and wash over me, holding back any critical judgement. And all of a sudden, as I hoped it would, the shape took form. While I have been familiar with some of these songs for a while now, it was a new new one, Go Long that seeded the crystal. The novelty of this album is a typically much longer melodic line, accompanied by a softer voice (brought about by a throat infection last year). The spacier, ringing arrangement of Go Long illustrates this change - gone are sharp points and counterpoints of The Book of Right On et al, or even the rush and tumble of Emily - instead she holds her voice, fluctuating or slowly descending around a slow, deliberate harp.

These songs are given much more musical space than the more wordy Ys, and this, combined with more varied arrangements and drawn out phrases, creates an initial impression of a hazy, unfocussed album. Once you catch the idea though, and let the slow ebb and flow of her newly sanded down voice carry you, you get it. Be it singing of abortion on Baby Birch, or of her own conception on '81, this new 'romantic' sound chimes with a much more straightforwardly emotional approach to her subjects - love, in form and in content, fills these songs. There are a couple which have not made their mark with me yet, but the album as a whole, listened to seriously and in silence, is a great and humbling listen, and I did almost cry many times - the 'kindness prevails' close to Esme had me shivering uncontrollably, and the closing Does Not Suffice is desperately sad and dare I say it, moving.

I have not had the time or wit to trace the links between these songs, but it is clear that some phrases, both musical and lyrical, reappear in different guises throughout the album - their is half jaunty, half sad blues line that haunts both Baby Birch and Does Not Suffice. I am certain that, as with her previous works, listening and relistening will repay and repay. I am looking forward to the work.
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on 1 June 2010
I have been listening to Joanna Newsom for several years now, and was so taken with The Milk Eyed Mender that I was dubious about YS. YS turned out to be beautiful, and complementary to The Milk Eyed Mender, but yet again when I found out Newsom was releasing a further album I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the harmonious arrangements, fables and stories, and hypnotic melodies of her previous works.

I needn't have worried. It took me a week to finally pluck up the courage to playing this after buying it, and I was not disappointed. It grows and grows on you the more you listen to it, and you can hear Newsom's development (new instruments and bluesy sounds) but there are echos back to the other albums.

I can't describe each song - just if you buy one album this year - buy this one. You won't regret it.
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on 27 January 2011
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.

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on 21 July 2011
Joanna Newsom is quite remarkable. Who would have guessed that the admittedly naive takings on The Milk-Eyed Mender would follow up with the extravagant classic YS? Since YS's release I have been in anticipation for her next record. It's been a very long wait, but I'm pleased to say Joanna Newsom does not disappoint. Have One On Me shows even greater signs of her potential!

Have one on Me is an ambitious project spanning three disks. At over 2 hours long this album demands your attention to be fully appreciated, but give this album the time it deserves as there is undoubtably some of Newsom's best work here. Suffering from health problems during recording, her voice was damaged severely. I personally think this predicament was a blessing; her voice is now soft and sweet and a real joy to hear - there is greater clarity with her poetry thanks to the floating arrangements.

There are a few songs here which I admit easily become overlooked due to the sheer scope of this album. Suprisingly her one catchy song "Good Intentions Paving Co." grates on me, and the tone seems entirely out of place. The best work in my humble opinion, is seen on the very last disk; "Autumn" and "Kingfisher" are extraordinarly beautiful. Other important standpoints for me were "In California", "Go Long" and "Have one on Me". Throughout all the meanderings this album is actually a sad one; speaking of obsessive longing and heartbreaking relationships. It's romantic but tragically so, and slightly reminiscent of the self-confessional blues of Joni Mitchell.

It's painful to say, but this album would greatly benefit from some trimmings, as the album sorrowfully suffers from long monotonous meandering. The album is overwhemingly too large for conventional listening and it will unfortunately not draw in any new fans to her music. Have one on Me won't be remembered as the classic masterpiece like YS, but frustratingly the potential was there to easily surpass YS's beautiful potency. Critically I give this album 4 stars because an album must be reviewed as a single piece of art - while this album has many gems the album is not cohesively stong across all 18 tracks. Much like Kate Bush's 2005 Aerial (A Sea of Honey) - too much content can be a mixed blessing.
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on 20 January 2011
It seems hard to conceive that Joanna Newsom could top the excellent `Ys' but i think she has with `Have one on me'.

This is a more approachable album than `Ys', which felt more like a statement of medieval intent. Most songs are shorter, pared down, lyrically sharper and welcoming. As ever, each song goes through multiple variations and changes in pace, tone or style, in tune with Newsom's imaginative lyrical style. This works beautifully in the opening track `Easy', lacing her maturing vocals to some lush orchestration. '81' is a gloriously poetic song set against a lilting harp. There is probably not a weak song on this album.

You soon forget the length of the album and slowly immerse yourself in its richness and charm. Newsom's songs still unfold into strange places, but her visual style is not as abstracted as in past recordings. This may be in part to most of the songs being about love, a surefire way to connect any audience. At times her wordplay even seem quite `normal', you couldn't imagine Newsom ever singing `"On a good day you can feel my love for you"' but she does and its still just as powerful. Newsom's harp is as lovely as ever, as is her piano playing. The music is more discreet, less complex but with a wider vocabulary.

As much as she may be mocked for her idiosynchratic style, songs such as `Jackrabbits' will convert any non-believers. At 2 hours long, you may need to digest it in 2 or 3 parts but try it in its entirety and you will be rewarded, a captivating album.
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on 31 October 2015
This review is for Amazon's MP3 download of the album. The audio quality is really bad, embarrassingly bad for 2015. Some tracks have a bit rate of 190kps, which brings me back (not in a good way) to those Napster days of the early 2000's.

It's a double shame, because this album is so rich, and the acoustic instrumentation is so gorgeous, that hearing it through this papery sound makes me feel like I sinned by not buying the CD proper.

Amazing album--but buy the CD or the vinyl, ideally from your local record store. It is the last MP3 download I'll buy from Amazon until they commit to decent quality (320kps) audio. I recommend you consider the same.
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on 23 February 2010
I'll start off by saying that this is the album that has managed to convert me to Joanna Newsom fandom. Her voice is much more appealing and nuanced than before, and the Joni Mitchell sounding 'In California' and the quaint (almost) love story 'Good Intentions Paving Company' only serve to show how relatable her lyrics have become. The allusive imagery and symbolism are still present, except now they're accompanied by direct sentiments such as the following: 'I only want for you to pull over and hold me 'til I can't remember my own name'.

The orchestration is stark compared to her last album but that just makes it more subtle and human, and less (dare I say it) pretentiously grandiose. Opening track 'Easy' is one of my favourites, with gorgeous strings and delicate melodic vocals that are so easeful and beautiful, that when the song kicks into gear with soft woodwind instruments and horns it really transcends any criticisms she may have faced in the past for her love it or hate it voice.

Despite 3CD's worth of music, this is not in any way the meandering prog-folk opus you might expect. The high quality of the songs, and the considerate pacing over three discs means you can dip in and out at will or listen to each of the 40-minute or so discs separately. Songs like the nine-minute 'Kingfisher' feel half as long as they should because of how affable and warm the music is and the mutating compositions are natural but never boring. The following lyrics from 'Kingfisher' indicate the strength of her songwriting:

'Stand here and name
the one you loved,
beneath the drifting ashes,
and, in naming, rise above time,
as it, flashing, passes'

The allure to go back for repeated listens is undeniably strong, and it feels very much like a gift from Newsom that she's delivered a hefty amount of musical satisfaction in such a considerate package. The graceful majesty of tracks 'No Provenance' and 'Baby Birch' and Newsom's frankly stunning emotive voice in these songs are final evidence to me of this album's greatness, and I'll leave you with these melancholy words:

'The tap of hangers swaying in the closet-
unburdened hooks and empty drawers-
and everywhere I tried to love you
is yours again, and only yours'.
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