Emily

Remember that first time you heard Joanna Newsom’s one-of-a-kind voice? Fingernails on a chalkboard immediately came to my mind, but I found myself unable to stop listening to the shape-shifting richness encrusted in her folk-inspired singing. Of course her music is much too esoteric to classify as typical folk, and she’s not just another whacky Tori Amos clone either. Sticking with the harp as her main axe, Newsom’s new album Ys expands into more thickly orchestrated territories—strings and winds—but steers completely clear of drums and percussion. The results are lush, buoyant, and even rapturous. Newsom also explores more extended narratives, weaving stories over spans that can last nearly 17 minutes. The opening track, Emily, will have you hooked from it’s melancholic, slow-boil introduction. If this little excerpt is your first introduction, do yourself a favor and get your mitts on the entire album, then prepare to loose yourself in Newsom’s conflated web of memory and illusion.

—RN