Album: Have One on Me
Label: Drag City
It’s hard to imagine a concept behind a triple album as anything other than abstract and inaccessible, but at just over two hours, Joanna Newsom accomplishes just that on Have One On Me. Framed by the trills of her harp and the eloquence of her lyrics, Have One On Me chronicles romance and heartbreak in a way that is tempestuous, whimsical and painfully honest.
Newsom’s delicate voice glides along the changing tone of the album, swelling with the rise and fall of her dense melodies. On the first disc, she trades her harp for pop melodies and the warm accompaniment of a piano, demonstrated by “Good Intentions Paving Company” where Newsom sings “I’ll get this joy off of my chest at last/And I will love you since the noise has since long passed.” But Have One on Me isn’t all joyful pop songs and tenderness: the second and third discs are a testament to the demise of a relationship. They are vulnerable and elegiac, in both language and intricacy of her harp playing.
Give these tracks a listen: “Good Intentions Paving Company,” “In California,” “Go Long”
For fans of: Joni Mitchell, Cat Power, Feist
– Amber Yan