by carl wilson

Green-Eyed ...

newsomnear2.jpg
Joanna Newsom, photo by Paul Jones via Milkymoon.

Not, as sniggering detractors might claim, over the sit-down (though I'd have enjoyed that, too), but due to the space, depth and accomplishment: Erik Davis writes the only article about Joanna Newsom's Ys you ever need to read, in the new issue of Arthur. It's lengthy (12,000 words) but justifies it with thoroughness and helpful demystification for those out there who still find the album difficult to get into. One for the next Da Capo anthology, even if I differ with him on some of the record's strengths (my favourite song, Only Skin, is his least-preferred), and wish Davis offered a bit more contrast to some of Newsom's northern-California-hippy-kid locutions, rather than reinforcing them. Not that she's so bad on that score (she's madly articulate at the same time), and as writers leaning to organics, psychedelics and paganism go, Davis has always been among the sharpest.

(Thanks to Sara at Fig Records for pointing it out.)

| Posted by zoilus on Friday, January 05 at 12:51 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

COMMENTS

Just stopping by to say I agree completely about "Only Skin." Perhaps its length and generally loose structure is what critics are taking issue with. It does sometimes feel like two or three songs, but I love its progression, so I don't mind. The moment when the strings come in after she sings "scrap of sassafras, eh Sysiphus" is killer.

Posted by Ted on January 18, 2007 3:30 PM

 

 

Hi Fig and Carl. I am so pleased to find that I am not the only one who thinks "Only Skin" is a great song. I think it is also my favorite. For various reasons I don't fully understand, several of the critical reviews I have read singled out "Only Skin" as somehow the clear weak point on the album. Before listening to the album I had quickly skimmed just one review and it had an ominous note about the album being great with the one misstep - as I had skimmed, I didn't know the misstep was supposed to be "Only Skin." So when I first listened to the album I kept waiting for one horrible song or some obvious break in the flow. It never came - in my opinion the album is simply mesmerizing from start to finish. A few spots stronger/weaker than others, but overall one of the finest recordings I have purchased in a long time. I also had the pleasure of seeing her play the album live about 3 weeks ago in Norman, OK. All I can say is WOW! She was simply amazing - the guy from the local record store shared the same assessment as me - "One of the best concerts I have ever seen!"

Posted by Ben on January 7, 2007 10:40 PM

 

 

several writers seem to have problems with "only skin", and i don't understand why. it's also my favourite, though lately "sawdust and diamonds" has gotten repeat spins at my house.

Posted by fig on January 5, 2007 12:17 PM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson