Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender

Joanna Newsom was brought up in Nevada City California, surrounded by a family of idealists restricting her from the radio and certain television shows because of 'bad influence'. She is characterised by strong, rich vocals and talents in songwriting and composing. On initial listen, you may be put off by her vocals, it's down to personal opinion on her singing style, but i personally grew to like it, you may not. She began recording songs on a fisher price tape recorder, these songs were released on the 2002 EP Walnut Whales, which features lo-fi early versions of some of the songs that were later re-recorded for this album.

Even with a first listen, the start of the album begins with a delicate vocals and increasing harp playing which picks up and reaches high pitched notes as the song progresses along with her falsetto vocals which at this point are a stand out to me. The song fades out as Sprout & The Bean begins, the song is.. Just amazing. The lyrics are absolutely incredible, i cant emphasize my great like for these lyrics, they just flow so well, which is a trait for the album. This song uses the harp and her voice as an instrument, it's one of the early stronger tracks on the album. The song has structure and skill which artists within the field try so hard to replicate but fail in doing so.

Some could say Joanna Newsom is one of today's best modern composers. Her harp playing is outstanding even on the slightly weaker tracks. For what i can gather, the lyrics flow rather well, i enjoy listening to this album, which i couldn't say on my first few listens. Compared to the 2002 EP, the re recorded songs have more of a refined acoustic feel which the EP didn't have. Both produced by then boyfriend Noah Georgeson who at the time had no form of producing and recording back file.

Peach Plum Pear has stood out to me as the best track. It's a song played by Joanna on a Harpsichord which sounds remarkable. The child like vocals only excite me even more as she sings the chorus of 'Na na na na na na na na etc..' This song alone makes this album what it is. A traditional Folk album with modern day 'Indie' aspects and compositions. It's acoustic and shows great lyrical skill, something which i really enjoy. The song is far more refined and full than the version she played on the Walnut Whales EP.

This is an album which you just need to listen and form your own opinion from it. It should take a few listens before you 'understand' what she's all about, but when that moment happens you'll stop and think to yourself why you didn't listen to here sooner.