New Joanna Newsom – “’81”

Joanna Newsom introduced the world to Have One On Me via a cryptic comic before she performed some of its songs live in Australia on her birthday. One of those tracks was/is “’81,” a delicate pastoral that has the protagonist locating a plot of land in the Garden Of Eden. The song was posted in its lovely studio form at Drag City, but the site was loading very very very slowly, so they’ve taken it down while they work out the technical issues. (It’s back.) The album’s first press photo (below) is more colorful than the album’s art (to the right). And yes, it is indeed a 3-CD (or 3-LP) set.

i found a little plot of land
in the Garden of Eden
it was dirt and dirt is all
the same
i tilled it with my two hands
and i called it
my very own
there was no one to dispute
my claim

well, you’d be shocked at the state of things:
the whole place had just cleared right out
it was hot as hell, so i lay me by the spring
for a spell, as naked as a trout

the wandering eye that i have caught
is as hot as a wandering sun
but i would want for nothing more
in my garden; start again
in the hardening to every heart but one

meet me in the Garden
of Eden
bring a friend
we are gonna have ourselves a time
we are gonna have a golden party
it’s on me
no siree, it’s my dime

we broke our hearts in the war between
St. George and the dragon,
but both in equal parts are welcome
to come along
i’m inviting everyone

farewell, two loves that i have known
even muddied as waters run
tell me, what is meant by sittin’ alone
in a garden, seceded
from the Union in the year of ’81?

the unending amends you made
are enough for one life; be done
i believe in innocence, little darlin’; start again
i believe in everyone

i believe, regardless
i believe in everyone

Have One On Me is out 2/23 via Drag City. You can pre-order it, if you’d like.


[Photo by Annabel Mehran]