Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me

So far people have been focusing more on Joanna Newsom’s press photos and album art than her sounds. Two songs into the three-disc Have One On Me we’ve gone from “’81“’s plaintive, pastoral (and quite beautiful) Garden Of Eden to the upbeat, piano-pulsed, country-jazzed (and sorta Peanuts) “Good Intentions Paving Company,” which should hopefully shift the discussion. You can listen to “Good Intentions…” at As far as conversational starters: After you listen, maybe ponder your stance on Mike’s remark that “this re-branding of Joanna Newsom as some fashion model-meets-Starbucks songstress is too much for me to take.”

Have One On Me is out 2/23.

Comments (61)
  1. ok  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    at first I was confused. but it’s pretty incredible by the time you’re all the way through.

  2. I definitely wasn’t expecting this, but I’m glad there’s going to be a lot of variation on this album. Let’s face it, three disks of ’81 type songs would be beautiful, but too much. Very excited to hear the rest!

  3. That was great, not what I was expecting either. How about that vibrato on her voice? It almost sounds like it was done in post-production, due to the perfection, but lacks signs of tampering.

  4. Stephen's Shirt....  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    Holy crap…

  5. I almost couldn’t believe that was her voice at first. It’s gotten so much smoother and less screachy since “The Milk-Eyed Mender” (for better and for worse, IMHO).

  6. Bowie  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    sounds like a leslie cabinet effect on the vocals to me..

    • It doesn’t quite sound like a leslie though, listen to Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and Shondells for a nice reference point for that. Also, she was tripling(maybe more) up the vocals on that part, to get a Leslie to perfectly match up would have been quite the task. I thought she could have done it in pro-tools post production, but then I remember Joanna’s love for the analog process, so much to the point where she even mixed to tape for Ys. Who does that anymore?

  7. chrischke  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    are you kidding me with this??? the drag city website is already down again??? why bother posting a song that generates this much interest, if it instantly crashes your server!?!?

  8. VLAD  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    I’m getting a serious Joni Mitchell vibe from this. Can’t wait to hear what the other 2 hours of this album sound like.

  9. I’m reminded of Tom Waits when I listen to Joanna Newsom. The whole “love the voice, love the music, hate the voice, hate the music” stance people seem to have. What also reminds me of Tom Waits is Newsom’s new change of direction. Being 28 I would be shocked if her music wasn’t different, as she would have grown and changed a lot in the time between Ys and Have One on Me. I’m enjoying travelling through the genre’s she’s making up herself. Another comparison between the mighty Newsom and the mighty Waits is that Orphans, Waits’ last release before the live “Glitter and Doom” album, was also a triple, and it was fucking awesome!

  10. Bill  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    …zzz…zzz…zzz… that track bored me to tears. I loved her first two albums, but I’m starting to feel that this one is going to be a stinker. ’81 was a good track, but this one is just bland; sounds like an outtake/unfinished thought. And this is a track that they’re putting out for download to promote the album? Eeek.

  11. nick  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    i’m sorry y’all but newsom gots back!

  12. Justin  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    This track is really awesome, totally unexpected direction but I love it!

  13. mac and me  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    best jn since milk eyed mender

  14. was never really a big fan of joanna newsom.. but im digging this song.

  15. eligeorgia  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    I want me some Premature Evaluation on this one!

  16. I’m quite satisfied with both tracks. Mature, varied. Keep it comin’.

  17. AHAB  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    Is this a grl who broke my heart?

  18. Okay, Imma have to go ahead and go there. This song is epic boring. I thought J-Nu would be above falling into the (apparently inevitable) pattern of quiet folk artists going the yawnsville live band route (complete with super bland drum kit).

    “Well, I guess I can’t put out another intimate folk album (which is what I’m good at) because I’m suppose to evolve or something. May as well hire a boring studio band and start sucking.”

    Her Fleetwood Mac obsession has manifested itself in really stupid ways in this song. I can appreciate the fact that she’s wanting to go for a more glamourous sound, but this is boring. She’s bad at this whole tame classic rock sound. I’m hoping this is not at all indicative of the rest of the album. Otherwise Drag City is finna give me $25 back.

    • She was never a folk artist. Casual music fans have perpetuated the stereotype that anybody playing a acoustic instrument by themselves is “folk” music.

      • Alan, if you’ve got a better genre label for Joanna, let’s hear it. Is she indie rock? Pop? Is she jazz? In a world of incessant genre tagging and categorizing, Joanna is folk as far as I’m concerned (and I’m definitely not a casual music fan… oh if you only knew). She uses almost all acoustic instrumentation; she admittedly emulates Appalachian folk singers; she writes intimate, trinkety songs that are not quite “poppy.” Just because she has a 21st century indie flair doesn’t exempt her from the folk tag. She’s as much a folk artist as Vashti Bunyan or Nick Drake or Olaf Arnalds or Shirley Collins or any other number of artists who have made essentially the same kind of music she makes.

        Honestly, we could spend a billion years asking each other the definition of “folk” and “folk music.” It’s a pretty broad and subjective topic, so I’m game for just leaving it at that.

      • The Teenage Head  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

        I would say that Joanna Newsom is the closest thing there is today to genuine, Appalachian, Harry Smith-like folk music.

  19. AHAB  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    Joanna Newsom is just some sweet little ‘singer-songwriter’ who is probably from the 1970s.

  20. AHAB  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    Joanna Newsom is just some sweet little ‘singer-songwriter’ who is probably from the 1970s.

  21. Justin  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    I don’t even know why people bother talking about the type of music she makes, or why certain parts of the music make it cliche or boring. If musical taste is objective, and this song really is awful, it certainly isn’t because it is the product of imitation, or falls into a particular genre of music. That’s just silly. When it comes down to it, I just like listening to this song.

    It also reminds me of Joni Mitchell. ???

    • Justin, true enough. The only reason I was arguing about genre stuff is because whatshisface started it. A tangent discussion about genres was more important to him than the topic itself, so I obliged. A girl’s gotta stand her ground. You’re correct in that genre has nothing to do with the quality of Joanna’s (or anyone’s) music. However, if she’s emulating another artist’s sound (Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, whomever), and doing a boring, unadventurous job of it, then that would be a valid indication of quality or lack thereof.

      Anyway, I suppose I shouldn’t go so hard on Joanna. I’m sure she dreaded making music like this for this very reason: purists like me who expect her to continue the vibe of her previous works again and again. Ys is SUCH a work of art. Following something like that up has got to be daunting, especially if you’re wanting to do something much lighter. I’m quite sure I’ll adore songs on Have One on Me the way I do her previous works. If there are a few stinkers spread out among the three discs, I can forgive that.

  22. backstreetboys4ever02  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    it sounds like someone (probably Barack Obama) took a dump in joana newesom’s mouth and now she’s gargling socialist poop.

  23. scrobytilt  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    All I here in this song is Duffy and it makes me sad

  24. eisen  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    yeah actually you brought it up. you started in with that bit about “quiet folk artists going the yawnsville live band route”. You weren’t critiquing the song, you were just throwing out some “hip buzz words” about genres, etc. At least stick to your guns and be a “non casual music fan” try to sound like a less insecure/pretentious dumbass about it.

    • Dear Eisen,

      No, I didn’t bring it up. The other commenter attacked my comment not because of my critique of the song, but because I referred to Joanna Newsom as a folk artist. In no direct way did that attack address my actual argument. It just sidestepped it and created a tangent discussion, which I acknowledged. All that’s fine. We can talk about whatever the hell we want. No beef with anyone for challenging loud my comments. Obviously I was trying to invite some discussion with that initial comment.

      I never dismissed this song because it goes the live band route, I dismissed it because it goes the live band route AND DOES SO POORLY (at least poorly in comparison to her catalogue at large). The argument is about quality. If this song was an A++++ live band song, I would’ve never spoken up. But that’s not what it sounds like to me. Just understand that I’m not (and wasn’t) praising all quiet folk and condemning all live bands. I just don’t like stuff that’s bland and unadventurous, regardless of genre/direction. A lot of times when artists change directions, the work is measurably worse than their older work because they’re in new territories, and they’re not as comfortable and genuinely less competent in those new territories. I’ve found that to be the case with many folk artists who go the live band route after their first few albums. Sometimes they’re just not in their element in this new territory, and their work suffers for it. And this dilemma isn’t exclusive to solo-turned-live-band folk artists either, and I’m sorry if you interpreted my initial comment as such.

      In other words, keywords: “yawnsville,” “super bland,” “boring,” “sucking,” “tame.” These words measure quality, and they’re not exclusive to direction.

      As for calling me a “dumbass,” why thank you! You are truly too sweet to me, deary.

  25. majorballs  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 0

    this arrangement smells like jim o’rourke… didn’t she say that she was recording part of this in japan?????

  26. edward  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    No wonder the album is called ‘have one on me’…!
    of course all the comments are valid, but theres something really nice into new directions musically. im not sure if the van parks orchestration across Ys was something recurring among her work, and for that it can be pleasurable to face the fact that the new songs will merge into the unknown again. its the most natural thing, why repeat? basically it just a way of listen to new tracks: further albums is like getting old, and thats expanding, not a bad thing.

    and also, i honestly think the folk, without the tag, is fair, its not just one segment in america, its a word that holds into all the human natural culture meaning and history around people.

    the track is good! first impression does not count :)

  27. Hugh Manatee  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    Wow, ursell anning….get off the interwebs and get a life. As with most of Newsom’s material, it takes more than a few lessons to sink its talons into your heartstrings, don’t be so quick to dismiss Ms. Newsom. I reserve judgement until I have a lyric sheet in front of me, but this is an awfully pretty track on first listen. It lacks the epic instrumentation and manic mood changes that made Ys so arousing, but that doesn’t mean its a bad track by any means.

    Anyone else LOVING the horn section on some of these new tracks???? Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album(s)…I’ve already told my boss I won’t be coming to work on the 23rd.

  28. Bryan  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    Apparently Ryan Francesconi (the guy who plays tambura) wrote the orchestration for these songs. He did the re-orchestrated versions of Ys they played on tour and the orchestration on the Ys Street Band. I think the song’s fantastic, and this album is shaping up to be amazing.

    • edward  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

      very well pointed, that song “collen” on the ys street band was curving to this direction already, and all the band live, checking the new concert, make sense.

      meanwhile, just have to wait `till the rest of the album arive. taking to knowledge that most music sounds for some reason, and maybe that awnful sound that some have listened may be intended to be this way as the concept of the individual song/album/act, whatever.

      wheres the humor, people?!!?!

      hey, ursell, nice blogspot!

  29. OhBoyOhBoyOhBoy  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    Good god people — you’ve heard 6 minutes of a 150 or so minute album, which incidentally, sounds quite different from the other 4 minute sliver you’ve heard, and you’re jumping to all these conclusions. Also, it’s not that far off in spirit and style from tracks like Inflammatory Writ — just clearly significantly more produced.

    On to a slightly broader rant, for the hell of it… Clearly reading through the posts, she has her fair share of fans here … but it just always feels like she’s such a target for so many other indie-scenester-hipster folk, especially the type that want to try to create the illusion of superiority by making bitchy little `meta’-flavored commentary about the absurd pretention and self importance of indie acts like Joanna Newsom. ( By all means, go ahead and make your snarky `aren’t I clever’ response, if you would like )

    Anyhow, I just don’t quite get why people like trashing her so much. Last time I checked, it’s not like she’s overexposed and crammed down your throat. Yes she has a screwy voice and she has plenty of dorky renaissance fair eccentricity. But she’s a actually a pretty fantastic lyricist — and personally, I don’t feel like there are that many modern artists that consistently impress me. More often than not, it feels like most music I like is mainly due to the music itself — the lyrics rarely stand out. Joanna’s do. Furthermore, she’s an incredible harpist … which is a fucker of an instrument to play. Double kudos for not constantly making it sound like angel music or a bach chorale.

    Yeap so I went ahead and wasted time complaining about people complaining about Joanna Newsom. But still… you don’t like it? Then don’t read the articles with her name in it? I don’t piss on your Animal Collective parade.

    • I’m not exactly sure what that second paragraph is getting at. (That sentence is like four miles long.) And I can’t tell if you’re calling me out personally, but Joanna is my favourite artist. “Then don’t read the articles with her name in it? I don’t piss on your Animal Collective parade.” I’m commenting on this post because this song is my territory. I’m not trolling on material that I have no interest in. You’re very right in that Joanna’s lyrics are masterful. They stand out like SO few artists these days.

      • OhBoyOhBoyOhBoy  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2010 0

        No no no — sorry I wasn’t talking about you … I just impulsively started blathering on about reading a lot of joanna newsom trashing lately at 5AM.

  30. Woogin  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    Ys was great and all but another album like Ys would have been boring and repetitive. I think its great Joanna is branching off into different musical styles, experimenting.

  31. Emily  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    I’m really happy that Joanna seems to have reined in some of her more grating mannerisms, at least on these first two new tracks. I’ve always appreciated her talent and sophistication, but her voice used to always get in the way of my genuinely enjoying her music, because it felt like a mask. Also, the overwrought wordiness of some of her lyrics often kept me at emotional arm’s length. It seems like some of the frills have been stripped away now, and I’m really looking forward to hearing the rest of the album! I think it’s going to be great.

  32. jn  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    i ‘m lovin’ the piano parlor vibe of this. I’m also glad that that this LP won’t be leaked prior to the release date, since it hasn’t been sent to journos for review.

  33. Matt  |   Posted on Feb 3rd, 2010 0

    if anyone is having trouble with the stream, there’s a youtube link here –

  34. the song is good!

  35. Since discovering this song yesterday around noon-time, I’ve listened to it 26 times (this is from a kid whose most played song on iTunes is “Sawdust & Diamonds” at 78). Kick and Strech, you twatted that “Ys” was awful. I might step on your crotch wearing stilettos. Watch out. Seriously, “Ys” is my third favorite album of all-time (behind Patti Smith’s “Horses” and Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”). And something tells me that “Have One on Me” is going to break into the top ten on first listen. Speaking of Joni, there’s something very “Court and Spark”-esque about this song. “Step-ball-change and a pirouette” gives me TINGLE-FEELINGS!!!!! every time. If this song was a man, I’d marry it. After I moved across the river to Iowa.

  36. I’ve never been a huge fan of Joanna of but, wow, I completely love this song! It’s really beautiful and I’m hoping the new album has more songs along this line.

  37. Joanna… We now forgive you for the photos you did for that trendy fashion magazine a while back… Keep making amazing music.

  38. Beak  |   Posted on Feb 8th, 2010 0

    If only people knew that you have a MUSIC BLOG, no one would dare mistake you for a casual music fan again. And so generous of you to give away other people’s work for free.

  39. //Also, the overwrought wordiness of some of her lyrics often kept me at emotional arm’s length.//

    I think there’s a lot to be said along these lines. While Ys was more sonically and structurally adventurous than MEM, it never felt as emotionally rich or “deep in the guts” to me. While I love Ys, I have never been brought to tears by it, like I have by “Sadie” and “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie.”

    I sometimes think there’s a practical tension between innovation and emotional depth–while the two are not mutually exclusive, an artist can often sacrifice the latter in pursuing the former. In my opinion, musical innovation is rarely valuable in and of itself; rather, it should be a means to an end of furthering the emotional life of the song.

    The thing that excites me about these two songs is that they feel grounded, and they feel like they’re coming from an honest, deep place with minimal pretension. As long as the music isn’t overly simplistic or sentimental (which in this case it isn’t), I’ll take that over innovation any day.

    • duncan  |   Posted on Feb 9th, 2010 0

      What a grounded comment, I feel like you’re coming from an honest, deep place with minimal pretension

    • Why do people keep saying this? How can you not be touched by Ys? I have never cried to an album as much as I did to Ys. Lyrics like: “We could stand for a century / Staring / With our heads cocked / In the broad daylight at this thing / Joy / Landlocked / In bodies that don’t keep / Dumbstruck with the sweetness of being / ‘Til we don’t be / Told / Take this / And eat this.”

      Ys is emotionally packed, to the point that every time i listen to it i get shivers. Just reading the lyrics gives me goosebumps. Yes, when I first heard “Sadie” my heart sank and tears rose but prior to Ys, Joanna had the ability to make me cry on only a couple of songs from both MEM and WW (“Sadie”, “Cassiopeia”, “Swansea”, “En Gallop”, and “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie”). As for Ys, every single song has awoken emotions that no other artist/album/song has ever done. I find Joanna’s vast and arcane/archaic vocabulary only adds a mysterious depth and emotional appeal to her songs. The way the music complements the words helps but the words have their own personal appeal. Maybe it’s just me, but is anyone else as confused as I am about this mindset some people seem to have?

      And why do I have this gnawing feeling that with this new album, HOOM, Joanna is trying to remind us
      “Never get so attached to a poem / You forget truth that lacks lyricism”? Just a thought.

  40. RBK  |   Posted on Feb 9th, 2010 0

    I will be mildly interested in seeing what this sells. It seems to be getting a lot of hype (deserved, from the preview songs), but mainly from the Pitchfork crowd, which doesn’t tend to buy music (look at the sales for someone like Girls).

    That crowd aside, in 2010, does anyone want to shell out for a triple album? I’m guessing the ratio of press to actual record sales is going to be off the charts on this one, but I’d be happy to be proven otherwise.

  41. Tupelo  |   Posted on Feb 11th, 2010 0

    Would you have been the person yelling Judas at Dylan in 66? If so keep yelling because it only inflamed Dylan and took him to new heights.

    What’s the matter with Fleetwood Mac?

    By the way, Tiny Vipers is a great pick for best folk album of 2009, very underrated.

  42. colour and clatter  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2010 0

    “That crowd aside, in 2010, does anyone want to shell out for a triple album? ”
    Yup. Some crazy fools actually enjoy the flow of an album over random shitty disposable MP3′s.
    Anyway…just a gorgeous song. The forthcoming LP will make me a convert if this track is anything to go by. Her voice has never sounded better…warm and inviting. Love the sound…this is the kind of, dare I say it, “avant MOR” (I said it) that I fall head over heels for. It sounds like Jim O’Rourke had a hand in this…..but I’ve never checked.
    Love it.

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