Joanna Newsom
Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band


4.5
superb

Review

by ◘_◘ ◘_◘ ◘_◘ ◘_◘ USER (5 Reviews)
April 24th, 2007 | 22 replies | 10,161 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "That's clever."

Over the past year, Joanna Newsom isn't exactly what one would call an unknown artist. This is especially true within the large bundles of music communities online, where the woman once pictured with an unfortunate animal on her head (It was hot, okay?) has become a figurehead of an imaginative movement that Newsom herself has dismissed in interviews.

All of this came from the release of one album, Ys. A five song set lasting a little under an hour, full of harp, strings, and plenty of imagery, Ys seemed to be rather daring in its execution, though largely accepted by critics and fans alike. Rolling Stone were even so amazed and baffled by its beauty that they accidentally called it an EP and gave it three stars.

My thoughts when news of this release was revealed?

"How will she follow up something as colossal as Ys?"

What's great about Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band is that she doesn't try to 'follow up' her previous efforts; it is only meant to be a place holder, and Newsom and her touring band does this with grace. "Colleen" proves that she is already beginning to stray away from dramatic string sections and a generally baroque feel, instead favoring the flavors of Appalachian folk. Banjo, acoustic guitar, accordion, harp, percussion, and the occasional yelp twist and mingle to form one of Newsom's best songs yet, with her typically narrative style executed with a quaint charm. The tune can feel sinister, humorous, and beautiful at the same time, with lines such as " 'Have you come, then, to rescue me?" He laughed and said, "from what, 'Colleen'?'"

Elsewhere are two re-workings of some of her best compositions, "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" and "Cosmia". Besides the pleasing alliteration this creates within the song titles, these songs represent the contemplative and melancholy side of Joanna. The former isn't changed much; tempos are slowed somewhat, phrasing altered, and harmony vocals added. But these harmony vocals make a gorgeous song even more heartbreaking than it was before. Here, "Cosmia" is noticeably toned down and stretched out, turning a somewhat anxious song into a lulling riverside suite of sorts. The orchestration is replaced with those on "Colleen", giving it a certain flair and mood that a string section could not. This new version may not have the intensity as the original, but hell, there's theremin.

If Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band proves anything, it's that Newsom is a cool rockin' daddy in the USA.


user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
IsItLuck?
Emeritus
April 24th 2007


4927 Comments


I'm glad you reviewed this album, sounds at least promising.

The Jungler
April 25th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm gonna buy Milk-Eyed Mender soon I think.
Good review, really short.

Two-Headed Boy
April 25th 2007


4527 Comments


I'm ysing into Ys (pun!) gradually, it'll probably end up in the fours somewhere. So I'll keep my eye out for this. Good work with the review.This Message Edited On 04.25.07

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2007


17920 Comments


oh hey good review

samthebassman
April 26th 2007


2164 Comments


I still dont know if I love or hate this chick.

TheMisterBungle
April 26th 2007


861 Comments


I got this today, very good cd so far.
Colleen is perfect.

pulseczar
April 26th 2007


2385 Comments


Theremin is such a dumb name for an instrument. gay review as usual good to see you back etc etc

Neoteric
April 27th 2007


3243 Comments


Yeah, nice review blah blah

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2007


6094 Comments


Oh, Joanna Newsom. So good.


glad to see you back/good review/always good to see people that know what they're talking about reviewing etc. etc.

descendents1
April 29th 2007


702 Comments


joanna newsom is amazing and ys is sensational

milk-eyed mender is pretty good but it's waaaaaay different than ys as she DEFINITELY progressed in the right direction


Slaapkamers
April 29th 2007


596 Comments


The Milk-Eyed Mender is her best album.

descendents1
April 30th 2007


702 Comments


nooooooooooo waaaaaaaaaaaay maaaaaaaaaaan

i totally disagree. MEM is very entertaining but it's not masterpiece material like Ys. her voice was just a bit over tolerable on MEM but on Ys it's very accessible and beautiful.

Slaapkamers
April 30th 2007


596 Comments


It feels good to be wrong, huh?

La Revolucion
May 5th 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Her little yelp after the medieval parts in "Colleen" is the best part of the whole album.
[quote=review]Rolling Stone were even so amazed and baffled by its beauty that they accidentally called it an EP and gave it three stars.[/quote]
Actually, they gave it two stars.This Message Edited On 05.05.07

Slaapkamers
May 5th 2007


596 Comments


idc

La Revolucion
May 5th 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

.

Donkey
May 7th 2007


152 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oddly great, something new and refreshing.

Doppelganger
September 6th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just got this. Colleen is just so unbelievably good.

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2009


6094 Comments


This is really good but I think this version of Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie is a missed opportunity. They build on the original template and smother the power rather than strengthen it, especially how Newsom performs the song. Too much going on for a song more understated than the acoustic original.

DeafMetal
October 16th 2010


8588 Comments


I need to hear this.

Digging: Hawkwind - Space Ritual



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