Newsom was 'discovered' a few years back by Will 'Bonnie Prince Billy' Oldham, a man of impeccable musical discernment and a similar eccentric bent, who heard her songs on a homemade tape. Here are our favorite songs from Newsom’s 16-year long career.

—Natalia Keogan. I hate comparing Joanna Newsom to fairies. They belong to the collective world, and she’s merely appropriating them to reflect on her life.

I am still not sure what to make of 'Monkey & Bear', a tale of escape from a circus narrated in the voice of the monkey.

—Austin Jones, Joanna Newsom frequently poses as an ecologist throughout Milk-Eyed Mender, observing the minutiae of nature. The ideas kind of demanded that. Last year I watched her hold rapt the rain-dampened crowd at Wales's Green Man folk festival as she recited a poem to the moon, then launched into a 15-minute song the like of which none of us had heard before. She is not averse to the odd spot of caterwauling.

After signing to Drag City, Newsom released her full-length debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, in spring 2004; later that year, she toured the U.S. with Devendra Banhart and played European venues with Smog.
Newsom centers on the woman in this story—her suffering, her curiosity and the sympathy she feels for a man poisoned by his own masculinity—using some of her most lurid imagery: “I was brought / In on a palanquin / Made of the many bodies / Of beautiful women,” she sings with a deadpan tone.

Joanna Newsom is 24 years old.

[39] In 2010, Tiny Mix Tapes named the album the 18th greatest of the 2000s and the 81st. Imagine Emily Dickinson with a harp, and you're half way there. The family are also well connected: her second cousin, Gavin Newsom, is the mayor of San Francisco, the guy who overthrew the state law forbidding gay marriage. In the 2000s, Callahan had much-talked-about relationships with Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, and later, Joanna Newsom, whose Have One on Me is famously a break-up album. Joanna Newsom; Bill Callahan Joanna Newsom anchored her 90-minute set by performing the ornate, flowing musical suite that comprises her ambitious new album "Ys," bookending it … Bill Callahan: ‘Having a kid changed my whole perspective’ The singer-songwriter is releasing his 21st album, the acclaimed ‘Gold Record’. [19] As of March 2010, Ys has sold more than 250,000 copies. The choir and harpsichord make it one of the brightest and most memorable tunes in Newsom’s discography. She’s no swashbuckling female lead—she’s a human, helpless in the face of self-destruction. Joanna Newsom And Bill Callahan Used to Make Love So these two people are pretty much the only musicians I listen to these days and the fact that they used to do it with each other kinda blows my mind. “Quirkiness?” This bizarre othering was common in the mid-2000s and early 2010s, both from benevolent sources and from Newsom’s most scathing critics. 'You came and laid a cold compress on the mess I'm in,' she whispers. There are only five songs on Ys , the title a mysterious reference to the mythical submerged Breton city of the same name.

While the song also characterizes the abortion provider as a “barber cutting away at my only joy,” the narrator does take the responsibility for terminating the pregnancy into her own hands, which seems to be overtly hinting at the fact that this was her choice, her action, and she isn’t necessarily condeming it.

I cannot remember the last time I was so astonished by a pop record. Despite a negative review by the US Rolling Stone,[25] the German version of the magazine named the album the second greatest of the year. Of her songwriting, Newsom says: 'Among the responsibilities of any writer is that, no matter what else, they know what they mean. Copyright © 2020 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.

“This is not my tune, but it’s mine to use,” she admits—she has no claim over these themes as they are.

Strings, woodwinds, brass, a variety of percussion – at points, a full orchestra — and the expert scoring of legendary and controversial producer Van Dyke Parks who has enhanced and skewered the music of the Beach Boys, Randy Newman and Victoria Williams over the years, make this onion worth unpeeling.

[36] Two Spanish magazines, Playground and Rock de Lux, have respectively named Ys their 83rd and 15th greatest album of the 2000s. Whether it’s literal—like riding on your dog’s back all the way home—or figurative, like our persistent march towards death, Newsom’s music is marked by change and the ensuing disquiet. Callahan made this record after sifting through old notebooks for ‘frozen eggs’ he could turn into new songs. Then, feverishly plucking, she pleas to the heavens for the release of her friend’s heart into a community of glorified souls.

Every elaboration has a purpose, every labyrinthine melodic detour feels necessary rather than contrived.
By the time she reached high-school age, Newsom decided she wanted to become a composer, and while that became the focus of her studies, in her free time she began writing and recording instrumental songs. The song’s innocence and its hard lessons, in turn, are brilliant and aching, with Newsom’s voice lilting like Joni Mitchell’s, who similarly pines on her classic Californian ode. Heady stuff. 'It's one big story, really,' she says, when I ask her where these songs came from. Newsom is a demanding artist, and off-putting to many, but for those who put the time in, her prolonged running times often result in the most rewarding aspects of her sound. "[43], "Arthur Magazine Feature on Joanna Newsom", "Photos: Joanna Newsom with Orchestra [Milwaukee, WI; 10/21/07]", "Shortlist Music Prize Finalists Announced", "2006: Tiny Mix Tapes Favorite Albums of 2006", "Rolling Stone - Deutsche Ausgabe - Popular Music Best-Of-Lists List - 2002-2006 - hartbeat! These events include the sudden death of Newsom's best friend, a continuing illness and a tumultuous relationship. Or simply soak up the songs for what they are: mysterious, multi-layered, elusive. So here, dear readers: Have some on us. Make of that what you will.

[26] According to Ys is the third best album of 2006,[27] and the 27th greatest record released that decade[28] and the 271st greatest of all-time.

'Threw the window wide and cried, amen, amen, amen.' [20], By the end of 2006 Ys appeared in more than 50 year-end lists, placing inside the top 10 in 35 of them,[21] including a #1 ranking in Tiny Mix Tapes' Top 25 Albums of 2006,[22] and CHARTbeat's Top 100 Albums of 2006 [23] a #3 ranking on Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2006,[24] and a #7 ranking Time magazine's 10 Best Albums of 2006. It goes where it pleases, and tends towards the breathless, the shrill and the warbly.

Joanna Newsom is a 38 year old American Vocalist. Joanna Newsom has created a work whose startling originality could, like Astral Weeks or Horses before, set a new musical standard for a generation. [2], On her fall 2007 tour, Newsom performed the album in its entirety, backed by a 29-piece orchestra. ... indie artists including Cat Power and Joanna Newsom. No, she has earnest feelings, and her desires, like time, possess an unwavering motion. Newsom herself started on piano lessons at a very early age and played for several years before switching to the harp at seven.

In a lot of ways, “Sadie” is one of Newsom’s most humbling pieces. —Natalia Keogan, With each passing year, “Sapokanikan” becomes more and more relevant. The song track adeptly shows Newsom’s command of her craft, with intricate compositions that never run out of steam or fall into tired repetition.

Newsom was also impressed by Van Dyke Parks' 1968 album Song Cycle, and asked him to collaborate on Ys after listening to that record.

'Bill suggested Van Dyke, and the record company contacted him. It’s also so much more than that. Joanna Newsom. Unfortunately, this bardic femme fatale dream has to come to the end—the song ends as it begins, helplessly floating, unsure how to feel proper sympathy for her estranged lover.

It requires the kind of patience and attentiveness that pop music seldom asks of us these days. This material makes significantly higher demands of the aud — 15-minute complex metaphorical narratives lacking traditional pop structures — but is all the more rewarding for it. She uses literary tradition to highlight the role of women in stories such as this one. Without the backing of an orchestra, Newsom and her harp were instead augmented by tambura, banjo, glockenspiel and musical saw.