Ys – Joanna Newsom

Ys  - No, I have no idea how you pronouce it
Ys – No, I have no idea how you pronounce it

Here’s the first of the reviews of the “albums I have been obsessed with“. Lazily, I’d already reviewed Joanna Newsom’s second album Ys for the Big Chill website. Here’s a flavour of it, but you’ll have to go to Big Chill site to read the rest.

“When I first received my copy of Joanna Newsom’s second album, Ys, I was slightly disappointed to see that it only contained five songs. But after listening to them, it is clear that to call them mere songs is to do these fine works a great disservice.

They are epics. Four of the tracks are twisting, orchestral pieces, changing pace and tone over several distinct sections. In fact, the shortest clocks in at just over seven minutes. These are not your average pop songs.”

Also tacked onto that is a review of her gig at the Barbican from January of that year. It was a fantastic concert and I can still remember it so clearly.

For completeness, here’s my review of her gig at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, back in 2005, also for the Big Chill. It was the first time I’d seen her play live and I was utterly spellbound.

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4 responses to “Ys – Joanna Newsom

  1. Yes! What an incredible record. Quite apart from the brilliant songwriting and really magical lyrics, the album just sounds so pure – it’s mixed so well so that each layer sits in its own space and doesn’t interfere with anything else. The songs are great, but it’s the production that makes listening to 45 minutes of it – essentially harp plus baby-voiced singing – more than just palatable but actually really really beautiful.

    • It is amazing. For about a week I could barely sleep because it just kept going round and round my head.
      Van Dyke Parks work on it is awesome.

  2. Oh, and re: the title – I believe it’s pronounced Eese, to rhyme with geese. This would be stood up by an EP that she brought around the same time which was credited to Joanna Newsom & the Ys-Street Band…

  3. i’m glad you’re a fellow fan 😉

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