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Joanna Newsom: Have One on Me

The best songs on the harpist and singer's three-disc set feel “like conversations.”

(Drag City)

**

Joanna Newsom’s songs can be “very hard to grasp, despite being pretty and often inviting,” said Ann Powers in the Los Angeles Times. Her music is defined by abstract lyrics, a “long and winding” song structure, her unusual choice of instrument—the harp—and, of course, that nymphish voice. Have One on Me is more intimate than her last album, Ys, but this three-disc set is hardly more accessible. Still, the two hours of music aren’t as overwhelming as the presentation suggests, said Mark Richardson in Pitchforkmedia.com. The first disc’s “Good Intentions Paving Co.” is a winsome piece of country-rock. Newsom channels Joni Mitchell on “In California,” a moody ballad that anchors the second disc. The best songs feel “like conversations.” But there’s too much to absorb, said Heather Phares in All Music Guide. Newsom has proved “she can do just about anything; next time she shouldn’t try to do everything.”

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