Feature

Ys

Joanna Newsom’s latest ambitious effort has listeners split.

There aren't many classically trained harpists in the world, especially ones with a medieval vocabulary and a cult fan following, said Chris Dahlen in Pitchfork Media. But singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom is even weirder on her adventurous second album, Ys. Upon hearing Newsom's Björk-like voice combined with a huge orchestral backup and obtuse lyrical style, listeners will instantly split into two camps: 'œthe ones who think it's silly and precious, and the ones who, once they hear it, won't be able to live without it.' 'œSilly' doesn't even begin to describe this incomprehensible faerie-land jaunt, said Tim Grierson in the Phoenix New Times. How is it that in just two years, Newsom became so convinced of her own talent? And who told her that she should kick it up a notch with these over-the-top orchestral arrangements? Some will call it brave, but the truth is that this 'œambitious project falls smack on its lavishly constructed face.' On the contrary, this intricate record succeeds on every level if you're listening closely, said Stephanie Merritt in the London Observer. Newsom's graceful arrangements and shapely lyrics approach the genius of such artists as Kate Bush, poet Christina Rossetti, and minimalist composer Terry Riley. 'œYs is an exceptional piece of art in the broadest sense—give it the chance to grow on you.'

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