Album of the Year 2010: Number 1

Joanna Newsom: Have One On Me (Drag City) [9.6]


And here it is and here she is – a shock for a few of you I’m sure, as not only was I not expecting Newsom to be here at all, but considering my absolute distaste for her album Ys, I was fully expecting to hate this one. I tried, honestly I did, but not only could I not hate the album, I actually felt myself falling more and more in love with it, the more I heard it, and as the chart started to draw to a close, it first made it into the top 20, before the top ten, then the five, before trouncing everything to end up announced as the album of the year for 2010 at the last possible moment!

There was some justification in my views on Ys vs this, as I read an interview with Newsom, where she discussed the idea with Ys, which was a polyrhythmic experiment, inspired by her harp teacher. After Ys, she agreed that the polyrhythmic sound:

…stopped being fascinating to me and started feeling wanky

I very much agree Joanna! Smile

Have One On Me, however, is an absolute delight of an album, and is so, so wondrous that it is hard to pin down. First to excite the senses is that it’s a girl and her harp…knowing, as you do, my obsession with the harp…you don’t? Oh my…oh, well…later tale…

Added to that the monstrous three CDs, pitching in six songs each, for a total of two hours and five minutes, means you’re going to have to put some time aside to listen, and means you are as likely to find classics as not…the classics for me in the shape of ‘81, In California, Autumn, On a Good Day, amongst others, confirms this is an album to delight well into the wee hours and beyond.

True, her voice grates at times but the honesty of it reaches through and you can forgive those glitches, especially when seeing what she is capable of. She’s no Carey or Dion but I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s extremely happy about that one!

Joanna Newsom is the first solo female artist to win album of the year since Fiona Apple in 2000 and Tori Amos in 1996 (the first time I did this) and I think she’s in pretty good company there.

Have a look at her performing my favourite track from the album, ‘81:


A girl and her harp–man that’s some music right there!

The track just oozes quality and even if this is not your cup of tea, you’re still pretty much guaranteed to find something on there to add to a playlist, wish-list, something-or-other list…

So I give you Joanna Newsom and 2010’s album of the year! Enjoy and look out for the giveaway of the day, which is my CD of the year’s best tunes, coming your way very soon!


About Mark S. Deniz

English teacher, writer, editor, publisher, reviewer and blogger. Founder of publishing company, Morrigan Books and imprint, Gilgamesh Press and editor-in-chief for review site, Beyond Fiction. Also cycles, plays floorball, listens to lots and lots of music, reads a ton of books and tries to fit in some TV, film and writing too. View all posts by Mark S. Deniz

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