Monday, November 9, 2015
I never really looked into Joanna Newsom's oeuvre before this newest album, and I'm kicking myself for it now. Divers, the singer-songwriter's fourth album, and first after a five year release hiatus, is probably one of her most direct on paper, but is just as musically lush, emotionally evocative, and conceptual as any of her other projects. Have One on Me was a three disc, sprawling album, while Ys was a tight five part song cycle, but Divers, though eleven tracks and more traditionally structured, is a very cohesive concept album involving love and death. The themes involve love, but a sadness, knowing that the focus of this love will eventually die. For anyone who has ever lost a significant other, or is very fearful of this, this theme will most likely resonate very strongly.
Musically, this album is very piano and harp driven, with very little in the way of drumming, but when it does pop up in the more climatic moments, it's done so in a very organic way. The music is also very orchestral, with plenty of strings and woodwinds in the mix. There is also a fair mix of variation in the keyboard sounds here; among them are traditional piano, as well as some Baroque harpsichord sounds and some honky tonk piano as well.
As has most likely been said before, Newsom's voice is an acquired taste. It's a little quirky, but I find the difference in tones and the way she shapes her voice very interesting, and colors her lyrical phrases with plenty of feeling. It's one of those albums where you can just put it on, and time just kind of stands still. You're just so invested that the album just flies by, and you never find yourself wondering what track you're on, or how much is left to the album, because you are just fixated in every little nook and cranny within these songs. This album is fantastic, and if one can get on board with Newsom's offbeat lyrical delivery, this is a deeply fulfilling musical experience.
Out of a total of five stars,I give this:
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