Heard an advance copy of the new Joanna Newsom album, entitled Ys, due out on November 14th.
I’ll admit that I’ve spent the past few days trying to craft a blog post reviewing this album. That is not what the current post is about. I’ve gone through many drafts already, and simply have not found a satisfactory means of conveying my feelings about the album. It’s just an amazing album. It’s not that I don’t have words to describe it, rather I have too many words to describe such a complex work as this. I’ve tried every way of organizing and condensing my thoughts, but nothing works.
To put things as simply as possible then, I will go ahead and make this statement: this is one of the best new albums I’ve heard all year. I came in with many preconceived notions of Joanna Newsom as an artist, as the harpist girl with the disaster of a voice who wrote clever Renaissance Faire tunes, but everything’s been completely shattered by this work. I’m a little scared to admit it, but Ys may be the best album I’ve heard this year. Of the past two years, actually, as 2005 didn’t have a standout anywhere near this level. And maybe we can stretch the time frame further back. Is this one of the best albums of the decade thus far? It really terrifies me, but I might be willing to say it. It seems like such a kneejerk reaction, coming only after just a few days of listening; I should spend more time with an album before I make such bold statements. And as a male, it’s a bit emasculating to proclaim this sort of lush elven folk as a masterpiece, shouldn’t I be listening to Mclusky all day or something? I mean, I basically do, but still, nothing I’ve heard recently has come close to touching this.
I’ve already started rambling, and I can feel a deeper discussion coming, but I will try and refrain. In conclusion, I’m incredibly scared to say it, but at least my initial impression of Ys is that it ranks among the best albums of the decade. I realize that I’ve done nothing to describe why I think that’s the case, and it’s likely foolish to make such proclamations so soon; I’m about 95% sure that I’ll look back at this post in a few months and laugh ceaselessly, in that case I’m not exactly sure why I’m even bothering. What’s the point of this blog, really, I basically laugh at all of my posts after a few weeks at the least. Just to capture my mindsets and my interests at specific points of time? Somebody help me justify this thing’s existence. In the meantime, I’m locked in my room soaking in Ys, until a few weeks from now when I’m totally saturated, and then I’ll snap into the intense backlash and rock out Lightning Bolt for a while.
Links I’ve found while basking in the wondrous glow of Ys:
- Blog dedicated to the analyzation of the greatest opening shots in film history.
- Find out how much you weigh compared to your favorite celebrities, or to various animals, your choice. Just hope that you don’t come close to approaching ‘whale’.
- Agassi vs. Pavel, brilliant composite photo.
- Tipz for surviving a freestyle rap battle royale.
- Mark Danielewski, the author of the (in)famous House of Leaves, has a new book out, with just as many radical formatting tricks as the last.
- One of the harsher criticisms you’ll ever read, to the point of hilarity. Sadly, Swarthmore alum Jonathan Franzen receivies similar treatment for his new book.
- The Iliad is being rewritten completely absent of the Greek Gods. Is this right?
- Find out what corporations have environmentally-friendly production practices.
- A lamp, and a refridgerator, finally combined into one.
- I’m not much a tech nerd, but I’m kind of in love with this mouse for some reason.
- Turns out Bob Dylan is kind of strange person.
- One of my favorite music critics is gushing about the new Justin Timberlake album, FutureSex/LoveSounds. I’m not sure if I should feel utterly betrayed, or if I should just hear the album, as painful as it might be. I’m sure you feel the same about my involvement with Ys, though I hope I was nobody’s favorite critic.
- Cool sculptures made from shopping carts.
- Find interesting facts about your birthday.
- Based on the infamous Hot Or Not, see how good you are at ID-ing bombs on the new Bomb Or Not.
- A brief history of photography, with some nice examples.
- Music video shows what it’s like to drop a camera off the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Speed rockclimbing, without ropes. I’m so pumped up just by watching this.
- Fake No Parking signs cause chaos.
- A very well done list of the 50 ‘best’ birds in the world. A lot of good stuff here, though I’m surprised Standard-winged Nightjar isn’t on the list. An interesting read even for nonbirders, I promise.
- And finally, an unbelievably interesting study mapping the tendencies of local dialects. As an example, here’s a map showing the responses to the question “What word(s) do you use to address a group of two or more people?” Purple is ‘you guys’, yellow is ‘y’all’, red is ‘you all’, goto the site for the other colors, and for all the other maps, of which there are many dozens available. Notice Florida in this map. It is truly not part of the South.