Back in 2006, Joanna Newsom was thrust upon the music community with her quirky avant-pop offering Ys. In its wake, critics butted heads—most claimed the record prolific, some knocked its inapproachability—and Newsom was ultimately lumped into the then-burgeoning “freak folk” movement. Now flash forward three years, where the freaks have been integrated into the mainstream and Newsom has blossomed into the songwriter we all hoped she would. On Have One on Me, Newsom’s third and undeniably most ambitious record to date, the singer graduates out of her awkward squeak, employing a strangely sweet delivery style that’s part Joni Mitchell, part Björk. Still, it’s lyrically where Newsom really triumphs, giving us songs like “Baby Birch,” a slow burning number about motherly love, and “Soft As Chalk,” a piano-led dirge about unraveling relationships. Sure, Have One is still a tough pill to swallow at points, but it, like Newsom’s back catalogue, is more than worth the effort by disc’s end.


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