Joanna Newsom plays harp and harpsichord and sings, sometimes backed by orchestral arrangements by Van Dyke Parks, the album wise spelled "Ys," but that's not what's strange about her. Like Victoria Williams, she passed through puberty without her voice changing. You'll hear amazing, multi-rhythm, totally original harp playing and then suddenly it's like Joanna invited her seven-year-old daughter to sing along, it's a kid's voice, totally unprofessional, irritating, they'd bounce her out at the first round of American Idol, the opposite of what they're looking for, and at first you think that's nice, now shut up and let your mom sing, but it IS the mom, she actually sounds like that, so you sit and listen some more and you get over it, the voice, like Dylan's, you put it behind you, the lyrics, the melodies, adult and sophisticated and childlike and magical, full of hooks and iridescent meandering, powerful stuff, a cartoon voice perfect for Pixar, they've got to get on it and you've got to hear her before they turn her into a mouse or a squirrel, which brings me to the cocksuckers at the RIAA who at this very moment are considering arresting me for offering to you free of charge a song by Joanna Newsom, one solo, The Book of Right-On, and what the hell, another, Cosmia, backed by Van Dyke Parks at his best, both downloaded for free with Limewire from some other generous soul who felt like sharing.
And why am I doing this? Am I a thief? Do you have any moral compunction NOT to download these free MP3s? Have you been brainwashed into thinking that sharing, just sharing, just letting you in on the secret, is bad, makes you bad person, a thief robbing candy from the mouths of Joanna Newsom's real kids, if she has them, which would be weird because until they hit puberty, they would sound exactly like her? Hell, what's to stop you from buying something from her or just sending her a check if you prefer. Don't let me get in the way, hell, go ahead if you've got scratch to burn, I don't, I'm just turning you on to her the best way I know how, by playing her for you, and it'll never occur to you to buy her or go to one of her concerts unless you hear her first so repeat after me, like I'm your mom, sharing is good, in all its manifestations, Limewire and Bittorrent, the darkside of the web, let's shed some light, so share, okay, pass these along unless you think they're crap in which case fuck off. Sharing is a good thing except for the fear of getting raped by Bubba when the cocksuckers from the RIAA call the cops on you.
Don't miss this incredible documentary, free for the taking, about the wonderful world of sharing.