Damning with Faint Praise

Joanna Newsom

Just received an announcement of an upcoming performance by Joanna Newsom in my humble town. It included this quote from a Pitchfork Media review of her album (“her 2006 masterwork”) “Ys”:

She swoops into the sky and races across the ground, names every plant and every desire, and never feels less than real. The people who hear this record will split into two crowds: The ones who think it’s silly and precious, and the ones who, once they hear it, won’t be able to live without it. (9.4)
Pitchfork Media

Wow. Who else has a sneaking suspicion, sound unheard, that they’ll land in that first cohort?

Seems Newsom just inspires such insipid writing. Try this one on for size:

Though it’s unfair to reduce an artist to a few superficial descriptors, Joanna Newsom has undeniably emerged as a candidate for such caricature. A classically trained harpist with long red hair and a little girl’s voice, dressed like a character from a medieval-themed restaurant, Newsom is all but asking you with her otherworldly performances and allegorical songwriting to label her a pixie prodigy.
Paste Magazine | Joanna Newsom Tugs at the Harp Strings

Not even a good pun to wrap that one up.

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