Have One On Me
39 out of 46 Golden Harp Strings
(Alternatively: 8.5 out of 10 Cats Dying Slow Deaths)
I tried to like Joanna Newsom before. I really did. At the behest of the bearded and bespectacled gentleman behind the counter at Barnes & Noble who asked me if I was buying a copy of Paste because Sufjan Stevens was on the cover (which I was, for the record), I gave her a listen. His disclaimer that her voice was “something of an acquired taste” seemed a bit of an understatement as I listened to her screech along with her harp live on “Peach, Plum, Pear”—though, to be fair, his other disclaimer was “you’ll probably hate her.” It’s not that her voice was unbearable, though. I recognized that if I gave her a good, long listen, I might become immune to it and be able to appreciate her lyrical and musical talent regardless—but I didn’t. Maybe it was because I had a lot of more tolerable music waiting to be listened to, or maybe it was because of how loudly my roommate complained whenever I put Joanna Newsom on. Whatever the reason, I naturally had no expectations of her newest release, Have One On Me, when I stumbled across it on NPR First Listen. Well, maybe one expectation—that whatever it sounded like, I could expect some amusing outburst of irritation from the opposite side of my room.