User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 325 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 325

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  1. g
    Nov 17, 2006
    10
    album of the year... if Darwin is to be believed, newsom's record will survive as a classic for hundreds of years. seriously its THAT good
  2. kishaandra
    Apr 13, 2010
    10
    Ys is, at the very least, a heartfelt and poetic work of art set to music. Structurally, it only meanders as far as to elaborately support its overarching themes of searching and loss. It's a wonder Trouser Press has managed to be included in the selection of reviews for this album, as the meat of the review places Ys in a context in which Newsom has never claimed to be: both the Ys is, at the very least, a heartfelt and poetic work of art set to music. Structurally, it only meanders as far as to elaborately support its overarching themes of searching and loss. It's a wonder Trouser Press has managed to be included in the selection of reviews for this album, as the meat of the review places Ys in a context in which Newsom has never claimed to be: both the aftermath and revival of some long-gone, overthrown 70s movement. It should be noted that, quite ironically, Trouser Press's review of the album itself meanders into an almost entirely irrelevant music history before finally throwing down a biting adjective or two toward the actual album itself. But to those who are interested in seeing both the appealing and potentially repelling qualities of Ys, figure this: her voice is unusual and hard to down at first, but is nevertheless an endearingly contribution all its own to the emotions expressed in Ys. The lyrics are elaborate, but indirect, having - at times - an almost riddle-like quality to them. The orchestration ranges from quiet to largely theatrical. The album, to me, is ambitious and unpretentious, and demands its listener take an active role in unearthing its secrets, rather than passively watching it unravel all on its own. Expand
  3. Dec 11, 2010
    10
    Magical. Flawless. One of the best albums I've ever heard, it's like a very well told tale, and Joanna is very creative, and not boring at all. Even though no one mentions it, "Cosmia" is beautiful, and, for me, the best track. "Sawdust & Diamonds" is also just as pretty. No single back track in this album.
  4. MinMin
    Nov 16, 2006
    0
    Poor. Over-hyped and unlistenable by virtue of her voice.
  5. JamesS
    Mar 10, 2010
    10
    Simply the most astonishing record. Having recently picked up
  6. DwightGooden
    Dec 12, 2006
    5
    It's just...not...THAT...good. I've listened to plenty of albums that are more pretentious but also more engaging and listenable than this. I liked "Cosmia" and was pretty bored with everything else. Oh yeah, and her voice sounds like E.T.'s sister.
  7. HG
    Dec 7, 2006
    0
    If Joanna Newsom went mute tomorrow the world would be a better place. Her voice is painful to listen to: it is better suited for singing in the shower. I like folk music. I like harps. Joanna Newsom's voice distracts me past any point of reason and deters me from even trying to listen to any talent she has for playing the harp or writing lyrics.
  8. Aamie
    Dec 8, 2006
    0
    Like others have said, her voice is like nails on a chalkboard... How can anyone listen to this? Seriously? Do any of you rating it 10 really like it or do you just want to appear to be 'arty' or something?
  9. DanitaM
    Jan 14, 2007
    1
    This statement seems to sum up the album:: "Sometimes she just sings without really singing a melody. Other times, she has a melody but it's a totally unremarkable one." One adjustment needs to be made, however-- she doesn't really SING at all. Sometimes, she squeaks! No one yet has mentioned how she blatantly goes OUT OF TUNE! OFF KEY! I don't mean to attack those who did This statement seems to sum up the album:: "Sometimes she just sings without really singing a melody. Other times, she has a melody but it's a totally unremarkable one." One adjustment needs to be made, however-- she doesn't really SING at all. Sometimes, she squeaks! No one yet has mentioned how she blatantly goes OUT OF TUNE! OFF KEY! I don't mean to attack those who did enjoy the album--many of you have justified yourselves and that's fine--but I found this to be utterly unmusical. The background orchestra WAS lovely and I DID enjoy the harp, but the tragedy is that it is supposed to align with the vocals which are horrible. And I love how many of those who posted before me assume that those who didn't enjoy this album adore rap. Actually, we enjoy MUSIC, and this does not qualify as such. Expand
  10. ColbyS.
    Jul 2, 2007
    1
    High aspirations here? Yes. Musical talent? To some degree. But for the love of God, listening to this woman ramble on like a Vietnamese child tripping out on LSD is too grating to listen to for an average song length of four minutes, let alone twenty-five. The reviewers just liked this because it was different and may have made them sound cultured for a few days. That's my only guess.
  11. EusebioP.
    Sep 7, 2009
    3
    A girl playing harp short of OK and singing (out of tune half of the time) painfully long diatribes... Is this an 85 score? By Tutatis that you people across the ocean sometimes amaze me... I can imagine that most of the people giving a high score to this have never ever listen to any decent folk, Celtic or world music, so coming from Alternative Pop-Rock this can be short of a revelation A girl playing harp short of OK and singing (out of tune half of the time) painfully long diatribes... Is this an 85 score? By Tutatis that you people across the ocean sometimes amaze me... I can imagine that most of the people giving a high score to this have never ever listen to any decent folk, Celtic or world music, so coming from Alternative Pop-Rock this can be short of a revelation of difference, but believe me, it is not. If you want to hear something decent on "women playing harp", please make yourself a favor and buy something of Loreena McKennitt. Expand
  12. ericf
    Nov 13, 2006
    5
    I don't fault her for being ambitious, I just honestly don't think it's that effective. I think her looks, and "schtick" is what sells it to people, down to the album art. I'm just amazed so many people fall for it. To my ears, this album is bloated and overwrought with prentention, yet it appears this is what the critics want these days.
  13. JPublius
    Nov 14, 2006
    3
    The harp's nice. Newsom's voice sounds like the midget from Poltergeist Lyrics make as much sense as a Yes album. This will be on every critics top 10 list, and nobody will listen to it for more than five minutes.
  14. pauls
    Nov 19, 2006
    4
    NOW and Rolling Stone are dead on: "She plucks and sings in her little-girl-lost warble never seems entirely integrated with the hovering orchestral parts ... Hard to stomach"
  15. JamieP
    Nov 21, 2006
    4
    This is simply meandering rubbish. Why bother trying to actually compose something with structure and meaning if the critics will like this nonsense. Half of it is completely out of time, and seemingly deliberately so. The album sounds like a drunk impersonating Joni Mitchell with an orchestra tuning up in the background. Lovely production, mind you. I just wish they'd spend that This is simply meandering rubbish. Why bother trying to actually compose something with structure and meaning if the critics will like this nonsense. Half of it is completely out of time, and seemingly deliberately so. The album sounds like a drunk impersonating Joni Mitchell with an orchestra tuning up in the background. Lovely production, mind you. I just wish they'd spend that money on someone who wasn't so self-consciously trying to be different. Expand
  16. Chris
    Jan 12, 2007
    3
    Remember the creepy kid from The Grudge? Yeah, she sounds like him.
  17. Steve
    Jan 15, 2007
    3
    This is 50 minutes of noise without a single memorable melody, with the added bonus of a voice I
  18. JamsieJ
    Mar 28, 2007
    3
    I listened to this cd in the shop. I tried to like it but the vocals reminded me of a feline squirming after someone had stood on its tail by accident. Would have been nice if the songs weren't so drawn-out and the vocals weren't so preposterous/off-putting.
  19. Ian
    Mar 22, 2009
    4
    Joanna Newsom, as well as other artists from the recent 'New Weird America' movement, are not so unique as they are a reemergence of pretentious white person 70's folk. Boo.
  20. AaronS
    Nov 15, 2006
    0
    I don't know whay everyone else is hearing, but this is the single worst release in 2006. Newsom's vocals are beyond bad and the album itself is very overproduced. Awful.
  21. KevinK
    Dec 27, 2006
    4
    At first, I thought my dislike of this record was the result of some internal defect; now, I realize that the record just isn't that good. I can see that it's supposed to be a grand statement, and Newsom certainly proves herself to be an accomplished musician here. However, if one is going to make a record like this, it's probably a good idea to have something to say first. At first, I thought my dislike of this record was the result of some internal defect; now, I realize that the record just isn't that good. I can see that it's supposed to be a grand statement, and Newsom certainly proves herself to be an accomplished musician here. However, if one is going to make a record like this, it's probably a good idea to have something to say first. What I hear here is a whole lot of sounds smashed together to signify nothing. Expand
  22. JoS
    May 29, 2007
    3
    How can anyone like this? Listen to that voice! Since when did bad become good? Now, I'm all for pretentious artists (I'm a big fan of Sting), but only if they have TALENT in the first place! Yeah, she can pick on the harp pretty well, but that doesn't give her an excuse to mindlessly and badly warble lyrics that, while decent, don't flow well. I have no problem How can anyone like this? Listen to that voice! Since when did bad become good? Now, I'm all for pretentious artists (I'm a big fan of Sting), but only if they have TALENT in the first place! Yeah, she can pick on the harp pretty well, but that doesn't give her an excuse to mindlessly and badly warble lyrics that, while decent, don't flow well. I have no problem handling up to 20 minutes songs (Yes's And You and I is one of my fav. songs of all time), but that's because the music keeps you involved in those cases by changing its tone every few minutes, but here, the only thing that keeps me from going to sleep is Joanna's constant squeaking. I think that if an album plans to be successful, all the elements have to be present, and skipping one area ruins it. Sure, the harp and orchestra is pretty, but the melodies aren't involving enough. Unless you absolutely LOVE THEM TO DEATH, you won't remember any of them the next day. The lyrics are alright, but I'd take anything by Neil Peart over any of them. But her voice...that ruins the whole album for me. To be mean about it, she sounds like Scrooge McDuck lifting heavy things whist sucking helium. And the squeaks! Would it kill her to go get some voice lessons? When will peole get the friggin' modesty to not sing when they can't! *ahem* anyway, I really, REALLY dislike this album, and despite what everyone else tells me, I'll never change my name. Thank you, and goodnight. Expand
  23. DavidM.
    Feb 25, 2008
    3
    I'll never understand why these sprawling idiosyncratic croonings constitute a great work--and that's coming from a fan of Tori Amos and Kate Bush!!
  24. michaels
    Dec 18, 2006
    3
    As good as you would think a harp album named after a mythical city in Brittany would be. I am seriously impressed by anyone over the age of 8 who can derive enjoyment from listening to this album. For critics who are bathing Joanna and any other psych folk artist who scraps together an hour long renaissance festival soundtrack, it's really not that hard to drone on about treehouses As good as you would think a harp album named after a mythical city in Brittany would be. I am seriously impressed by anyone over the age of 8 who can derive enjoyment from listening to this album. For critics who are bathing Joanna and any other psych folk artist who scraps together an hour long renaissance festival soundtrack, it's really not that hard to drone on about treehouses and forest animals with minimalist strings echoing in at random times. Stopped being impressed by it. Expand
  25. madsl
    Dec 4, 2006
    9
    this is a serious contender for Album of the Year! Newsom reveals herself as a singular talent on this marvellous recording. A minor quibble is the fact that occasionally Van Dyke Parks´ arrangements seem removed from the vision of Joanna!
  26. jamesm
    Dec 6, 2006
    10
    I like it both musically and lyrically. But what I like best is the way it polarises your reviewers. It just show that our opinions are only useful to us....don' t listen to me, listen to you!
  27. JacobB.
    Mar 10, 2010
    0
    I'm speechless. Just terrible. I heard someone compare her to Dylan and laughed in their face.
  28. KurtCobain
    Nov 14, 2006
    10
    b0ing!
  29. JustinM
    Nov 16, 2006
    10
    Fantastic album, start to finish.
  30. RickR
    Nov 17, 2006
    4
    Pretty good music making, if not for the dreadful vocals. Like someone said, it'll be on every Critics "MUST HAVE" lists but it probably will be ignored by the public. I mean, it's alright really, that voice is quite ridiculous.
  31. exodus.
    Nov 18, 2006
    9
    After Claire T: "Simply beautiful."
  32. JoeG
    Dec 1, 2006
    10
    Hmmm, I'll be joining the ranks of pretentious I guess. Or maybe it just that I love listening to it? A worthy successor to Astral Weeks.
  33. Kamil
    Dec 3, 2006
    8
    First, hard to listen, but then it gets better and better. Imagination and ambition of joanna is impressive. Definitive album from freak-folk scene.
  34. Sean
    Dec 4, 2006
    10
    Brian. the different sounding and "ugly" (as you say) music is usually the kind that lasts and becomes classic later on. You're like the same people who bashed Rite Of Spring and the Grosse Fugue because they thought those were too different sounding and ugly, when those first appeared. Now look at their stature. In the same vein, this album may be different and unusual, but Brian. the different sounding and "ugly" (as you say) music is usually the kind that lasts and becomes classic later on. You're like the same people who bashed Rite Of Spring and the Grosse Fugue because they thought those were too different sounding and ugly, when those first appeared. Now look at their stature. In the same vein, this album may be different and unusual, but that's why it stands out so well and becomes so original, and when all is said and done, more people will be talking about this album in the future than the more straightforward, same-sounding music. Expand
  35. KelseaL
    Dec 6, 2006
    10
    Joanna Newsom's Ys has been a long awaited album and when information about it began to leak out, everyone was already shocked and excited. 5 tracks long and an hours worth of music, the songs range from 7-17 minutes in length. It was also said that Van Dyke Parks was to be arranging the orchstral parts for 4/5 songs. If an artistic director from Smile thinks Ys is worth something, Joanna Newsom's Ys has been a long awaited album and when information about it began to leak out, everyone was already shocked and excited. 5 tracks long and an hours worth of music, the songs range from 7-17 minutes in length. It was also said that Van Dyke Parks was to be arranging the orchstral parts for 4/5 songs. If an artistic director from Smile thinks Ys is worth something, that's a pretty high standard. I myself purchased the album the day it came out and listened to it twice in a row, once reading the words, once picking out musical anomolies. Neither aspect of the album dissapointed me. It's hard to say wether Joanna has more skills as a harpist, songwriter or lyricist, but everything she produces in each aspect is captivating. Ys is personal, musically perfect and a huge step up for the formerly faun-like gentle creature that is Joanna. She tells us she has been changing with the years and her rise to fame in Sawdust and Diamonds saying, "I wasn't born of a whistle, or milked from a thistle at twilight. No, I was all horns and thorns, sprung out folly-formed, knock-kneed and upright." Joanna is progressing as a writer, singer and person and it is certain she will continue to please current fans and gather new ones with each passing day. Expand
  36. samf
    Dec 6, 2006
    10
    stunning
  37. DannyC
    Jan 18, 2007
    10
    Chillingly beautiful. The first time through Milk-Eyed Mender was a bit rough due to her voice, which granted is difficult at first. However anyone willing to give it a few passes will surely fall in love with this musical genious. I am blown away by those who do not find this gorgeous from start to finish. I get lost in every listen and rarely go a day without playing it in its entirety. Chillingly beautiful. The first time through Milk-Eyed Mender was a bit rough due to her voice, which granted is difficult at first. However anyone willing to give it a few passes will surely fall in love with this musical genious. I am blown away by those who do not find this gorgeous from start to finish. I get lost in every listen and rarely go a day without playing it in its entirety. An enormous step forward from an already masterful first album. I am almost frightened to hear what will come next. "That's an awfully real gun." Expand
  38. ThomasG.
    Oct 26, 2007
    10
    It's absolutely beautiful. Her lyrics are spot on, and the music is wonderful. Just because it's different doesn't make it pretentious. She's got her own unique style that shows alot of passion.
  39. BrandonH
    Jan 20, 2007
    10
    This is, by far, the best album of 2006.
  40. KennyM
    Jan 8, 2007
    10
    beautiful.
  41. BryanE.
    Jan 8, 2007
    10
    Believe me, I am not some latte sipping trendoid latching on to the next big thing. My favorite music is firmly rooted in the guitar rock traditon. But this....this is sublime. I discovered Joanna Newsom from concert footage that had been uploaded onto YouTube. Immediately, I downloaded both her albums. I ahd not read a review or heard any previous information about her. I was just Believe me, I am not some latte sipping trendoid latching on to the next big thing. My favorite music is firmly rooted in the guitar rock traditon. But this....this is sublime. I discovered Joanna Newsom from concert footage that had been uploaded onto YouTube. Immediately, I downloaded both her albums. I ahd not read a review or heard any previous information about her. I was just smitten at first sight. No, she is not easy listening, especially YS. But ANYONE who dismisses her as some puffed up flashin the pan novelty act (as many of the negative opinion posit) are just lazy. Yes, you have the right to not like her. But the dismissive,. condescending attitude that is perfectly exemplefied by that ludicrous Rolling Stone review says to me that most of these people would be off listening to their Brittneys, F'itty Cents and Nicklebacks. Expand
  42. PaulL
    Feb 10, 2007
    6
    If you're expecting the catchiness and charm of the Milk-Eyed Mender, you'll be disappointed. Where her last album was a nice combination of hooks and quirks, this one's all quirks. It's certainly not annoying, but it isn't a joy to listen to.
  43. Steph
    Feb 7, 2007
    9
    Heaven..this music is so beautiful, it conjures up the fantastical and archaic. Newsom's music transcends the ordinary.
  44. johnd
    Mar 9, 2007
    10
    If you don't like this album, you don't like music: it's that simple. There have been many albums released in the last deacade but none of them leave you as stunned as this. Perfect!
  45. JA
    May 22, 2007
    10
    Definitely one you have to be in the mood for. But wow, when the time is right, this album is pure magic. Phenomenally gorgeous and totally original.
  46. ja
    Jul 3, 2007
    10
    Gorgeous. Her occasionally screechy vocals will deter many potential listeners, but if you can get around those sparodic moments in the songs, you'll find an absolutely brilliant album filled with stirring music and beautiful imagery. It is fantastical, yet her humanity still comes across clearly.
  47. DelP.
    Aug 16, 2007
    10
    This is an utterly brilliant album from start to finish. The melodies on songs like "Emily" and "Only Skin" still send shivvers down my spine. Took me some time to get into this but once I did it was all I could listen to for a couple of months. I understand that this is an album that some people may not "get" and that Joanna's voice may be irritating to some but you cannot knock the This is an utterly brilliant album from start to finish. The melodies on songs like "Emily" and "Only Skin" still send shivvers down my spine. Took me some time to get into this but once I did it was all I could listen to for a couple of months. I understand that this is an album that some people may not "get" and that Joanna's voice may be irritating to some but you cannot knock the songs. The melodies are of the sort that you find yourself singing in your head at night whilst you try to sleep and the lyrical content is not far off brilliant. If you buy this album, please give it a chance!!!! Collapse
  48. cmiiiiicmi
    Sep 9, 2007
    10
    It makes me smile.
  49. BrandonV.
    Oct 30, 2008
    10
    Tim Kasher and I once had a conversation about Joanna Newsom. we concluded that she is an olive artist. you either love her or hate her. We love her. "If Joanna Newsom is doing well, music is doing well." YS, this is an amazing album. a sound that actually is new. her songwriting and lyrics are genius. but again, thats just my opinion. i really like olives.
  50. Jaaaaamed
    Jun 18, 2008
    10
    Remember the first time you discovered music-- I think for most of the people I know, and certainly for myself, it happened in my early teens. Indeed, throughout my teenage years(the time I was most passionate about music.) I fell in love with many different kinds of music. Now that I am older, even if I can recognize the brilliance or majesty of a new artist, song, record, or whatever--I Remember the first time you discovered music-- I think for most of the people I know, and certainly for myself, it happened in my early teens. Indeed, throughout my teenage years(the time I was most passionate about music.) I fell in love with many different kinds of music. Now that I am older, even if I can recognize the brilliance or majesty of a new artist, song, record, or whatever--I rarely fall in love with it. Ys is a compleatly different story. The songs long winding arts, the flashes of brilliant lyrics interspersed with pretensious lyric word play--it all captured me in a way hat make me feel young again. This cd has moved more than anything I have heard in the last 5 years with the exception of rasputina and kristen hersh----buy this record---ms. newsome youthful aspirations, musical ambitions, and literary intricacy are unlike anything else around. Expand
  51. PerspicaciousCritic
    Nov 13, 2006
    8
    Y[e]s!
  52. KurtD
    Nov 13, 2006
    10
    Perfect.
  53. RyanL
    Nov 14, 2006
    10
    It took 11 months but we finally have a genuine album of the year.
  54. MikeM
    Nov 15, 2006
    10
    Gorgeous, inspiring.
  55. MagillaGorilla
    Nov 15, 2006
    9
    Like Bjork's little sister weened on broken American dreams and visions of Angels. Thoughtful, mysterious, and curious. Most enjoyable in every way. What is up with Rolling Stone? 2 stars/"hard to stomach" typical Boomer mentality. hey, d'ja hear the new Bob Seger?
  56. GeraM
    Nov 15, 2006
    10
    "Hard to swallow." Wow RS, I think you should just go sit down and listen to Fergie's album cos ur out of ur leage. Just in! RS has lost all credibility! Oh no, wait that was about 15 years ago..
  57. Gman
    Nov 16, 2006
    10
    I was beginning to think nobody could make an album as stunning, original and unique as Astral weeks/Starsailor/Horses/Miss America/Rock Bottom/Sixty Nine/The Marble Index etc but here it is. Not so much album of the year as album of the decade by several miles. I hear a lot of music of various genres and this towers above everything else I've come across in a long while. It does I was beginning to think nobody could make an album as stunning, original and unique as Astral weeks/Starsailor/Horses/Miss America/Rock Bottom/Sixty Nine/The Marble Index etc but here it is. Not so much album of the year as album of the decade by several miles. I hear a lot of music of various genres and this towers above everything else I've come across in a long while. It does take a few listens before it completely makes sense and takes over your soul but then all the best albums do. Albums that sound great on first listen generally sound crap on the twentieth. This will sound even more stunning on the 500th listen than it does now. Expand
  58. BillY
    Nov 17, 2006
    10
    An album like this only comes along once in a pink moon. It will take a little while to appreciate, which only adds to its longevity. Masterful.
  59. ToddW
    Nov 20, 2006
    9
    In Joanna Newsom we have someone whose lyrics are deep and literate, whose music is stylistically different in that it primarily features her on the harp, and who is attractive to boot. That must mean her album deserves a 4, right Rolling Stone? Take a look below: 100, 100, 100...94...et al, and then, lo and behold, we have Rolling Stone with a 40. Talk about blowing an opportunity to In Joanna Newsom we have someone whose lyrics are deep and literate, whose music is stylistically different in that it primarily features her on the harp, and who is attractive to boot. That must mean her album deserves a 4, right Rolling Stone? Take a look below: 100, 100, 100...94...et al, and then, lo and behold, we have Rolling Stone with a 40. Talk about blowing an opportunity to make amends for the miles of wasted newsprint spent extolling the no-talents and or has-beens currently filling our nation's airwaves. The truly sad thing is the sheep still think Rolling Stone is the outlet of choice for highlighting quality music in our sick culture. No wonder one needs a biohazard suit to listen to today's popular music when you've got scenester wanna-bes like Jann Wenner leading the band. I apologize for them all, Joanna. Everything about you is simply too far ahead of the curve for those simpletons to even begin to comprehend. You have graced the 'aughts with a strikingly close approximation to both Astral Weeks and "Desolation Row" ("Sawdust and Diamonds"), and predictably Rolling Stone slaps you with two stars. Its writers refuse to accept that mindblowing, groundbreaking music is still being produced today, even if you have to really pay attention to it, as they wistfully clutch their tattered copies of Revolver tight to their chests. And, ironically, any time an old timer releases a new album, you can guarantee it'll get anywhere from four to five stars from these ink-stained sycophants. Very unYs. Expand
  60. PhillipL
    Nov 23, 2006
    10
    An entrancing album, it's taken hold of me and won't let go. I can understand that some might not like it, but to me it is one of the best things I've ever heard.
  61. RosieR
    Nov 25, 2006
    10
    Original in the best sense of the term. Newsom is one of the finest lyricists around, and this is an album I will be playing for a long time to come.
  62. JonoS
    Nov 27, 2006
    2
    Sometimes she just sings without really singing a melody. Other times, she has a melody but it's a totally unremarkable one. The arrangements would be nice if it weren't for the fact that the vocals are supposed to integrate into them. Not only do the arrangements lack coherence, but so do the different moments of the songs.
  63. sturnb
    Nov 28, 2006
    3
    I don't get this. First Sulfjan Stevens, The Decembrists now this...Maybe there is some intellectual payoff at the end of this pretentious self fellating journey but who cares? What happened to having pop songs? This ain't Tolstoy so why pretend it is?
  64. JMan
    Nov 28, 2006
    10
    'Y's' is without a doubt the album of the year. It may not be for everybody, but there is not one other artist who has made this strong and original sounding record this year.
  65. JaredB.
    Nov 29, 2006
    9
    i've never seen so many people angry because someone *likes* something before. this record isn't for everyone, but a surprising number of people find a lot to love about this difficult, but ultimately rewarding album. even if you never warm to it, please try not to be as closed-minded as the poster below me. sheesh.
  66. ChrisC
    Nov 29, 2006
    10
    Great album. One of the best of the year. The only people who don't like it seem to be the ones who hate anything the critics like because they like calling people they disagree with 'pretentious'.
  67. NeilS
    Nov 30, 2006
    6
    ive found alot of great albums from critics this year... this unfortanetly is not one of them. Im a big fan of everytype of music but there are so many aspects of this album that are hard to stomach..her voice sometimes can be beautiful but more often than not become grading. one of the most overrated albums of the year. Saying that some of the arrangements especially on Cosmia are ive found alot of great albums from critics this year... this unfortanetly is not one of them. Im a big fan of everytype of music but there are so many aspects of this album that are hard to stomach..her voice sometimes can be beautiful but more often than not become grading. one of the most overrated albums of the year. Saying that some of the arrangements especially on Cosmia are excellent. I never understand y ppl give 1's, those are restricted for actually awful albums. Expand
  68. BOBL
    Nov 30, 2006
    10
    I think it's gorgeous. It's even better performed live.
  69. LizT
    Dec 11, 2006
    9
    It takes some acclimatising to, but I tend to find that the best albums do... fab, involving and I have a feeling there's more to come the more I listen to it...
  70. TeresaK
    Dec 21, 2006
    10
    This album is extremely addicting. Normally I would not be able to sit through a 17 minute song, but the way the instruments build and the lyrics tell a tale is just amazing. Yes, she has an unconventional singing voice, but I think it makes the album more interesting and gives it personality. Give this album a chance, and you will fall in love with it.
  71. othos
    Dec 2, 2006
    6
    Not my cup of tea, but kudos to Ms. Newsom for trying something different. She sounds like the love child of Scott Walker and Kate Bush. While I would not purchase this CD, I can't summarily dismiss it, a la Ken H, Sturn B and especially Brian D, about whom the phrase "Rolling Stone is a good publication and I trust...their critics" tells you all you need to know about his taste.
  72. GImp
    Dec 2, 2006
    10
    If you want pop songs go and buy a Britney Spears record. This is a masterpiece. Claiming that this is pretentious is, frankly, ridiculous. Oh, and Tolstoy sucks.
  73. icicle
    Dec 20, 2006
    10
    Either you love her or you don't, though I think those who don't are utterly missing the point and refusing to open their minds. This album is nothing short of total genius. Joanna Newsom is one of the most talented people living.
  74. SD
    Dec 26, 2006
    10
    We have seen the birth of a modern-day classic. It was a weak year for us music lovers, but Ys redeems it with much beauty and grace.
  75. ChrisL
    Dec 3, 2006
    10
    Joanna Newsom is one of the most original and vital musical artists performing today. What she's created isn't a critic pleaser; it's just a really refreshing, heartfelt, ambitious set of songs that resonates with people on an emotional level. To be completely honest, I'm a little surprised that so many people like Ys given its rather challenging nature, but it's Joanna Newsom is one of the most original and vital musical artists performing today. What she's created isn't a critic pleaser; it's just a really refreshing, heartfelt, ambitious set of songs that resonates with people on an emotional level. To be completely honest, I'm a little surprised that so many people like Ys given its rather challenging nature, but it's nice to know that other people "get" it because that means she'll get the attention she deserves. A brief note to the those who seem bent on endlessly maligning something that they don't understand: before you go and label people or works of art "pretentious," make sure you look the word up in the dictionary and fully grasp its meaning. Ignorantly tossing around words you don't comprehend is by a much greater degree more pretentious than anything present on this album. Expand
  76. RJ
    Dec 4, 2006
    10
    I could respond to Brian D's whole pretentious nonsense, but what is the point. This album should be averaging higher in my opinion. I love the voice, I am not sure why some people won't give it a chance. I think it is a much more rewarding and satisyfing album than anything else this year (I haven't made it through all of Orphans yet). I also think this album will be I could respond to Brian D's whole pretentious nonsense, but what is the point. This album should be averaging higher in my opinion. I love the voice, I am not sure why some people won't give it a chance. I think it is a much more rewarding and satisyfing album than anything else this year (I haven't made it through all of Orphans yet). I also think this album will be talked about for years to come, as albums this unique and compellling are rare. My highest recommendation! And, I would never trust a Rolling Stone review to begin with, but that review is the most ill informed and written review of a record I have seen in some time. Expand
  77. Unjaded
    Dec 5, 2006
    9
    There's room for pulpy romance novels in the world, just as there's room for Tolstoy. So there should be room for far-reaching musical inventiveness alongside The Killers, The Ramones, or Britney. Why be so hostile when something like Ys comes along and grabs peoples' imaginations? Isn't it easier not to care if people are moved by something you find pretentious? There's room for pulpy romance novels in the world, just as there's room for Tolstoy. So there should be room for far-reaching musical inventiveness alongside The Killers, The Ramones, or Britney. Why be so hostile when something like Ys comes along and grabs peoples' imaginations? Isn't it easier not to care if people are moved by something you find pretentious? Isn't it just as valid to say "I don't get it" instead of "you're all pretentiously self-fellating"? Doesn't it show you to be no less cynical and elitist than how you perceive the critics and fans who take to this music to be? Expand
  78. MihaiV
    Dec 6, 2006
    9
    I don't get people that insult others just becouse they have different tastes. It's all subjective anyway. What's wrong with beeing different? What's wrong wanting something more then pop? I like this album a lot. I also like Radiohead. Must be a real pretencios snob.
  79. IvyB
    Dec 6, 2006
    9
    this is a comment i have wanted to write for a long time and it doesn't only count for joana newsom's new album. it's a general remark. my point is, that if you don't like (or know) a genre or style in music, then you shouldn't write about it. if you love pop or rock or rap but not folk, then don't come and tell the people who dó like this kind of folk this is a comment i have wanted to write for a long time and it doesn't only count for joana newsom's new album. it's a general remark. my point is, that if you don't like (or know) a genre or style in music, then you shouldn't write about it. if you love pop or rock or rap but not folk, then don't come and tell the people who dó like this kind of folk (or whatever you want to call joana's music... in fact i hate putting labels on artists) that this album sucks. e.g. i have no connection whatsoever with r&b and rap, so i don't give comments on r&b and rap albums. there are certain styles in music that move people, that touch people. if you were touched by joana's first album, but are disappointed in the second one, this is the place to express that feeling of disappointment. for a real music fan, it's all about emotion. if you feel blue, you'll listen to melancholic music. if you're angry, you'll listen to agressive music. if you're happy, you'll listen to the red album by the beatles... joana's music goes with a lot of different emotions, but if you feel none of them, then don't post comments on her albums, please. it's pointless... as far as my opinion goes; i find "ys" an inspiring and refreshing soundscape. it's full of paradoxes. it's old and it's new. it's happy and it's sad. it's crazy and it's elaborated... this album deserves the attention that it gets. but it's a shame it should evoke such disrespectful comments. Expand
  80. PmD
    Dec 7, 2006
    10
    This album isn't for everyone. It's not pop- it's not easy to classify at all! It's the best music I've heard in years- the composition, lyricism, passion, and texture leave me in a state of wonder. I wish I could be more articulate about what makes this so awe-inspiring. Wow, wow, wow.
  81. Josh
    Dec 7, 2006
    9
    I can't believe some of these comments. Pretentious!? Difficult!? Christ, THIS SHIT IS EASY LISTENING. WTF are you people hearing. I mean God, maybe I'm just dense, but I fournd this album to be entirely melodic, very lyrical, and completely engaging; even upon first listen. The production is stellar, the string arrangements are spectacular, the prouct is top notch. If you I can't believe some of these comments. Pretentious!? Difficult!? Christ, THIS SHIT IS EASY LISTENING. WTF are you people hearing. I mean God, maybe I'm just dense, but I fournd this album to be entirely melodic, very lyrical, and completely engaging; even upon first listen. The production is stellar, the string arrangements are spectacular, the prouct is top notch. If you can't get past a slightly unconventional vocalist in this day and age you've got issues. Expand
  82. ChristinaT
    Dec 9, 2006
    10
    I'd just like to point out that most of the reviews on here are mostly either a 9-10 or a 2-0. Joanna is an artist you either get, or you don't. You can't just someone's talent based on how her voice sounds, that's just how she sings. And if you even study her lyrics for one minute, you can see she is an accomplished writer and has a very firm grasp of the english I'd just like to point out that most of the reviews on here are mostly either a 9-10 or a 2-0. Joanna is an artist you either get, or you don't. You can't just someone's talent based on how her voice sounds, that's just how she sings. And if you even study her lyrics for one minute, you can see she is an accomplished writer and has a very firm grasp of the english language and is a fantastic lyricist. Her harp playing? I'm a harpist and I'm here to tell you she's amazing. The fact that she tried something new is noted by everyone, in the good and bad reviews, so I think that everyone should look at Ys based on the way every other album is looked at. Are the lyrics good and is the music good? Yes and yes. If you don't like her voice, that's your taste, and is no reason to put the other aspects down. If you honestly can't stomach it, go listen to some regular old regular-voiced singer with a regular old session band. Expand
  83. MicheleF.
    Nov 12, 2007
    10
    Incredibly original, wonderful poetry in song.
  84. HannahG
    Jan 15, 2007
    6
    I expect that after this I shall be accused of not being 'open-minded.' Whatever. I've listened to this album several times over. I don't get it. I find her affected, her lyrics overwrought. Sad, because she's got something going with that harp of hers. This is coming from one who has on occasion, 'pretentious.' I recommend that people listen to this I expect that after this I shall be accused of not being 'open-minded.' Whatever. I've listened to this album several times over. I don't get it. I find her affected, her lyrics overwrought. Sad, because she's got something going with that harp of hers. This is coming from one who has on occasion, 'pretentious.' I recommend that people listen to this album on the sole basis of the controversy it has fomented. Now, Karen Dalton: she got it!!! Expand
  85. SteveB
    Jan 16, 2007
    10
    Absolutely stunning accomplishment. Living in an age where we have paired music down from the brilliant to just the simple moronic, this is gold. If a two-step rhythm is your standard, you will hate this. Otherwise, it is timeless. (Ys = wise) = Essential
  86. AndrewH
    Jan 19, 2007
    10
    I was initially put off by her voice, which I thought too twee and annoying. But looking beyond the sound of her voice to the words, then the songs themselves, a huge talent and obvious passion for music is revealed. Having just seen this LP performed live here in London, I can attest to its power when given air to breath. Rather than looking for coherent stories in her lyrics, instead I I was initially put off by her voice, which I thought too twee and annoying. But looking beyond the sound of her voice to the words, then the songs themselves, a huge talent and obvious passion for music is revealed. Having just seen this LP performed live here in London, I can attest to its power when given air to breath. Rather than looking for coherent stories in her lyrics, instead I enjoy the lyrical flights of fancy, in much the same way as a great hiphop MC plays with words and the feelings they evoke. For me, this is a musical accomplishment second to none - thank God there are people like Newsom making music these days! Expand
  87. doesitmatter
    Jan 19, 2007
    1
    Annoying.
  88. BillG
    Jan 22, 2007
    8
    Joanna is brilliant, but I would definitely put her in a different category from other artists out there. You can't compare cutting-edge hip hop artists to long-dead classical composers: they're apples and oranges. In her arena, Newsom is undeniable. I personally thought Milk Eyed Mender deserved a 10; Ys works a little longer and harder to 'get to the point' so to Joanna is brilliant, but I would definitely put her in a different category from other artists out there. You can't compare cutting-edge hip hop artists to long-dead classical composers: they're apples and oranges. In her arena, Newsom is undeniable. I personally thought Milk Eyed Mender deserved a 10; Ys works a little longer and harder to 'get to the point' so to speak. Impressive, compelling, new--but not her best to date. Expand
  89. MisaelM
    Jan 22, 2007
    8
    First, The Album It's Like Taking a Breath Of Fresh Air, It's Something New, A New Voice a Not-So-New Instrument but it was rarely used, I'm Not Saying That It's Complete Musical Awsomness or a Random Record, I Like It, I Really Do Her Stories are Beautiful as Well as The Sound Of The Harp, her voice can be a little piercing at the beggining but you get used to it and First, The Album It's Like Taking a Breath Of Fresh Air, It's Something New, A New Voice a Not-So-New Instrument but it was rarely used, I'm Not Saying That It's Complete Musical Awsomness or a Random Record, I Like It, I Really Do Her Stories are Beautiful as Well as The Sound Of The Harp, her voice can be a little piercing at the beggining but you get used to it and you learn how to love that voice as the record plays. Second, get over yourselves! you can't listen to a whole record without thinking about the tags? If it's for "cool pretencious kids" doesn't mean it's not a good record, I'm Sure That Joanna Didn't Mean to aim that kind of audience. Third, She Kicks Ass Live. Expand
  90. nina
    Jan 23, 2007
    10
    absolutely amazing. the stories are hidden in the lyrics and sure it takes to find them, but oh my lord.. i'm lost & i think i don't want to be found
  91. andrewc
    Jan 24, 2007
    9
    it was a great album, beautifully built i thought. Bit too fanicical for me to take it seriously though
  92. GraceC
    Jan 5, 2007
    9
    Man. Some of the people giving 'Ys' low scores need to be more tolerant of others with different opinions. That sort of attitude is what leads to wars and terrorism. IMHO, 'Ys' is a beautiful album which rewards repeated listenings. The first two songs aren't as good as the other three (which is why I knocked my rating down a point), but even those songs are good Man. Some of the people giving 'Ys' low scores need to be more tolerant of others with different opinions. That sort of attitude is what leads to wars and terrorism. IMHO, 'Ys' is a beautiful album which rewards repeated listenings. The first two songs aren't as good as the other three (which is why I knocked my rating down a point), but even those songs are good as well. PS: Ys is named after a mythical city in Brittany. Also, Rolling Stone suck. Kthxbai. Expand
  93. daveg
    Feb 1, 2007
    10
    how anyone could possibly give this album a score of 0 is absolutely and completely beyond me. once i heard this album i was changed. newsom is an indisputable master of her craft. her lyrics are mysteriously and poetically beautiful, and her skill at the harp transcends the impossible grace that may be used to describe it. her melodies are near perfect, and are shaped by her incredible how anyone could possibly give this album a score of 0 is absolutely and completely beyond me. once i heard this album i was changed. newsom is an indisputable master of her craft. her lyrics are mysteriously and poetically beautiful, and her skill at the harp transcends the impossible grace that may be used to describe it. her melodies are near perfect, and are shaped by her incredible prowess as a composer and musician. i am not exaggerating. do not dismiss this album for its quirky first impressions! it will, without a doubt, become one of the great classics of our time. Expand
  94. JoeM
    Feb 6, 2007
    10
    I hate to say things like "certain people just don't understand it," but looking at how polarized the reviews are and then seeing that the reason many gave Ys a 0 was Newsom's "bad" singing voice makes me believe it more and more. . . I'm not by any means a music snob, but anyone who knows a bit about music and is willing to look beyond an unconventional voice will fall in I hate to say things like "certain people just don't understand it," but looking at how polarized the reviews are and then seeing that the reason many gave Ys a 0 was Newsom's "bad" singing voice makes me believe it more and more. . . I'm not by any means a music snob, but anyone who knows a bit about music and is willing to look beyond an unconventional voice will fall in love with this album immediately. I still can't stop listening. Expand
  95. tp
    Mar 8, 2007
    0
    i am disappointed i had to give a rating of at least 0, i would have given it -1. her voice irritates me to NO END. i wonder why she is even allowed to record an album??!!??!!?????
  96. brittac
    Apr 15, 2007
    9
    listen to this album while reading neil gaiman's stardust.. haha.. i did just by chance and it was quite the experience.. there is absolutely NO way to describe this woman's creation, it's just beyond words what she does with her music.. she basically pulls you directly into an unimaginably whimsical [i keep using that word in my reviews but i can't think of a better listen to this album while reading neil gaiman's stardust.. haha.. i did just by chance and it was quite the experience.. there is absolutely NO way to describe this woman's creation, it's just beyond words what she does with her music.. she basically pulls you directly into an unimaginably whimsical [i keep using that word in my reviews but i can't think of a better one] world and leaves you feeling fulfilled-like you just finished an awesome fantasy novel.. it sticks with you like a good story too.. some people can't stand the squeaks in her voice, but you really just need to get past that and appreciate the album for what it is as a whole.. it's a masterpiece with no equal. Expand
  97. DarneeQ
    Aug 24, 2007
    10
    Unique in many ways, and I'm not just trying to be "arty" or "cultured" here. Joanna builds a theatre of sound with her vox and harp as well as any. All of these complex themes may be too much for many in this day and age; read uncultured America. Anyone with an appreciation and love of the ART of music will appreciate this. To those of you who don't get it, well there are Unique in many ways, and I'm not just trying to be "arty" or "cultured" here. Joanna builds a theatre of sound with her vox and harp as well as any. All of these complex themes may be too much for many in this day and age; read uncultured America. Anyone with an appreciation and love of the ART of music will appreciate this. To those of you who don't get it, well there are plenty of albums out there for you too. Mariah, Celine, Brittny, Avril, etc. Have fun. Expand
  98. pix1011
    Aug 31, 2007
    0
    I just can't get through this album... I've managed to listen to half of each of the tracks, but just don't get it! It's rough stuff!!! Maybe I should start listening to the Top 40 charts or something 'cos I just don't get some of the stuff getting all this hype these days!?
  99. SteveP.
    Mar 24, 2009
    10
    Even now, 2½ years on from its release, this album stands head and shoulders above anything else of the last 40 years: it has such complexity and is so finely crafted, but it is presented in an accessible, alluring manner. No other album offers so many different nuances that no matter how many times I hear it, there's always a new facet to enjoy.
  100. AnalogueSound
    Jul 1, 2009
    10
    An absolute masterpiece in the history of Music. Obviously, if people find it difficult to understand, it's not a blame of these works.
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. It’s to her great credit that Newsom (literally) plucks artistic triumph from the jaws of cloying whimsy.
  2. It may well be the most off-putting album released this year. After playing it, there seems every chance it is the also the most astonishing.
  3. Newsom has managed to lessen the twee factor of her last record... in the process crafting an album as bewitching as it is odd.