Ys

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 338 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 338

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. CraigH
    Dec 18, 2006
    10
    At first glance (listen) it can easily seem like Newsom is out to prove something and using a nerdy rennaissance theme to boot. But after repeated listening, it is apparent that she is completely capable of acheiving her goal without a smirk or hint of irony. That her lyrics are thick and poetic, in the strongest sense of the word, is intimidating, while at the same time her vocals grow At first glance (listen) it can easily seem like Newsom is out to prove something and using a nerdy rennaissance theme to boot. But after repeated listening, it is apparent that she is completely capable of acheiving her goal without a smirk or hint of irony. That her lyrics are thick and poetic, in the strongest sense of the word, is intimidating, while at the same time her vocals grow powerfully passionate and honest with each listen. Her unique vocal style is so distinct that many are hung up by it and fail to proceed to the passion within. As you decypher the poetry and emerse yourself in her flight of fancy, you understand the depth and sincerity of this monumental work. It's stunning that at such a young age, she has succeeded in not only being an incredibly talented musician, but attacking a project this large while carving out her own unique style. Incredible, smart writing+talented musician+unique style+depth and sincerity=too much for some! This is a monumental piece that will go down in history as an artistic triumph! Expand
  2. JacksonG
    Dec 2, 2006
    7
    Dear Brian D: You are a jackass. Giving this album a 1 totally over looks this album's accomplishments. Yes, it's hard to stomach, yes, it can seem precocious. But, if you can manage to open up a bit, you'll notice that the music is gorgeous. To get off the subject of the album for a second, Brian D, how can you tell people to "Get over yourselves" when you're the one Dear Brian D: You are a jackass. Giving this album a 1 totally over looks this album's accomplishments. Yes, it's hard to stomach, yes, it can seem precocious. But, if you can manage to open up a bit, you'll notice that the music is gorgeous. To get off the subject of the album for a second, Brian D, how can you tell people to "Get over yourselves" when you're the one who feels that you're taste in music is so superior. P.S. Rolling Stone hasn't covered good music in years. When was the last time they put someone on the cover who deserved it? Expand
  3. JyotirmayaD
    Dec 2, 2006
    8
    I loved what parts of this CD I was allowed to hear at the store; it jumped out at me as something which was definitely worth my money. Now, having said that, I just wish I could hear more of Joanna's beautiful soprano which comes and goes all too quickly for I am not very fond of her medeavel wench voice (or whatever you want to call it -- it's just weird to me and hard for me I loved what parts of this CD I was allowed to hear at the store; it jumped out at me as something which was definitely worth my money. Now, having said that, I just wish I could hear more of Joanna's beautiful soprano which comes and goes all too quickly for I am not very fond of her medeavel wench voice (or whatever you want to call it -- it's just weird to me and hard for me to stomach). But there is no denying that it is an album of considerable artistic achievement. Comparisons to Bjork are not unfounded and I like Bjork also, but these kinds of albums are not my favorites. I will take the reviewers' advice and let it grow on me (see if it grows on me more anyway) and listen to it when i hear it calling for me to hear something totally different. But, yes, very well done, Joanna. Expand
  4. EranR
    Dec 29, 2006
    10
    Excellent in every aspect!
  5. TopCat
    Dec 31, 2006
    9
    Haunting - keeps me coming back
  6. [Anonymous]
    Dec 5, 2006
    10
    Rolling Stone has been irrelevant for years. Ys is one of the most enchanting albums, I have ever listened to.
  7. AdamH
    Dec 6, 2006
    8
    Very good cd. reminds me of an epic poem with wonderful lyrics. she assumes an air of confidence that makes her great.
  8. ajayp
    Mar 29, 2007
    9
    out of this world, new, refreshing, magical, beautiful and truly lovely to hear.
  9. MarkF
    Mar 31, 2007
    10
    Beautiful, and highly stimulating if you like poetic lyrics, a classical sensibility, and the spirit of artistic endeavour. A masterpiece that I can enjoy again and again.
  10. Cait
    Jul 12, 2007
    10
    Perfect. Read the Pitchfork review. You love it or you hate it. If you don't like it, it probably won't grow on you, and I pity you.
  11. Paul
    Oct 13, 2008
    10
    Beautiful Album. Just evokes the full range of emotions.
  12. ChristianD.
    Mar 18, 2008
    10
    I have currently been examining monkey and bear, I get chills just reading a few lines. this is classical masterpieces with brilliant poetry that seeps into your head and cuddles you in a blanket of ease. if green day is more of your music I would not suggest listening to this as it might put you in a comma.
  13. ZacC.
    May 17, 2008
    10
    Quite simply one of the most beautiful records I can think of. Everything is lush and flowing. The lyrics and orchestration are nothing short of amazing.
  14. JoanS
    Nov 29, 2009
    10
    Magical!! 2006's Masterpiece! Too bad some people just can see it, thank god critics and the big majority saw what i saw and what i felt! Ys is pure magic! Just give it a try! If you can't see how unique her voice, her harp, her lyrics, her music it's your problem. This days people just want easy music, the hooks! She's so much more than that. It's not because you Magical!! 2006's Masterpiece! Too bad some people just can see it, thank god critics and the big majority saw what i saw and what i felt! Ys is pure magic! Just give it a try! If you can't see how unique her voice, her harp, her lyrics, her music it's your problem. This days people just want easy music, the hooks! She's so much more than that. It's not because you like tori amos or kate bush that means you will like it. Joanna Newsom is unique and she's an acquired taste, you love or hate it. I ADORE! Expand
  15. AlexP.
    Feb 18, 2009
    10
    When I first listened to this album, I was confused. I liked the harp and doubly so the orchestral overtones, but found the songs rambly and actively disliked her voice. I was somewhat intrigued, but also rather offput. After giving it a long rest, I came back and listened to the song Emily, which for some reason decided to grab me and cling on for dear life. I found myself humming When I first listened to this album, I was confused. I liked the harp and doubly so the orchestral overtones, but found the songs rambly and actively disliked her voice. I was somewhat intrigued, but also rather offput. After giving it a long rest, I came back and listened to the song Emily, which for some reason decided to grab me and cling on for dear life. I found myself humming snippets of tune in the shower. The more I listened to it, the more I realized how much nuance there is in this music, and what seemed rambly before was actually a fully populated world of sound filled with interesting audio minutia. Eventually, I got used to the voice, and the other songs on this album grew on me, with the exception of Cosmia, which is the only misstep on the entire album. Now, after many listens, I believe that this album is simply brilliant and I can't remember the last time something held my attention for so many listens (maybe System of a Down's Mesmerize/Hypnotize). You will either love it, or you will hate it, and there's really no in between. And for those of you who can't get past the voice, you are missing something truly wonderful here. Expand
  16. KyleB
    Nov 12, 2006
    10
    Album of the decade.
  17. TomB
    Nov 13, 2006
    8
    It's like the best thing that I'll only ever listen to once.
  18. aldoa
    Nov 14, 2006
    10
    rolling stone is the dumbest publication on earth.
  19. ClaireT
    Nov 14, 2006
    10
    Simply beautiful :).
  20. JohnM
    Nov 15, 2006
    10
    WOW.
  21. LianN
    Nov 15, 2006
    10
    Just perfect. That's all.
  22. JustinB
    Nov 15, 2006
    10
    rarely does any artist ever reach such high levels of accomplishment with any piece of music. "Ys" is really too good to explain, only listening will do it justice.
  23. RickH
    Nov 15, 2006
    8
    Though only five songs, they will continue to reveal themselves to me for years. Every pass over this album has been so different.
  24. BrendtR
    Nov 15, 2006
    10
    Album of the year. Hands down.
  25. Audrey
    Nov 15, 2006
    9
    This is an amazing piece of art, something that I have come to enjoy more with every listen.
  26. VicsO
    Nov 16, 2006
    10
    album of the year, period.
  27. EvanS
    Nov 17, 2006
    9
    Rolling Stone can kiss my puckered pool hole for all I care. I don't want nuts...oh, wait. Um, this is the album of the year.
  28. LonelyGurl
    Nov 18, 2006
    10
    Magically Fantastically Romantically Amazingly Gorgeous
  29. TomP
    Nov 18, 2006
    10
    Stunning. Although at times I can understand some qualms expressed about about it, that I've had 7 or 8 melodies from the album simultaneously running through my mind, later rotating to others, at all times over the last week is something I cannot say about any album I've heard in my life. I can't stop listening to it. Whatever you want to say about pretention, overwriting, Stunning. Although at times I can understand some qualms expressed about about it, that I've had 7 or 8 melodies from the album simultaneously running through my mind, later rotating to others, at all times over the last week is something I cannot say about any album I've heard in my life. I can't stop listening to it. Whatever you want to say about pretention, overwriting, whatever... the music is simply just too good for me to care. Expand
  30. AlD
    Nov 19, 2006
    10
    An extremely ambitious album that actually achieves its ambitions. Incredibly rich, complex and subtle, it needs to be heard many times to be fully absorbed, but for me, repeated listens are easy. This is about as good as music can be.
  31. johnc
    Nov 21, 2006
    8
    This is not my normal indulgence, but a couple of these songs are perfect. Give the girl a chance. Does it get a tad pretentious, sure. But ambition is important and she has a singular approach that can only humble you.
  32. TaylorF
    Nov 22, 2006
    10
    Stunningly beautiful with lyrics that will play with your head. So close to perfect it's scary. Screw you, rolling stone.
  33. TristramC
    Nov 22, 2006
    10
    You know how everyone lost their mind over Sufjan Steven's 'Illinois' in 2005 and it was this event and you could get pure glee from playing it for your cool indie friends & regular people alike? Remeber how universal awe was the response every time and it only made you anticipate the look on the next persons face your played it for? That album, that joy, that event for You know how everyone lost their mind over Sufjan Steven's 'Illinois' in 2005 and it was this event and you could get pure glee from playing it for your cool indie friends & regular people alike? Remeber how universal awe was the response every time and it only made you anticipate the look on the next persons face your played it for? That album, that joy, that event for 2006 is 'Ys'. Its as ambitious and OK Computer tight-roping between skyscrapers on fishing line (just like Illinois was) and its similarly intricate and gorgeous and poetic. And its overwhelming the first time you hear it. And it offers layers of new reward to those who peel the onion. Anyone coming in without hearing her debut will have to get used to her high-pitched voice, but that's also less squeeky than on 'Milk-Eyed Mender'. Van Dyke Parks' stamp is readily obvious to anyone who has heard 'Orange Crate Art'. I was initially excited about the freak-folk scene when Devendra Banhart's Rejoicing In the Hands was my favorite album of 2004 but 'Ys' overtakes that record and will probably go down as the San Fransisco's most important moment since the last time freaky folkies congregated there. As far as the present is concerned, the scene is now impossible to ignore. Espers, Vetiver, White Magic, Devendra, all of them are led by Joanna brandishiing her druidic quarterstaff making their mark on pop history. Expand
  34. ReidA
    Nov 26, 2006
    10
    Beautiful...i cannot stop listening to it.
  35. jasonb
    Nov 28, 2006
    10
    best album of the year... no contest
  36. anna
    Nov 29, 2006
    10
    there is something completely inspiring about this album, from the lyrics to the classical musical arrangements newsom proves she is a novel force to be reckoned with in the music world. if you are a fan of music you have a moral obligation to listen to this entire album.
  37. AaronA
    Dec 15, 2006
    10
    One of the best albums I've ever heard.
  38. ReubenF
    Dec 18, 2006
    7
    Joanna Newsom is one of the most interesting artists around - there isn't many other harpist singer-songwriters out there. While her distinctive voice adds to her cult appeal, it also makes it unlikely she will ever 'break-out' and do well on the charts. I sometimes wonder whether she would be better served as part of a duo, with someone else singing - though no doubt that Joanna Newsom is one of the most interesting artists around - there isn't many other harpist singer-songwriters out there. While her distinctive voice adds to her cult appeal, it also makes it unlikely she will ever 'break-out' and do well on the charts. I sometimes wonder whether she would be better served as part of a duo, with someone else singing - though no doubt that would be sacrilege to her fans. Expand
  39. felipe.
    Dec 21, 2006
    8
    some time ago i thought that her voice was REALLY terrible. but then,i think she won me up with these 10-minute songs,great job. :}
  40. DylanM
    Dec 22, 2006
    10
    My favorite album of all time. This is simply the most beautiful and emotional music I have ever heard. The epic scope, the haunting melodies, the expressive lyrics, the way she seems to pour her heart and soul into every song, it just all washes over me and sometimes overwhelms me. It's so good that I have a hard time going a day without listening to it, which worries me because I My favorite album of all time. This is simply the most beautiful and emotional music I have ever heard. The epic scope, the haunting melodies, the expressive lyrics, the way she seems to pour her heart and soul into every song, it just all washes over me and sometimes overwhelms me. It's so good that I have a hard time going a day without listening to it, which worries me because I don't want to ever get tired of this. A true masterpiece. Expand
  41. KateM
    Nov 29, 2008
    10
    I got this on the basis of the fantastic reviews. When I first put it on, I went 'what the hell', and hated it. I came back and listened to it later, and little bits and pieces struck out- mostly the music, but some of the lyrics too. Now I love it. This is a record that rewards repeated listening. I'm still not crazy about some of the lyrics, but her love of language is I got this on the basis of the fantastic reviews. When I first put it on, I went 'what the hell', and hated it. I came back and listened to it later, and little bits and pieces struck out- mostly the music, but some of the lyrics too. Now I love it. This is a record that rewards repeated listening. I'm still not crazy about some of the lyrics, but her love of language is obvious and some of the lines are beautiful. Expand
  42. Dec 24, 2010
    10
    Magnificent album. Those who have a problem with her voice: you have the problem, which is a pity for you to then not appreciate this, the greatest writer of lyrics of the last 5 years (alongside Craig Finn of The Hold Steady). This music is only mad **** to those with no imagination to take wing. The instrumentation by the genius of 'Song Cycle', Van Dyke Parks, is superb complementingMagnificent album. Those who have a problem with her voice: you have the problem, which is a pity for you to then not appreciate this, the greatest writer of lyrics of the last 5 years (alongside Craig Finn of The Hold Steady). This music is only mad **** to those with no imagination to take wing. The instrumentation by the genius of 'Song Cycle', Van Dyke Parks, is superb complementing her harp and voice. This is no folkie either, as her songs have the expanse far outreaching anyone of that restrictive genre. Expand
  43. Jul 27, 2011
    10
    Joanna Newsom is more than a musician, she is an artist. Perfectly blending her musical talent into the realm of her imagination. Each song is a journey unto itself.
  44. Nov 27, 2011
    9
    Showing her power as an singer and harpist, Joanna Newsom deliver us the best folk album ever. With strange lyrics, that sounds like talks, we catch ourselves flying around listening to beatiful songs like 'Emily' and 'Sawdust & Diamonds' - the best of this album. Super!
  45. Jan 18, 2012
    10
    Newsom screeching voice, her masterful harp playing and the graceful orchestration all come together in a whirlwind of beauty that at the end of the album you are completely overwhelmed. It is very unlikely that youâ
  46. Nov 17, 2016
    10
    This album is a truly masterpiece, it may seem like the songs are long (because they are), but with the lyrics sheet on your hand, you won't get bored.
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.