Ys.

Joanna Newsom. <i>Drag City</i>. If you find Björk staid, this is just the “freak folk” album for you.

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Is Björk too normal for you? Then check out Joanna Newsom, who elevates eccentricity to a fine art on her second album. Sometimes tagged “freak folk,” among other simplistic labels, the Bay Area resident really belongs to no category. Accompanying herself on harp, she delivers sprawling, hallucinatory tales in a voice that’s part angry child, part nervous adult, exploring spirituality, desire, and the natural order of things in unsettling verbal torrents. Underscoring the eclectic soul of the project, Newsom’s parts were recorded by punk rock vet Steve Albini, best known for sessions with Nirvana, while Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson’s collaborator on his weirdest works 40 years ago, coproduced and wrote the cinematic orchestral arrangements. Ys. (pronounced “ees”), which covers a mere five tracks in just under an hour, may strike impatient listeners as unbearably pretentious. Others will be delighted by its audacity.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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