On The New Joanna Newsom Song, “81”


“Meet me in the Garden of Eden/Bring a friend/We are gonna have ourselves a time.” Those who’ve spent an unsuccessful hour or so attempting to load Drag City’s website to hear the first salvo from Joanna’s alleged triple-album Have One on Me might find Stereogum a more convenient outpost at which to enjoy “81,” which is a positively brisk and perfectly coherent four-minute lilt about gardening. Her voice is smooth and supple and sanded of all the power-yelping tics that initially made her such an acquired taste, for both good and ill. Gird up for three discs of this, and her March 18 show at Town Hall, for which you better already have tickets. (Note that this is the second song this year to mention 1981, joining Vampire Weekend’s “Diplomat’s Son.” Trend!)

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