Ys (studio album) by Joanna Newsom

Ys
Ys by Joanna Newsom
Year: 2006
Release date: 2006-11-14
Overall rank: 180th   Overall chart historyOverall chart history
Average Rating: 
83/100 (from 768 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution   Average rating historyAverage rating history
Accolades:
Award Top 5 albums of 2006 (2nd)
Award Top 50 albums of the 2000s (31st)
Award Top 200 albums of all time (180th)
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Joanna Newsom: Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band EP =CD=
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Joanna Newsom - Ys (2006)
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Joanna Newsom - And the Ys Street Band - CD - DC336CD - NEW
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Joanna Newsom bestography

Ys is ranked as the best album by Joanna Newsom.

Joanna Newsom album bestography « Higher ranked This album (180th) Lower ranked (368th) »
-YsHave One On Me

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Ys track list

  Track ratingsTrack ratings The tracks on this album have an average rating of 88 out of 100 (all tracks have been rated).

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Rating: 90 (228 votes)Comments: 3
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Rating: 86 (178 votes)Comments: 1
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Rating: 88 (194 votes)Comments: 3
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Rating: 87 (176 votes)Comments: 1
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Ys rankings

Ys collection

Ys ratings

Average Rating: 
83/100 (from 768 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution Average Rating = (n ÷ (n + m)) × av + (m ÷ (n + m)) × AV
where:
av = trimmed mean average rating an item has currently received.
n = number of ratings an item has currently received.
m = minimum number of ratings required for an item to appear in a 'top-rated' chart (currently 10).
AV = the site mean average rating.

Showing latest 5 ratings for this album. | Show all 768 ratings for this album.

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RatingDate updatedMemberAlbum ratingsAvg. album rating
 
100/100
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5 days ago NickyTBlizzad  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,56095/100
 
90/100
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04/30/2021 04:06 808sRainbows  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 3990/100
 
45/100
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04/15/2021 17:55 jeremy9  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,66875/100
 
80/100
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04/10/2021 23:43 ghosttomost  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 2,23373/100
 
65/100
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04/10/2021 02:38 ikenyon1  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 21688/100

Rating metrics: Outliers can be removed when calculating a mean average to dampen the effects of ratings outside the normal distribution. This figure is provided as the trimmed mean. A high standard deviation can be legitimate, but can sometimes indicate 'gaming' is occurring. Consider a simplified example* of an item receiving ratings of 100, 50, & 0. The mean average rating would be 50. However, ratings of 55, 50 & 45 could also result in the same average. The second average might be more trusted because there is more consensus around a particular rating (a lower deviation).
(*In practice, some albums can have several thousand ratings)

This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 82.5/100, a mean average of 80.8/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 82.7/100. The standard deviation for this album is 18.5.

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Ys comments

Showing latest 10 comments | Show all 77 comments |
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Rating:  
90/100
From 04/30/2021 04:08
A very meditative in structure, her vocals totally deliver her imagery lyrics in a beautiful way. Quite hard to get into IMO, but, during my mental breakdown phase, this totally calms me down.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
75/100
From 01/22/2021 21:19
The vocals are the most puzzling aspect of this album for me. Sometimes they offer an eye-opening experience, but for the most part they are like a "keep out" sign that stops you from exploring all the almost magical stuff that's going on here.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (0 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 01/13/2021 00:52
Not super accessible and probably not for everyone. It took me a couple listens before it started to click, and for me to get use to Joanna Newsom's voice, but now I love it. Rewarding with more and more listens. Emily is probably the best and most accessible song on here, but the rest are great too.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
55/100
From 01/01/2021 01:34
This comment is beneath your viewing threshold.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -3 votes (1 helpful | 4 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From 11/14/2020 01:23
Great to hear this album I like the way the harp is played and the orchestra is good set in scene and the voice of her is sublime. I have no standout track I like all. Very good
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 07/30/2020 04:16
I was putting off listening to this because it's not on Spotify, but I was missing out!!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From 06/20/2020 19:39
The music zeitgeist has seen its fair share of luminous storytellers but few vividly beseech their audience to partake in their free-flowing whimsy like balladeer-extraordinaire Joanna Newsom. Yet, when discussions of this generation's most profound creators, her name seems to reside on the periphery. This is an unspeakable injustice. To call her dexterous would be an understatement, having mastered the piano, harpsichord and the seldom-conquered pedal harp. These instrumental exploits have produced work that's drawn comparisons to the Romantic era, coupled with the singer's unmistakable, naturalistic vocals. Never has Newsom's music sounded more idyllic and enchanting than on 2006's Ys. Named after the mythical French city engulfed by the sea, the album is comprised of five long-form treatises which metaphorically recount four distinct experiences undergone by the harpist in the span of a year. The autobiographical nature of the subject matter enriches the poetry of the record and renders every lyric endlessly interpretable. Newsom's scholarly, fairy-tale epic is equal parts whimsical and irreplicable.

The fantasy-tinged odyssey materializes with opening number, Emily. The song is inspired by Newsom's astrophysicist sister and the revered moments shared between them. As you'd imagine, Joanna's harp is the centerpiece of the sprawling, musing procession. The might of the string section smolders behind her handiwork creating a sensation of perpetual motion that never allows the 12 minute opener to stall but rather to wander with concentrated beauty. Newsom's ability to rhapsodize approaches mythic plateaus on the track as she requests, "Let us go though we know it's a hopeless endeavor; the ties that bind, they are barbed and spined and hold us close forever; though there is nothing would help me come to grips with a sky that is gaping and yawning; there is a song I woke with on my lips as you sailed your great ship towards the morning." It's just one stone that resides within the collection of embarrassing riches of this era's greatest lyricist. Second track, Monkey & Bear, expands the sonic repertoire slightly but the songstress' harp still chaperones. The song flaunts calculated orchestral flutters buoying Newsom's unabridged poetic amendments. The thematic roots of the sweeping nine minute piece are entrenched in the legend of Ursa Major, a constellation in the frame of a bear. Potentially more personally akin to Newsom's experience, the song echoes sentiment of the damning effects staying steadfast in romantic kinship at the cost of surrendering personal independence. "Until we reach the open country, a-steeped in milk and honey; will you keep your fancy clothes on, for me; can you bear a little longer to wear that leash," she details. Album epergne, Sawdust and Diamonds, bears the sweetest of fruits. The track is bolstered by Newsom's sublime harp arpeggio that acts as the engine for the song's excellence. It also ranks as one of the finest lyrical labyrinths of her career. It communicates a moment of adversity between two lovers and ponders if said love will persevere or subside. "And in a moment of almost-unbearable vision, doubled over with the hunger of lions; hold me close, cooed the dove, who was stuffed, now, with sawdust and diamonds," Newsom sings with fragility. It's a harrowing excursion that remains one of the artist's most ethereal yet lucid declarations. Its tendency to induce tears is formidable.

Only Skin, is a serpentine account of the events that befell Joanna during the year that inspired the album and the interrelation between those fragments. The track is Ys' most sonically voluptuous as it features backing vocals from Bill Callahan and burly cello contributions. The tuneful escalation does not supersede Newsom's poetry, however. She protests, "But always up the mountainside you’re clambering, groping blindly, hungry for anything; picking through your pocket linings, well, what is this; scrap of sassafras, eh Sisyphus," as she alludes to a partner's polygamous lust. Only Skin transmutes multiple times throughout its 17 minute runtime, punctuating Newsom's ability as a virtuoso spinner of feminine, fantasy sagas. The album comes to rest with Cosmia, where Joanna calls upon moths to lead her to the warming light of solace. Her vocal work is her mightiest here, as she calls for her "little darling" and how she misses a particular "precious heart". Additionally, the heavenly falsettos she unleashes joyously contrast backing accordion hums. She asks, "Can you hear me; Will you listen; don't come near me; don't go missing, and in the lissome light of evening, help me, Cosmia; I'm grieving."

It's important to step back slightly and gaze at the mountainous mosaic that Newsom has architected. It's tremendously difficult to synthesize one's intimate thoughts into such a boundless tapestry of wordplay and metaphor. On Ys, Joanna Newsom seems to operatively channel her convictions while remaining blissfully, beautifully unfazed by the rigors that would derail mortal songwriters. This is not Newsom's lyrical coming out party as she was profoundly bardic on 2004's The Milk-Eyed Mender, but the poeticism has ballooned into a hulking behemoth on Ys, all the while bending one of the world's most challenging instruments to her will. It's clearly difficult to be humble when describing the young woman's ever-blooming genius. I'll just leave the humility to her as it seems to come her naturally as all things inherently do. With a quartet of albums under her belt, she's likely to have more future triumphs and adornments affixed to her name. Still, she'd be hard-pressed to outdo her chamber folk paragon. It's a carefully constructed journey of enlightening pain and a promise of subsequent emotional provision. It is destined to harbor the necessary magic native to the fantasy settings that which galvanized its creation. Ys is simply a fossilized memento of a forgotten and forlorn age, washed up on a forbidden shore as considerate waves propel it lovingly toward you.

"From the top of the flight,
Of the wide, white stairs,
Through the rest of my life,
Do you wait for me there?"

-Sawdust and Diamonds

Standout Tracks:

1. Sawdust and Diamonds
2. Emily
3. Monkey & Bear

94.5
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +4 votes (5 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 03/01/2020 22:23
Highlights:

Emily
Only Skin
Monkey & Bear
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (0 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
Rating:  
60/100
From 11/11/2019 10:07
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Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -5 votes (2 helpful | 7 unhelpful)
Rating:  
100/100
From 08/23/2019 10:31
Joanna Newsom recorded one of the most disconcerting albums of the 2000's, "Ys". A spellbinding album made up of five tracks, the shortest of which is just over seven minutes and the longest almost seventeen. The baroque universe of this album is entirely formed and based on unusual instruments, which come out of the routine of rock and folk. It is an orchestra of strings that illuminate the voice of Joanna, and finally, the harp is discreet. Newsom, from his most intimate experiences, builds stories that are fairy tales. The beauty of the whole lies in the synthesis between a multiplicity of worlds, allowed by the fluid narratives of the singer, her mutinous phrasing and overflowing sincerity. "Ys" floats in a stratosphere made up of a multitude of horizons. His cosmos is as literary as it is musical. In any case, you come out with your heart broken, and to be cured, you can do nothing, you just have to re-plunge into the album.

10/10

Best track: "Emily"
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)

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Best Albums of 2006
1. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys
2. Ys by Joanna Newsom
3. Back To Black by Amy Winehouse
4. Black Holes And Revelations by Muse
5. The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New
6. The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
7. Donuts by J Dilla
8. Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers
9. 10,000 Days by Tool
10. Sam's Town by The Killers
11. The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
12. Silent Shout by The Knife
13. The Eraser by Thom Yorke
14. First Impressions Of Earth by The Strokes
15. Continuum by John Mayer
16. Return To Cookie Mountain by TV On The Radio
17. Yellow House by Grizzly Bear
18. The Trials Of Van Occupanther by Midlake
19. The Life Pursuit by Belle And Sebastian
20. Eyes Open by Snow Patrol
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