(In which Job reflects on the end of the year... a year late.)

Posted by Job O Brother, December 9, 2007 10:46pm | Post a Comment

"They'll never give us a room if we don't pretend we're married."

Welp… We’re about ready to finish off ol’ 2007. And what a year it’s been. For years to come, we’ll be remembered by history as the people who got to see… urr… hours of YouTube footage of Britney Spears trying to buy cappuccinos. Oh yeah, and something about a war?

Anyhoo, I thought I’d maybe talk a little about my favorite album of the year – only, there’s a problem. My favorite album of the year came out in November of 2006. Hey, it’s not my fault if I wasn’t as blown away by the latest release by [insert everyone who released an album this year].

It’s not that I’m cynical and it’s NOT that I didn’t enjoy anything new this year. It’s that nothing has replaced my favorite yet. So, I continue listening to it.

For those few of you who don’t know what you’re looking at here, it’s the album “Ys” by Joanna Newsom.

There’s very little praise I can say here that hasn’t been said before by critics the world over. When it hit the scene, the album secured Miss Newsom some serious accolades. For myself, it was a rare moment when popular culture and yours truly loved something at the same time. That’s a blue moon moment. I think the last time it happened was… Twin Peaks. And Jesus, there’s people working as cashiers at Amoeba Music that are too young to remember who Laura Palmer is.

The good old days.

My relationship with the album is personal and doesn’t easily translate for my whimsical blog. I don’t like to talk about it. Every time I try to explain how I feel about the music, I get all overwhelmed and vulnerable, like a quaking fawn on newborn legs, and then I wanna punch faces in. You know how it is.

And I can’t just listen to it any old time. For instance, I only like to hear it alone. See, I’ve spent years cultivating defense mechanisms that keep me safe from getting hurt, but put on the track “Sawdust & Diamonds” and suddenly my heart is broken open and spilling forth deeply embedded remembrances of a love and sense of holiness drawing a line from the shell of my skin to a place where my real life begins.

And that’s awkward when you’re at the Laundromat.

Should the opening song “Emily” be selected by my iPod’s shuffle feature, I will freeze a few seconds, then my knees will buckle and I’ll sit, face-forward, staring at a landscape in my mind’s eye. For this reason, I can’t be taking a shower or feeding my cat. Should I be re-shingling my roof, it would mean certain death.

If this all sounds too sentimental, then you’ve proven my point about having to keep this treasure private.

Because it created such a buzz, I assume, even if you haven’t heard it, you’ve heard of it. Still, there are those of my readers who were in comas up until a few months ago. It is to them that I say, “Go get thee a copy,” and “Congratulations on coming out of that coma!”

(You have no idea how hard it is to find good greeting cards for people coming out of comas. I had to settle for one of those Anne Geddes cards, and even then it was an all-encompassing “Congratulations for surviving your central nervous system malfunction”.)

Not okay with me.

I was fortunate to see Miss Newsom play at the Walt Disney Concert Hall recently. Quite a long way from seeing her debut at the tiny Magic Theatre in Nevada City, and yet, not. It was still breathtaking, still passionate, still witty and sincere. Seeing her live, I feel giddy and humble, because I know I’m in the presence of a true craftsman, a visionary, a genius. And it makes me wanna punch faces in.

If you’re into that sort of thing, check it out. Maybe it can be your favorite album of 2008.

Relevant Tags

Joanna Newsom (36), Magic Theatre (1), Nevada City (25), Walt Disney Concert Hall (1), Twin Peaks (29)