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THE GREATEST LYRICISTS IN THE WORLD TODAY

 

Every generation needs its poets and here's the 23 musical scribes who define 2010.

Meanwhile, you can vote for the best lyricists ever here.

Words: Emily Mackay, Matt Wilkinson, Barry Nicolson, Mark Beaumont, Laura Snapes, Dan Martin, Sam Wolfson, Martin Robinson, Jaimie Hodgson

 
 
 

Psych-folk’s most literary and learned word-spinner, the 28-year-old Californian does love to harp on

A true wordsmith, Newsom treats words like a gem collector, examining them through a spyglass for cut and colour, before fixing them in filigreed settings.

‘Bridges And Balloons’, the first track on her debut, harboured treasures such as ‘caravel’, ‘lateen’ and ‘dirigibles’. All open to cries of ‘pretentious’ from people who don’t really understand what those words mean. But Joanna pretends to nothing. Only a real word-wrangler could have penned the brilliantly funny study of insecurity, frustration and writer’s block that is ‘Inflammatory Writ’.

Not merely technical, she’s a mistress of melancholy. ‘Emily’, ‘Ys’’ many-coloured tribute to her astrophysicist sister, finds furious wordplay (‘hydrocephalic’ – 72 points!) giving way to Joanna “dumbstruck with the sweetness of being”, while ‘On A Good Day’ and ‘Baby Birch’ on her latest, ‘Have One On Me’, explore maternal loss with unflinchingly subtle power. EM

Key lyric: “And the meteorite’s just what causes the light/And the meteor’s how it’s perceived/And the meteoroid’s a bone thrown from the void that lies in quiet offering to thee”
(‘Emily’, from ‘Ys’, 2008)

 
 

Latest Joanna Newsom News

Joanna Newsom to marry The Lonely Island's Andy Samberg

Joanna Newsom to marry The Lonely Island's Andy Samberg

The pair have been dating for five years

Joanna Newsom, Best Coast, Lykke Li for End Of The Road Festival

Best Coast and Lykke Li also join Dorset festival's line up

  • Mar 18, 2011

Joanna Newsom announces US tour details

Singer-songwriter will begin the jaunt in Tucson, Arizona on November 6

  • Aug 23, 2010

More Joanna Newsom News

 

More Joanna Newsom Reviews

Joanna Newsom - 'Instrumental 1999'

Joanna Newsom - 'Instrumental 1999'

Indie's favourite harpist returns

  • Mar 23, 2012

Album review: Joanna Newsom - 'Have On On Me' (Drag City)

Joanna leaves fantasy behind and enters the real world for three discs and two hours

  • Feb 28, 2010

Joanna Newsom: Barbican Hall, London, Thursday, January 18

Orchestral treat lights up her album’s inner beauty on a dark night for Brit culture

  • Feb 9, 2007

More Joanna Newsom Reviews

 
 
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