'Have One on Me,' Joanna Newsom

Every song is an opus, each opus a symphony. Every single track on Have One on Me, Joanna Newsom’s third full-length record, is a drama, a tragedy — Newsom the trilling one-woman Greek chorus behind it.

Newsom is a standout in the world of solo female musicians: she’s a pianist and a harpist, but also a completely unabashed singer, chewing and spitting her words to create a from-the-hills sound unlike anyone else. Over the course of 18 epic tracks, Newsom gives listeners a complete resume of her abilities and styles. But doing that, she often ruins a perfectly good song by changing it up dramatically halfway through. There are occasions when this works: on the title track and “Soft As Chalk,” specifically. But the sheer volume of complexity crammed into Have One on Me just isn’t handled smartly enough and can end up only annoying the listener in the end.

DOWNLOAD: “Soft As Chalk”