Joanna Newsom's Divers is one of the best albums ever I've decided

I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I saw her live like… a year ago? It’s now firmly my favourite of hers, and I guess that’s saying a lot given that Ys was/is one of my all-time favourites too.

I really love the way her classic ‘old-fashioned’ sounding songs are interspersed seamlessly between more modern compositions found in Divers, to create a unified whole that sounds like both things at once. Love how you don’t even need to listen to the lyrics to get so much pleasure from the lyricism; you just let the words wash over you while they bound together in all the rhythm, assonance, alliteration that litters the album in irregular patterns. But the lyrics are also amazing, obviously - often both incredibly smart and beautiful but always at least one of those things, at any given time.

I love how with every one of her albums I’ve always been able to let the lyrics just sink into me and gain meaning organically; one day, after months of listening to the album, I’ll just decide to read the lyrics to a song whilst listening along to it, eventually finding something where someone talks about what it all means, after which I’ll listen to the song again and probably again. I stumbled on this blog today and it’s really great, does such a great job of interpreting her lyrics, with the sort of enthusiasm that they deserve

Found the posts on Divers and Waltz of the 101st Lightborne Elite particularly fun and great.

Can’t overstate how amazing she is.

That’s lovely

I was obsessed with Ys when it came out. But haven’t listened to it for ages or heard Divers. Will listen to it for sure. I would have liked to have seen her live as well.

At the time of Ys there was an amazing picture of her stood with her harp. (I know there are probably quite a few). But this was such a strong, amazing image…I’ve not found it again, which is weird considering how easy most things are to track down. It was a specific article in the Guardian I think.


My least favourite of hers but still a very high benchmark


i absolutely adore HOOM but never got into Divers to the same extent.
find hoom much easier to listen to i guess which is weird given how many people complain about the length

For me it’s her worst since the debut. So yeah still one of the best albums ever!

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A fabulous, fabulous album that repays repeated listens. I think it is her best, although I have a lot of affection for he debut. I loved Ys when it came out but rarely go back to it now. Have One on Me is obviously great too, but I find the length makes it hard to get to grips with.

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Yeah, Divers is incredible, and probably a smarter and much more well constructed album than either Ys or HOOM, but I’ll always debate on either of Ys or HOOM as my favourite purely because they’re both so much more personal. Loads of instrumental and lyrical moments on Divers impress me more than anything on the other two, but for me there’s no substitute for getting to Does Not Suffice, over two hours after I sat down for a full HOOM session, and just fully feeling as completely wrecked as she sounds on that song. It’s a long album, but I stay with it every single second, and feel every emotional beat, because at its core its a breakup album, and that’s something everybody can relate to. Then Ys, to me, is broadly about growing up and losing your naivety and learning hard lessons , I can completely feel that as well. Divers seems like it’s more about broader, less personal topics, like there’s a lot of stuff about impermanence and time and how everybody dies, doesn’t really speak to me as much. It’s still better than like 99.9% of all other album though.

Divers is her best for me. Ys is long but rewarding. HOOM is too long and a few on there I don’t connect with as much as others (although the highlights are amazing). Divers has it all. Not one duffer. Every tune amazing. Not too long. Absolutely lovely.

Baby Birch is my favourite track, but nothing else on HOOM clicks for me. Ys and Divers are fantastic though!

can’t really be arsed with it if i’m honest

yeah this


I know what you mean but Time, As a Symptom has as much heart as anything she’s done.

Also a lot of her songs are less personal than you/I/one assumes, I think.

Ys > Have one on me > milk-eyed mender = divers for me, all 9+/10 though and don’t think there’s any order that I’d find weird or wrong.

She’s very good at music

Maybe, but ultimately how personal it comes across to you as a listener is what matters. Time As A Symptom definitely has a lot of heart, and is a great song, but I don’t feel like I’m being let in on a personal event where I can be like “yeah, I get that”, as I do with a lot of stuff on the past two. I’m not saying Divers comes from any less true of a place as Ys and HOOM, and for all I know she may well feel like she’s expressing something more poignant to her on Divers, but the other two resonate more with me. I suppose what’s “personal” is all in ear of the beholder really, so in a few years I might come to really get into Divers more than the other two if my life experiences take a certain direction, but at the moment it’s Ys and HOOM that really hit me, and it seems to me like their subjects are a bit more universal as well.

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Out of interest

  • Walnut whales
  • Milk-eyed mender
  • Ys
  • Have one on me
  • Divers

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