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Songs for the Freak Folk: The Milk-Eyed Mender

Updated: Sep 22, 2023


Joanna Newsom's work is a testament to the beauty of a simple folk song. Her album 'The Milk-Eyed Mender' weaves beautiful melodies rung out from the strings of her harp, guitars, piano, and the occasional harpsichord. By combining the sensibilities of folk and bluegrass music, Newsom creates a truly unique sound that takes the listeners hand and lightly tugs you along in tow.

Spiced with the odd southern accent, she croons over love lost and missing personhood. Her vocals, lightly innocent in quality, are underpinned by an undeniable sadness. Her lyricism, complex and poetic, takes the listener on linguistic trips bound to incite and—admittedly—confuse.


This album is an emotional journey walking you through the enchanting world of Newsom's artful melancholy at a masterful pace.

Tracks like 'The Book of Right-On' carry a palpable pensive swing that gives way to the bluegrass southern twang of 'Sadie' before making one more jump to the heartbreaking 'Peach, Plum, Pear.'

While this album may initially put you off with its strange instrumentation, range of soundscapes, and elegiac words, 'The Milk-Eyed Mender' is a beautiful collection of sonic suffering, reflection, and musical bliss that I would recommend for any brave souls willing to wave the freakiest of flags.

One small piece of advice, try listening in its entirety! It'll be a great time!

Recommended Tracks:

Peach, Plum, Pear

Inflammatory Writ

Three Little Babes


Album: The Milk Eyed Mender Artist: Joanna Newsom Genre: #folk #alternative #bluegrass Label: Drag City Non-Airable Tracks: N/A

Date of Review: 9/21/2023

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