LivingEars Limelight: Joanna Newsom


The best new song I heard this week is “Does Not Suffice” by Joanna Newsom.

For me the worth of a poet can be measured in how well they perceive and can relate the details; be they mundane, minute or simply oft overlooked. After nearly two hours into Joanna Newsom’s new album Have One on Me we get the gorgeous and heartbreaking “Does Not Suffice,” a song wherein the ordinary details of a breakup become overwhelmingly poignant and incredibly affecting.

As the narrator packs her things, “I will pack all my pretty dresses/I will box up my high-heeled shoes/A sparkling ring for every finger/I’ll put away and hide from view,” she explains that while she rose to the occasion of this relationship her companion did not, opting instead to go through the motions as she continued to give more love than she received “It does not suffice for you to say I am a sweet girl/Or to say you hate to see me sad because of you/It does not suffice to merely lie beside each other/As those who love each other do.”

The final stanza brings into sharp focus a simple, and often unnoticed, outcome of a failed relationship, “The tap of hangers swaying in the closet/Unburdened hooks and empty drawers/And everywhere I tried to love you/Is yours again and only yours,” but before it ends, and closes the album, we get 1:20 of thrashing piano to communicate, sonically, the oncoming emotional pain.

Mixes well with » Kate Bush, Cat Power, Joni Mitchell

>>Listen here<< Buy from Amazon on either Vinyl or CD.