Joanna Newsom - Divers
Critic Score
Based on 36 reviews
2015 Ratings: #6 / 772
Year End Rank: #13
User Score
Based on 403 ratings
2015 Ratings: #9
October 23, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Drag City / Label
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Skinny

This dense lyricism is keenly matched with rich, luxuriant instrumentation and Divers perhaps reaches a zenith in Newsom’s arrangement skills.

100
Drowned in Sound

These are startlingly beautiful, fiercely inventive songs, couched in the metaphysical, touching on the universal, born from a deeply personal place.

96
Sputnikmusic

Such is the album’s richness and fluidity that one could ignore Joanna’s words and still come away enthralled, which is not a statement to be taken lightly when it concerns a piece of work as involved as this.

95
The Line of Best Fit

With a formidable knack for telling an engaging story in the space of a song, Divers is further proof that, as a lyricist, Newsom is second to none.

91
Paste

Divers proves Newsom is still capable of maintaining one of the most original voices in the world of music while constantly giving that voice new ways to speak.

91
Entertainment Weekly
She’s often described as childlike, due to her lovely, elfin voice and her affection for fairy tales, but Divers comes from a highly sophisticated mind, with its complicated, polyrhythmic arrangements and lyrics that explore the nature of time.
90
Loud and Quiet

For all its bewitching scholarly accomplishment, this is a wonderfully natural-feeling album, whose heart has even more to offer than its thrillingly skilful head. 

90
Clash

It's a truly incredible album, a special album and a rare album. Give in to it because, before you're ready to let it go, it's gone.

90
Exclaim!

Rather than breaking from Newsom's tradition of complex, bewitching songwriting, Divers feels like the culmination of all of Newsom's incredible work over the past decade.

90
musicOMH

In many ways, Newsom’s new record is a distillation of all the differing qualities that have made her albums to date so distinctive, combining the childlike simplicity of The Milk Eyed Mender, the ambitious, almost symphonic arrangements of Ys and the stylistic variations of Have One On Me.

90
Tiny Mix Tapes

Divers is, to greatly oversimplify its project and to mention only one of its many mythic frames of reference, about the fall and redemption of humanity. That divine catastrophe is scaled down to the commonly human quantity of the sensible work of art, rich in emotional honesty and poetic complexity.

90
The 405
This is an album that is constantly unfolding over its themes, so the only option remaining is that of acceptance of her ingenuity. If you want to make it easy, you can acknowledge the density and move on. If you want to understand the core of the record, you'll have plenty of details to work through for what now seems like forever.
90
No Ripcord
Like all Newsom’s albums, it is full of beautiful music and lyrics that initially appear enigmatic but are in fact simply dense, but it’s the first one to embed within itself, on various levels, the necessity to continue mining its depths.
85
Pitchfork
Her consummate craft is a given; what surprises every time is her ceaselessly renewing sensitivity for life's vicissitudes and the fantastic ways she finds to express them.
85
Under The Radar

Divers is almost uniformly lovely to listen to.

83
A.V. Club

Divers doesn’t have the same sort of scope of Newsom’s last release, 2010’s triple-disc Have One On Me, but it in no way lacks for grandeur or spectacle. The multiple, multifarious layers of pianos, stringed instruments, guitars, and drums blend together to create a stunningly beautiful full-on pop symphony.

83
Consequence of Sound

The album winds up feeling like the first in Newsom’s catalog that won’t be considered a classic, but it’s proof that a sturdy, thought-provoking, and rewarding record doesn’t necessarily need to stand next to her past work to find its own greatness.

83
Pretty Much Amazing

If she has indeed made her most musically rewarding album since the first one, it’s telling that Divers doesn’t stretch Newsom’s music any further than the last two albums have. It’s just more organized, is all! Praise be!

80
NME
It’s reassuring that, five years on, the 33-year-old is back with something utterly predictable: yet another masterpiece.
80
Rolling Stone

A concept album about history, memory, movement, loss and love, the emotional tone here — a wry, wistful melancholy — is pretty straightforward, a function of Newsom's tightened focus.

80
The Guardian
It’s at turns maddening, exhausting, enrapturing, insightful and very beautiful. But it always feels like the work of an artist who’s out there on her own, doing something no one else is doing.
80
PopMatters

Less immediate than her debut but not as challenging as her most recent work, Divers is an ideal distillation of everything that makes Joanna Newsom one of the most unceasingly fascinating musicians working today.

80
AllMusic

Newsom can make her audience work almost as hard as she does, but the rewards are worth it: Dazzling, profound and affecting, Divers' explorations of time only grow richer the more time listeners spend with them.

80
DIY

Though ‘Divers’ is a close relation of Newsom’s previous record ‘Have One On Me,’ it also harks back to the beautiful simplicity of her earliest work. It doesn’t, however, storm off to explore entirely new landscapes with quite the same ferocious tenacity as previous albums.

80
Slant Magazine

The singer-songwriter's first album in five years, Divers, adds electric guitar to the mix, yet stays true to her original template of epic poetry set to masterful harp-plucking and vocal ascents that climb toward the stratosphere.

80
Spin

The goals aren’t as lofty as before, but by streamlining her sound, she is able to hit with some of the most direct and powerful songs of her career.

80
Mojo

It’s when everything begins to fan out like a peacock’s tail at the height of the courting season that you’re reminded just why Newsom is a 21st century oneoff.

80
NOW Magazine

Newsom's working with a darker palette of colours here, and in all respects - her ideas, musicianship and vocals - is evidently a master.

80
The Needle Drop
Singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom's latest record is equally beautiful and conceptual.
hellodecatur
88
How high is the bar set with Joanna Newsom that Divers is considered to be a disappointment by some in her fanbase??

The biggest thing going against this album is that it's just that: an album - not a three-disc American songbook epic, not a five-track baroque pop masterclass whose shortest song is over seven minutes - just a standard eleven-track album. For some, this already reduces potential enjoyment simply because it seems less ambitious in scope. Good thing Newsom really brings it with ... read more
nullsethope
87
I’m addicted
snarekickblues
94
Random number generator told me to put 3

EDIT: New random number is 44

EDIT(2): Congrats! Today's number is 76

EDIT(3): Incredible!! Our new random number is 88!

EDIT(4): I finally listened to it! Non-random number = 86!

EDIT(5): Dam son gotta bump it up to an 89.

EDIT(9.4): 9.4 BNM
thejacktackshac
86
I wish to aimlessly frolic through the forest with Joanna Newsom.
okcomputer12127
87
Joanna Newson's 4th album, even though using less of her trademark instrument- the harp, she still made a pretty solid release.

Fav Tracks: Anecdotes, Sapokanikan, Leaving the City, You Will Not Take My Heart Alive, A Pin-Light Bent, Time as a Symptom

Least Fav Track: Goose Eggs
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Track List

  1. Anecdotes
  2. Sapokanikan
  3. Leaving the City
  4. Goose Eggs
  5. Waltz of the 101st Lightborne
  6. The Things I Say
  7. Divers
  8. Same Old Man
  9. You Will Not Take My Heart Alive
  10. A Pin-Light Bent
  11. Time, As a Symptom
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Added on: August 10, 2015