Joanna Newsom, Three Times


Great news, fans of harps and indie rock: Indie-rock harpist Joanna Newsom is releasing a freaking triple album. It’s called Have One on Me and it’s out February 23 on Drag City. We’ve also gotten the first official song, “'81,” and it’s exactly as somber and pretty and overbearingly twee as you’d expect. Any mystery here is in the title. As you may know, Vulture is big on figuring out what songs named after years are all about, so we dug through the lyrics and found the mention of the date: “Tell me, what is meant by sitting alone in a garden/seceded from the Union in the year of '81?” Seeing as all the states were long done seceding by 1881, we dug deeper into the lyrics and saw mention of “the war between St. George and the dragon.” Then, going ever further into our research (Wikipedia), we discovered that the Disney movie Dragonslayer was loosely based on the legend of St. George, and was released in 1981. So there you have it — Joanna Newsom’s new song is about Dragonslayer.