Joan As Policewoman - Joanthology
In an age that favours streaming and throwaway singles, is there still room for the humble best-of album? Well, Joan Wasser AKA Joan As Policewoman (JAPW) thinks so. She's released a whopping four-disc anthology, aptly titled Joanthology, giving retrospective over a not-too-shabby fifteen-year career.
The album truly is a journey through JAPW’s career, opening with the lead single from her first ever EP, My Gurl, released back in 2004. The tracks then lead in chronological order taking a selection of self-curated songs from each of her main albums and one from both her covers album released in 2009 and 2016’s collaboration with Benjamin Lazar Davis.
Not just a look back though, the album also features two new recordings, ‘What A World’ and ‘Your Song’ (not to be confused with the Elton John equivalent). ‘What A World’ is found amongst tracks from 2011’s The Deep Field and is typical JAPW with hints of funky synth and a focus on her gorgeous smoky voice.
‘Your Song’ is found much later on in disc three ahead of a beautiful cover of Talk Talk’s ‘Myrrhman’ and is a slow, lush piano-led track. The first three discs end with a slow, sultry cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’, which Joan has been playing as part of her encore during the recent Damned Devotion tour.
Disc four is the live disc. Rather than (as often found on bonus live tracks) just the same songs from earlier, but this time with a noisy crowd and poor sound, the fourth disc includes highlights of her Live at the BBC set recorded for 6 Music. These high-quality recordings serve to show the raw, unpolished power of Joan’s voice.
Highlights include her covers of Public Enemy’s ‘She Watch Channel Zero’ and Sonic Youth’s ‘Sacred Trickster’. Both tracks are barely recognisable in their new guises as JAPW songs but are fantastic in their own right. Her acapella song ‘The Classic’ from the album of the same name is always a favourite, and even better when it’s the live version.
This album is a carefully curated treat for fans and newbies alike. For old fans, the delights come in the form of some new material, some nostalgia and the scattering of clever, beautiful covers. For those new to JAPW, they get a guided tour of her career so far, led by Joan herself, what more could someone ask for?
Coming in at 43 songs in total, it is quite the undertaking, but perhaps surprisingly, it doesn’t feel bloated. It flows easily from start to finish and doesn’t feel overly long. You might be able to find a ‘This Is..’ playlist on Spotify (other streaming services are available), but this will always be better because these were the songs hand picked by Joan As A Policewoman herself.