The Joni Mitchell - Best Album POLL

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Yes - I went through a period of obsession with Night Ride Home when I got into it. To me one thing about it is that while there's a great range to the songs - some more uptempo, some loping, some lighter & some darker - the overall tone, the shading I guess or coloration?, seems really consistent to me. This single dark and rich tone dominates - to me it's a dense blue-grey maybe. I know of few records better suited to headphones in the middle of the night.

the mom most likely to comprehend juggalos (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 May 2010 10:16 (4 years ago) Permalink

How does it figure in terms of producton as a sticking point, I haven't heard it really since it's release and have a hard time finding a way through the other eigties albums mainly for that reason.

double shyamalan (MaresNest), Sunday, 23 May 2010 10:42 (4 years ago) Permalink

i haven't listened to it for ages. of course i haven't got here in berlin (i have moved). if my memory serves me well i preferred it to the one before, which was dull. but i think i liked "turbulent indigo", the one after better. i should definitely rip my vinyl albums asap to find out.

alex in mainhattan, Sunday, 23 May 2010 11:42 (4 years ago) Permalink

I know of few records better suited to headphones in the middle of the night.

Yes. I just bought some new headphones and just walking home on a wintry night (lol southern hemisphere) is perfect for this.

How does it figure in terms of producton as a sticking point, I haven't heard it really since it's release and have a hard time finding a way through the other eigties albums mainly for that reason.

Bits of the 80s inhere: there's some subtle tribal (or quasi-tribal) percussion on some tracks ("Slouching Towards Bethlehem"; "Nothing Can Be Done"), like a really quiet adult-contemporary version of The Commodores' "Night Shift" or Fleetwood Mac's "Caroline" - but much softer and warmer (which I think is as much a sign of the broader swing towards naturalism generally as the 80s turned into the 90s as a conscious decision) - but mostly the sound is built on spacey guitar, ghostly insubstantial keyboards and some jazz horns - very much what you'd expect Hejira to sound like if produced in 1991 rather than 1976.

But at any rate although it sounds like a 1991 record, it's very much a not the kind of record where the production overpowers the songwriting or singing - my word for all of it would be "sympathetic". The songs I like a bit less ("The Windfall", "Ray's Dad's Cadillac" - and this is relative) are more because of the vocals or the lyrics than the productions/arrangements.

I thought "Come In From The Cold" was too reliant on its chorus at first, but it's one of those tunes that seems (oddly) less tuneful the more you listen to it, and more exploratory and just... Is there a single word to describe that sense you get from some songs where subtle reiterations and shifts build on themselves to create a sense of... not intensity, but rather of sweep, like watching a person's face change through timelapse photography (actually this is almost the subject matter of the song so maybe that's not so odd). It's got that same sense of a sweep through a person's life and emotional landscape that makes "Amelia" and "Hejira" and "Song For Sharon" and "Refuge of the Roads" - this kind of thing feels perhaps uniquely Joni to me.

Those really amorphous, gauzy 1991 keyboards actually work so well for this, the way they seem to echo and shimmer around Joni's guitar to create a vibe of emotional waxing and waning, a subtle accenting more affecting for its lack of solidity.

Tim F, Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

I agree -- you get a sense that she's shaped the music to respond to the pull of memories.

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:14 (4 years ago) Permalink

Re Turbulent Indigo vs Night Ride Home:

I'm the opposite I guess in that I used to have Turbulent Indigo like 15 years ago but never took to it much - stuff like "Sex Kills" and "Not Too Blame" were too didactic and embittered, too much like Joni in interviews. On Night Ride Home the early stages of the nicotine thickening of her voice gives it this fabulous sense of regret and persistence through sorrow, but with none of that bitterness, it's a really gentle portrayal of middle-aged wisdom. Even "Cherokee Louise", which you'd expect to be kind of browbeating, is so evocative and empathetic. That bit where she sings "... I know where she is..." gives me chills.

Tim F, Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:14 (4 years ago) Permalink

It's been years since I've heard "sex Kills" (I owned Misses), but I remember its arrangement as a chillier iteration of the NRH sound; its plain-spoken didacticism is closer to Dog Eat Dog, actually, and is maybe a more successful attempt at capturing that ethos and sound.

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:26 (4 years ago) Permalink

I should probably track the album down again, it's over ten years since I last heard it.

Tim F, Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

Bits of the 80s inhere: there's some subtle tribal (or quasi-tribal) percussion on some tracks ("Slouching Towards Bethlehem"; "Nothing Can Be Done"), like a really quiet adult-contemporary version of The Commodores' "Night Shift" or Fleetwood Mac's "Caroline"

Really feel like starting a thread about this sorta stuff...

Tim F, Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

Add: George Michael's "One More Try"

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:44 (4 years ago) Permalink

"Passion Play" is one of my favourite songs ever right now. SO GOOD. Could anyone else right this kind of song?

Tim F, Monday, 24 May 2010 10:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

ugh write.

Tim F, Monday, 24 May 2010 10:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

Thanks to steep discounts on Record Store Day, I got a promo mint condition copy of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter yesterday. I've accepted the received wisdom that this thing is an outlier in Mitchell's oeuvre but a few tracks sound like Hejira outtakes only this time Pastorious is mixed too high or his playing is too busy.

I'd love some commentary as I absorb this thing.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 22 April 2012 22:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Cotton Avenue and Paprika Plains are all time, really. It's interesting, but not a failing that the bass is the second most prominent instrument after Joni's voice, there are also sections where ether are two basslines.

Dick Move's Wardrobe (MaresNest), Monday, 23 April 2012 13:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

a promo mint condition copy of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter

For some reason this makes me smile. Isn't DJRD one of the most available second-hand records out there? Not disparaging the purchase, just amused, i.e. "I found a promo mint copy of The Final Cut"

poxen, Monday, 23 April 2012 14:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

agreed with poxen, those things are all over the place! Still nice to find an unplayed copy though.

skip, Monday, 23 April 2012 14:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

Its immaculate condition – I doubt it'd been played once – is telling.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 23 April 2012 14:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

9 months pass...

"Paprika Plains" has revealed its secrets to me.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 9 February 2013 12:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

SPOILER ALERT

dry rub come save beef (flamboyant goon tie included), Saturday, 9 February 2013 13:32 (1 year ago) Permalink


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