The Joni Mitchell - Best Album POLL

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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

1 year passes...

after another long session with night ride home i decided to listen to her '80s records for the first time. wild things run fast feels slight but could also grow deeper the more i listen to it. dog eat dog, though! this is great! i love all of these synth textures

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Friday, 29 August 2014 12:36 (3 days ago) Permalink

I suppose I should finally listen to Dog Eat Dog

Tim F, Saturday, 30 August 2014 06:19 (2 days ago) Permalink

I bought DED on cassette for $3 at a Best Buy in the summer of '98. "Fiction" is my favorite of the didactic songs, and the single "Good Friends" folds the Thomas Dolby filigrees into a fraught, shimmering minor classic. "Impossible Dreamer" isn't bad. The rest is failed experimentation. You can also hear her voice beginning to change.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 30 August 2014 11:34 (2 days ago) Permalink

how do you feel about chalk mark in a rain storm alfred? was going to listen to that one today

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 August 2014 17:55 (2 days ago) Permalink

too many guests, not enough songs.

NRH is where she realizes that sound.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 30 August 2014 18:15 (2 days ago) Permalink

listening to it now i can definitely see that. still enjoying the explicitly '80s touches. dog eat dog in retrospect is a pretty big outlier in her catalogue

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 August 2014 21:00 (2 days ago) Permalink

"lakota" is both embarrassing and gorgeous

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 August 2014 21:03 (2 days ago) Permalink

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha "dancin' clown"

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 August 2014 21:13 (2 days ago) Permalink

Night Ride Home is so good it's not possible. I feel like i'll even need to listen to Shine at some point on the off chance it's an unrecognised minor classic.

Tim F, Saturday, 30 August 2014 21:19 (2 days ago) Permalink

yeah night ride home kills me. been listening to it around 1 am every night for the past week and it goes so many places without moving very much at all

meanwhile clear standout of chalk mark is "the beat of black wings" which is fucking unbelievable

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 August 2014 21:22 (2 days ago) Permalink

also janet jackson's favourite song

Tim F, Saturday, 30 August 2014 21:23 (2 days ago) Permalink

I like the Peter Gabriel duet.

My friend Inskeep wrote this for Stylus years ago:

http://www.stylusmagazine.com/articles/on_second_thought/joni-mitchell-chalk-mark-in-a-rain-storm.htm

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 31 August 2014 00:32 (Yesterday) Permalink

Interesting take but he makes it sound as if Joni went straight from folkie to overproduced aging boomer

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Sunday, 31 August 2014 13:59 (Yesterday) Permalink


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