The Joni Mitchell - Best Album POLL

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xposts:"ended up voting for blue and predict a massive "silent majority" effect in these poll results"
"I'm struggling here with why anyone would vote for anything other than Blue"

"Spent many many hours listening to Blue and Court & Spark way back when. The voice, music and the half-tone slightly mysterious photos of Joni on those 2 albums - that was an awesome combo when I was 14 or so. Voted Blue, that was the first one."

agreeeed! in addition to Blue and Court and Spark, For the Roses always hit close to home, and either could be the top pick on any given day. Hejira then Hissing... round out me pee-oh-vee.

outdoor_miner, Saturday, 5 September 2009 04:41 (6 years ago) Permalink

Feel like a total asshole for voting Miles of Aisles but there is no better combination of her songs on record!!! Don't hate me ILM, esp. if you include RAD live albums on career retrospective polls!!!

*⁂((✪⥎✪))⁂* (Steve Shasta), Saturday, 5 September 2009 05:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

nah, Miles of Aisles is great, esp. the full-band songs.

Houston (Euler), Saturday, 5 September 2009 06:56 (6 years ago) Permalink

I love Joni more than most music geeks, but I can't really pretend any other album comes close to 'Blue,' for me.

Soundslike, Saturday, 5 September 2009 07:27 (6 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, see, I love Blue -- my first Joni, etc -- but I don't play it as much as C&S, Hissing of Summer Lawns, or Hejira.

My life is butthurt so badly (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 September 2009 11:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

Blue is really a very time/place/emotion specific record. It's really hard to listen to large parts of it if I'm in a very specific frame of mind (generally full-blown depression, anxiety, etc). C&S can really come on at any time, though.

Mordy, Saturday, 5 September 2009 11:56 (6 years ago) Permalink

Unless I'm in a very...*

Mordy, Saturday, 5 September 2009 11:56 (6 years ago) Permalink

I love Blue but I don't really get its mystique as this depressive mopefest of an album. A good half of it seems fairly upbeat to me.

Tim F, Saturday, 5 September 2009 14:31 (6 years ago) Permalink

Summer Lawns, easy. Weirdly, I have the exact same top 3 as Geir. Thought I could rely on him to complain about The Jungle Line being "insufficently melodic".

Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 5 September 2009 15:50 (6 years ago) Permalink

"Hejira" although really there's a few of these records that are so good that rating one over another is kind of pointless.

\/*|_*/-\*|) (Pashmina), Saturday, 5 September 2009 15:58 (6 years ago) Permalink

Blue because it touches my very soul and I know that sounds totally corny.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Saturday, 5 September 2009 16:03 (6 years ago) Permalink

m@tt, please tell me how you feel about the playing of jaco pastorius purely on joni's mid-period work. including his solo spots on shadows + light tour if you wish:

thomp, Saturday, 5 September 2009 18:16 (6 years ago) Permalink

jaco shreds

*⁂((✪⥎✪))⁂* (Steve Shasta), Saturday, 5 September 2009 18:28 (6 years ago) Permalink

had to double check it wasn't an StS vid..............

*⁂((✪⥎✪))⁂* (Steve Shasta), Saturday, 5 September 2009 18:28 (6 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, see, I love Blue -- my first Joni, etc -- but I don't play it as much as C&S, Hissing of Summer Lawns, or Hejira.

Exactly.

jaymc, Saturday, 5 September 2009 22:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 23:01 (6 years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 23:01 (6 years ago) Permalink

pffffffff

spiny doughboy (baaderonixx), Thursday, 1 October 2009 05:52 (6 years ago) Permalink

I don't understand why Ladies & Court are so low. :(

Turangalila, Thursday, 1 October 2009 06:03 (6 years ago) Permalink

That is the right answer.

anagram, Thursday, 1 October 2009 07:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

i probably would have ended up voting for "hissing of summer lawns" though honestly why choose?

btw what do people think of "both sides now"--the song?

by another name (amateurist), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:25 (6 years ago) Permalink

these results still seem surprising.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:35 (6 years ago) Permalink

I love "Both Sides, Now", and think it's the best song on Clouds. Oh, those vocal melodies: I swoon each time (listening now).

offshore "drilling" for (Euler), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:40 (6 years ago) Permalink

i would've thrown "shadows and light" a vote

hobbes, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:41 (6 years ago) Permalink

the Lincoln Center (I think - big public-tv presentation w/orchestra) of "Both Sides Now" took my breath away.

also, thank you this thread for helping me realize what I need to listen to tonight in this faraway place.

Twink Will Ferrell (J0hn D.), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:50 (6 years ago) Permalink

YOU KNOW IT SURE IS HARD TO LEAVE YOU CAREY BUT IT'S REALLY NOT MY HOME

Twink Will Ferrell (J0hn D.), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:57 (6 years ago) Permalink

HOPE THEY FINALLY FIXED YOUR AUTOMOBILE/HOPE IT'S BETTER WHEN WE MEET AGAIN, BABY

Twink Will Ferrell (J0hn D.), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 09:09 (6 years ago) Permalink

You're gonna come now or you're gonna come later.

offshore "drilling" for (Euler), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 09:13 (6 years ago) Permalink

i like glen campbell's syrupy version of "both sides, now"

by another name (amateurist), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 09:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

I'M GONNA MAKE A LOT OF MONEY/AND THEN I'M GONNA QUIT THIS CRAZY SCENE

Twink Will Ferrell (J0hn D.), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 09:15 (6 years ago) Permalink

what does it gotta feel like to know that you wrote this album

Twink Will Ferrell (J0hn D.), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 09:20 (6 years ago) Permalink

I guess I seem ungrateful / with my teeth sunk in the hand / that brings me things / I really can't give up just yet

offshore "drilling" for (Euler), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 09:26 (6 years ago) Permalink

The version of "Both Sides Now" on Joni's (otherwise) covers album with the same name from oh maybe five/ten years ago is pretty amazing. I dunno if there's ever been a song written by someone when they're young that is better suited to a wistful wizened "cover" by the same artist 30+ years on. It simply drips resonance.

Tim F, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 12:58 (6 years ago) Permalink

My mother, who is not a music snob, became fascinated with that 2000 version of "Both Sides Now" after hearing it in Love Actually; she would play it over and over again, deeply moved. I'm pretty fond of it myself – the best use of Joni's nicotine-scarred pipes.

filling the medicare donut hole with the semen of liberal (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 13:04 (6 years ago) Permalink

weird that Clouds got zero votes here... Both Sides Now is an amazing tune

modern eunuch-like crooning (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 16:22 (6 years ago) Permalink

I'll rep for Night Ride Home any day - I get the feeling most hardcore Joni fans will too - the songs are almost all great, the production serves her deepened voice, the groove is really pleasant & great; the album's well-titled in that regard.

Twink Will Ferrell (J0hn D.), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 16:23 (6 years ago) Permalink

it's a little too sting for me

2 guys 1 gag (surm), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 16:25 (6 years ago) Permalink

I adore "Come In From The Cold"; the title track's okay.

filling the medicare donut hole with the semen of liberal (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 16:27 (6 years ago) Permalink

man thought court and spark would get more votes

kulinary gangsta (M@tt He1ges0n), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 16:33 (6 years ago) Permalink

was gonna say!

2 guys 1 gag (surm), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 16:40 (6 years ago) Permalink

I dunno, Court & Spark is a great album and it's probably a top 3 for lots of people, but I suspect anyone who really digs that vibe and is a big joni fan would like Hissing... more.

Likewise Clouds and Blue, I think.

Tim F, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 22:57 (6 years ago) Permalink

but I suspect anyone who really digs that vibe and is a big joni fan would like Hissing... more.

I think this is true for me.

jam master (jaymc), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 23:03 (6 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Been listening to Night Ride Home a lot - strikes me as an almost archetypal late-career autumnal album, recalling what you love about the artist's earlier work but with a sepia-toned faded elegance. Love the gentle, warm, 80s-into-90s production and the evocation of Hejira's loping jazz feel - esp. on the title track, "Passion Play", "Cherokee Louise", "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" and "Nothing Can Be Done". Not sure how I feel about the recurrent use of vocal vamps on some of the other tracks; Joni always seems to run into trouble when she tries to borrow soul motifs.

I don't have it any more but my memory of Turbulent Indigo was of it being much less pretty than this and much more didactic.

Tim F, Saturday, 22 May 2010 03:32 (6 years ago) Permalink

Okay, kinda obsessed with this album now. Been listening on repeat since that last post.

Tim F, Sunday, 23 May 2010 09:58 (6 years ago) Permalink

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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 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 (6 years ago) Permalink

her politics are pretty simpleminded on those late records; she's casting aspersions all over the place. it's tiresome, even when the music is occasionally seductive. although it's pretty obvious her melodic facility nearly dried up some time around 1979.

wizzz! (amateurist), Sunday, 8 May 2016 12:59 (2 months ago) Permalink

Thanks to Tim F and John D's efforts, I've come round to the entirety of Night Ride Home, one of my favorite autumnal releases.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 8 May 2016 13:38 (2 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, Night Ride Home is a wonderful record.

farmboy, Sunday, 8 May 2016 18:24 (2 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

So the whole time I've been in New York I've had "Song For Sharon" in my head on and off (though haven't actually listened to it). Only Joni could so deeply and indelibly imprint herself in my brain that I can be standing on a subway platform and suddenly think, "A woman I knew just drowned herself / the well was deep and muddy / she was just shaking off futility / or punishing somebody / my friends were calling up all day yesterday / all emotions and abstraction / it seems we all live so close to that line, and / so far from satisfaction..."

Tim F, Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:16 (1 month ago) Permalink

i had "free man in paris" in my head all day today

Mordy, Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:21 (1 month ago) Permalink

although it's pretty obvious her melodic facility nearly dried up some time around 1979.

given that some of the best melodies she ever wrote are on night ride home, lol

The bald Phil Collins impersonator cash grab (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 16 June 2016 08:32 (1 month ago) Permalink

"come in from the cold" is so good

brimstead, Thursday, 16 June 2016 19:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

One of her best ever.

Tim F, Thursday, 16 June 2016 22:25 (1 month ago) Permalink

whole album is fantastic except for "Ray's Dad's Cadillac"

because moms and because dads (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 16 June 2016 22:30 (1 month ago) Permalink

I've always found the lyrics to "The Windfall" a bit off-putting.

Tim F, Thursday, 16 June 2016 22:45 (1 month ago) Permalink

I don't know the details of the lawsuit, and that might help me enjoy the song

because moms and because dads (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 16 June 2016 22:59 (1 month ago) Permalink

nahhhh "ray's dad's cadillac" is great too! love the brassy chord stabs that respond to the refrain.

brimstead, Friday, 17 June 2016 00:22 (1 month ago) Permalink

I do like the overall vibe of the verses. I just hate the refrain so much. Focusing on the brass does help, though, so I appreciate the tip.

because moms and because dads (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 17 June 2016 00:31 (1 month ago) Permalink

"stokin' the star makin' machinery behind the popular song" is just a beautiful turn of phrase

calstars, Friday, 17 June 2016 03:25 (1 month ago) Permalink

Seeing the love that "Come in From the Cold" is getting here is heartwarming.

rhymes with "blondie blast" (cryptosicko), Friday, 17 June 2016 03:44 (1 month ago) Permalink

I don't know if there are even that many songs about looking back on yr life from the vantage point of middle age anyway, but I can't think of one better, or with such a sense of sweep to it.

Tim F, Friday, 17 June 2016 05:15 (1 month ago) Permalink

I love how the synthesizer responsible for the billowing sound effects is called the Billotron.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 June 2016 10:31 (1 month ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

For the Roses holy hell

socka flocka-jones (man alive), Saturday, 9 July 2016 03:38 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

jason mantzoukas is not really my thing. But he recently revelealed that he listened to Hejira every night for 10 years or something, and it's enough to make me feel something for the guy.

Salsa Golf (Argentinean Ketchup) (Sufjan Grafton), Saturday, 9 July 2016 04:48 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

Eh revealed obv

Salsa Golf (Argentinean Ketchup) (Sufjan Grafton), Saturday, 9 July 2016 04:48 (2 weeks ago) Permalink


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