joni mitchell - blue - poll

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
The Last Time I Saw Richard 9
River 8
A Case Of You 7
California 6
Carey 6
This Flight Tonight 4
Little Green 4
Blue 2
All I Want 2
My Old Man 0


lex pretend, Monday, 7 December 2009 13:57 (nine years ago) link

it's not my favourite of her albums but i have periodic obsessions with it, one of which has just kicked in this week, and it's probably the album of hers most concerned with "classic songcraft".

best is so so tough but worst is definitely "my old man".

lex pretend, Monday, 7 December 2009 13:59 (nine years ago) link

as far as i'm concerned anything from the title track through to the end is in the running for best track.

lex pretend, Monday, 7 December 2009 14:00 (nine years ago) link

this is one of my favorite albums of all time, but I can't really vote in this poll. agree about "my old man," but having to choose between "all I want" and "river" and "this flight tonight" and "little green" and "a case of you" and for that matter "carey" would be like having to choose between six different friends who all at some point or other had saved you from drowning. just seeing the cover of this record fills me with gratitude & wonder.

a full circle lol (J0hn D.), Monday, 7 December 2009 14:01 (nine years ago) link

A Case of You

iago g., Monday, 7 December 2009 14:17 (nine years ago) link

I realized how great "Little Green" was only a few months ago; it's one sustained beautiful melody. The way she sings "crocuses" and "tomorrow" define sensitive singing.

Hell is other people. In an ILE film forum. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 December 2009 14:20 (nine years ago) link

"California" when I'm up and "The Last Time I Saw Richard" when I'm down.

Noodle. Tool. 2. Kool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 7 December 2009 14:24 (nine years ago) link

Yes, very difficult to choose one from this, as I tend to listen to it in one big gulp. In my mind I have always connected this album with Blood on the Tracks, and in some ways the design of their covers expresses the differences between them. But if I'm ever in the mood to hear one track, it's probably "This Flight Tonight", which I also put on a lot of mixtapes back in the day.

Mark, Monday, 7 December 2009 14:28 (nine years ago) link

Totally amazed when I discovered it was the same song as the Nazareth hit.

Mark G, Monday, 7 December 2009 14:42 (nine years ago) link

The Last Time I Saw Richard

Salvador Dali Parton (Turangalila), Monday, 7 December 2009 14:46 (nine years ago) link

This Flight Tonight -- love everything about that song

tylerw, Monday, 7 December 2009 17:21 (nine years ago) link

^^^^ yup

jazzgasms (Mr. Que), Monday, 7 December 2009 17:22 (nine years ago) link

California, i love the lyrics

lukevalentine, Monday, 7 December 2009 17:43 (nine years ago) link

listening over and over again to this today - really love how scientific and precise her confessionalism is, like she's dissecting herself and her acquaintances, but without ever sacrificing emotional intensity - by the time the album ends you feel quite drained. i think i'm going for "the last time i saw richard". or "blue"...or "a case of you"...

lex pretend, Monday, 7 December 2009 17:45 (nine years ago) link

and yeah "california" - love how it's about feeling at home somewhere you don't actually come from, that feeling of belonging which you almost have to be an outsider to know

lex pretend, Monday, 7 December 2009 17:45 (nine years ago) link

I'll go for Carey for sheer pleasure, Little Green for lyrical elegance.

Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Monday, 7 December 2009 17:55 (nine years ago) link

wtf @ My Old Man hate.

Salvador Dali Parton (Turangalila), Monday, 7 December 2009 17:56 (nine years ago) link

I think it's gotta be a Case of You, but agree with J0hn -- I have special associations with all of these so it's really hard to pick. ("You're in my blood like holy wine," is such an amazing moment.)

Mordy, Monday, 7 December 2009 17:59 (nine years ago) link

the line from "A Case of You" that wrecks me & has been doing so forever is right at the top. To begin your song with the line "Just before our love got lost, you said:" - sung like that, framed with that music -- is one of the most remarkable feats I know of. It's like, I'm helpless before I even get to know what's going on.

a full circle lol (J0hn D.), Monday, 7 December 2009 18:13 (nine years ago) link

"---well, surely you touched mine"

lex pretend, Monday, 7 December 2009 18:15 (nine years ago) link

this is pert near impossible.

Mountain Dewm (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 7 December 2009 18:18 (nine years ago) link

"River", because it's coming on Christmas.

Euler, Monday, 7 December 2009 20:18 (nine years ago) link

'Carey'. Gah, I need to listen to this again, right now.

Gavin in Leeds, Monday, 7 December 2009 20:35 (nine years ago) link

Little Green breaks my heart every single time.

sonofstan, Monday, 7 December 2009 21:27 (nine years ago) link

Could vote for any of these, but I'll go with "River."

Action Orientation (Eazy), Monday, 7 December 2009 21:29 (nine years ago) link

but when he's gone
me and them lonesome blues collide
the bed's too wide
the frying pan's too wide

those lines from "my old man" have always made so much sense to me. definitely one of the contenders for best song not only lyrically but also musically. what a sweet sad melody. it's less sentimental than "little green". but there is a down to earth feeling which makes "my old man" quite special in the course of songs of this album. "the last time i saw richard" is the next song on the subject of leaving. but choosing a best is something impossible, there will be a favourite for each day of the week, a fave for each month of the year, a fave for each decade in your life. did we ever have a thread about the one album you would take to the island?

alex in mainhattan, Monday, 7 December 2009 22:02 (nine years ago) link

I don't know if I could choose a favourite but I think "The Last Time I Saw Richard" is the one that amazes me the most - it's so, um, dialogic in a Bakhtin sense... she's right about Richard, but he's right about her, and each person's truth is the point where the truth of the other falls down (the fact that the song is not even about a relationship between the two only makes this more interesting).

"He drinks at home now most nights with the TV on and all the house lights left up bright." This could come off as really judgmental but it's not at all, the singer doesn't know if she envies Richard his escape or not, doesn't know if sitting in dark cafes is any more "real".

I'm sceptical of people praising Blue at the expense of other Joni albums but where I think it really is distinct is that it's an album where you can really feel her songwriting changing, reacting to external pressures placed on her. "Little Green" and "My Old Man" are both amazing but they're clearly older songs. With "This Flight Tonight", "A Case Of You" and "The Last Time I Saw Richard" in particular you can feel the whole approach change - that new sense of nervousness, that air of having chosen what she's about to sing at the very moment of singing it, the structuring of everything as a fraught conversation - is it you? is it me?

That's what makes it remarkable - not the confessionalism per se, but the way the album exposes a relationship between feeling and style, Joni having to find new ways to write songs in order to get across the cards James Taylor life has dealt her.

Tim F, Monday, 7 December 2009 22:10 (nine years ago) link

'carey' for when i'm in a good mood, 'richard' for when i'm not

an error has occurred (electricsound), Monday, 7 December 2009 22:32 (nine years ago) link

dunno if i'd ever play this record when i'm in a good mood ...

tylerw, Monday, 7 December 2009 22:36 (nine years ago) link

"will you take me as i am, STRUNG OUT ON ANOTHER MAN"

booming lyric imo

plaxico (I know, right?), Monday, 7 December 2009 23:27 (nine years ago) link

I'm not sure I could say this about many other albums, but every time someone has quoted a lyric in this thread I've been able to immediately place it in my head, exactly what song it's in, what it sounds like, what I feel about it -- it's like I know every inch of this album intimately.

Mordy, Monday, 7 December 2009 23:29 (nine years ago) link

But the whole first verse makes up for that. xpost

Action Orientation (Eazy), Monday, 7 December 2009 23:30 (nine years ago) link

I'll go for Carey for sheer pleasure, Little Green for lyrical elegance.

― Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Monday, December 7, 2009 5:55 PM (5 hours ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

p-dog, Monday, 7 December 2009 23:32 (nine years ago) link

"will you take me as i am, STRUNG OUT ON ANOTHER MAN"

booming lyric imo

^^^^

Tim F, Monday, 7 December 2009 23:34 (nine years ago) link

The Last Time I Saw Richard

derrrick, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 06:17 (nine years ago) link

All I Want - how could anyone turn down her persona in this song??

that's not my post, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 06:47 (nine years ago) link

this is making me reconsider

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q4foLKDlcE

that's not my post, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 07:41 (nine years ago) link

^reconsider my vote that is...

that's not my post, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 07:41 (nine years ago) link

All I Want - how could anyone turn down her persona in this song??

I love the plaintiveness of "I wanna have fun..." - you can almost here a bracketed "is that too much to ask?" afterwards.

Tim F, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 08:35 (nine years ago) link

it's less sentimental than "little green"

I don't think 'Little Green' is sentimental at all; the gap between the wishes expressed- 'there'll be icicles and birthday clothes and sometimes there'll be sorrow'- and the fact that the narrative voice knows fully the enormity of what is being done and size of the wound being consciously deliberately opened up for both mother and child, mocks the wish as it is expressed. It's an astonishing song because Joni accepts the size of what is being done and doesn't attempt to clothe it in sentiment: she explains the situation but doesn't excuse either herself or the father, but nor, in the strangest most devastating line, does she cloth herself in false guilt: 'you're sad and you're sorry, but you're not ashamed'.......

Even the way it ends, with the little riff repeated an uneven number of times, and the resolving chord coming in slightly off- time and too loud points to this lack of fit between the words said - between anything that words could say - and what is being done.

sonofstan, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 09:05 (nine years ago) link

Could've sworn we did this already but "All I Want," Carey," and the title track are my shit. I went for "Blue" because I can never tell when it ends.

Kevin John Bozelka, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 09:23 (nine years ago) link

"River" is my shit too. And "Richard." And.........

Kevin John Bozelka, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 09:26 (nine years ago) link

i meant the melody not the lyrics of "my old man" being less sentimental than "little green's". the first chords of "little green" immediately stir up emotion in me, touch something deep inside whereas "my old man" has a more relaxed, more ripe, bluesy down-to-earth vibe.

alex in mainhattan, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 21:09 (nine years ago) link

i didn't know until recently that this album was a result of being bummed out over james taylor. understandable though. he was one hot junkie.

http://blogs.sltrib.com/burger/uploaded_images/James-Taylor-69374-14-757585.jpg

scott seward, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 21:24 (nine years ago) link

there's a recording of them playing live together at some point -- they sound great! Nice blend.

tylerw, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 21:26 (nine years ago) link

man that live youtube clip...wow....what a talent.

eight woofers in the trunk sb'n down the block (M@tt He1ges0n), Tuesday, 8 December 2009 21:32 (nine years ago) link

He is pretty dreamy. I think only a couple of the very final songs written are about Taylor though - most of the album predates it. "My Old Man" is about Graham Nash for instance (as a side note, when I first got into this album at about 13, it didn't occur to me that "old man" might be used to describe yr boyfriend, i thought it must mean "father", and was kinda confused by the song as a result). There's also an argument that "A Case Of You" is about Leonard Cohen, though I find that unlikely.

Heaps of For The Roses is about Taylor as well - "See You Sometime", "The Blonde In The Bleachers", "Lessons In Survival".

Tim F, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 21:51 (nine years ago) link

yeah i meant that the actual "blue" vibe of the album was cuzza james. not all the actual songs.

scott seward, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 21:57 (nine years ago) link

man, reading that hotel california book i was really tempted to start writing down whose songs were about who, but it was endless. joni in particular. but all those laurel canyon people really.

scott seward, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 21:59 (nine years ago) link

^loved that book. all the stuff about joni was fascinating

an error has occurred (electricsound), Tuesday, 8 December 2009 22:13 (nine years ago) link

this is just such a fucking amazing record

i sorta love every song on this in a way that deprives them of much individuality but i think i like 'california' the most its so spry and lovely but deeply sad, 'the streets are full of strangers' part, where her voice lifts up on 'strung out on another man'... its just so perfect

peebutt fartbottom (Lamp), Thursday, 8 March 2012 05:11 (seven years ago) link

this is just such a fucking amazing record

cannot be said enough

Tim F, Thursday, 8 March 2012 05:57 (seven years ago) link

"---well, surely you touched mine"

― lex pretend, Monday, December 7, 2009 6:15 PM (2 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this post made me tear up. this record has held me for two decades.

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:05 (seven years ago) link

another line I love:

"he gave me back my smile / but he took my camera cell..."

Tim F, Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:14 (seven years ago) link

actually it's "my camera to sell" isn't it.

It's the way she says it that is so effective.

Tim F, Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:16 (seven years ago) link

i have listened to so much joni tonite

the line 'it's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head' is sorta killing me rn

^lame (Lamp), Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:18 (seven years ago) link

ohhhh the way the tone of her voice changes on "i'm gonna blow this damn candle out"

an elk hunt (Ówen P.), Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:21 (seven years ago) link

As I was kinda saying upthread, "The Last Time I Saw Richard" is a song which I suspect only Joni could write, she plays both sides of the song so convincingly.

Tim F, Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:36 (seven years ago) link

haha yr first post itt is really good although i had a chuckle @ 'in a Bakhtin sense'

Lamp, Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:39 (seven years ago) link

Man. I'm glad this is the first bookmark I saw when wandering by - a week of doing PWolf over at OneWeek/OneBand has sent me to Blue and Hejira at every spare moment/opportunity.

The dulcimer is such a gorgeous instrument.

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:47 (seven years ago) link

Her pacing on "undoes all the joy that could be" is lovely. Just stretching out those last two words.

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:48 (seven years ago) link

'A Case of You' used to be such an easy default answer for best song on Blue and now I don't understand how I was ever capable of not struggling with the question.

Besides maybe 'Little Green' and 'River', which I love slightly less than the rest, I have no idea how I'd answer today.

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Thursday, 8 March 2012 06:50 (seven years ago) link

haha yr first post itt is really good although i had a chuckle @ 'in a Bakhtin sense'

tbh when I read my first post again I died inside a little when I saw this.

Tim F, Thursday, 8 March 2012 11:09 (seven years ago) link

guys, i hope u all vote in upcoming joni artist poll. also - this album is so good i can't even listen to it anymore. every time i put it on i just feel entirely overcome with emotion. i have to save it for an evening when i have no responsibilities and don't mind enter blue-affect for a few hours.

Mordy, Thursday, 8 March 2012 16:15 (seven years ago) link

i haven't been able to think about listening to it for months but tonight may be the night

Nultified Ancients of Man U (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 March 2012 16:18 (seven years ago) link

my old man is a great song fuiud

max, Thursday, 8 March 2012 16:24 (seven years ago) link

we don't need no piece of paper from the city hall/fuck you if you disagree

simulation and similac (Hurting 2), Thursday, 8 March 2012 16:52 (seven years ago) link

"he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on/and all the house lights left up bright" = one of the most devastating descriptions in any song

simulation and similac (Hurting 2), Thursday, 8 March 2012 16:55 (seven years ago) link

Besides maybe 'Little Green' and 'River', which I love slightly less than the rest, I have no idea how I'd answer today.

oh man "Little Green" just kills me - when she says "you're sad, and you're sorry, but you're not ashamed" I completely collapse. a song of almost unimaginable honesty in my opinion.

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 8 March 2012 17:21 (seven years ago) link

yeah how could anyone not love "little green" it destroys me

horseshoe, Thursday, 8 March 2012 17:22 (seven years ago) link

this thread revive is kind of stressing me out--i can't listen to this album right now, okay???

horseshoe, Thursday, 8 March 2012 17:23 (seven years ago) link

"child with a child pretending" devastates me

Mordy, Thursday, 8 March 2012 17:26 (seven years ago) link

shit i think i'm going to play this album.let me go hide the alcohol first

Mordy, Thursday, 8 March 2012 17:26 (seven years ago) link

maybe i'll just play hejira instead as a compromise

Mordy, Thursday, 8 March 2012 17:27 (seven years ago) link

I'd have gone with "all i want"

Jessie Fer Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Thursday, 8 March 2012 22:24 (seven years ago) link

this album and me, we've parted ways
don't know how long, won't count the days
a classic yes, will always be
just not in my heart, no more for me

surm, Thursday, 8 March 2012 22:33 (seven years ago) link

'richard' is nice but very surprised that won this poll.

skip, Thursday, 8 March 2012 22:36 (seven years ago) link

I went to Crete a couple years back and stayed near Matala ("beneath a Matala moon" is the line in "Carey" that I'd thought was "beneath a map of the moon" when I owned the album on cassette) and the vibe of that song became so, so, so vivid to me. The wind was in from Africa every night, there's all these little tavernas you can just hang out in, all these caves the hippies used to camp out in (which they thought were monks' quarters but were actually ANCIENT TOMBS)...getting a connection to a Blue lyric made me deliriously happy

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 8 March 2012 23:39 (seven years ago) link

:D

i was singing "Carey" to myself all last night.

cdn't bring myself to wrestle with the album tho.

Nultified Ancients of Man U (Noodle Vague), Friday, 9 March 2012 09:37 (seven years ago) link

YOU'RE A MEAN OLD DADDY BUT I LIKE YOU

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 March 2012 12:12 (seven years ago) link

I've always thought that line was "Beneath the mantle of the moon." I've probably misheard a lot of lines on this album.

"marvellously inoffensive" (Eazy), Friday, 9 March 2012 12:39 (seven years ago) link

five years pass...

California is my eternal summer jam, even though I don't live there. So many subtle touches to the arrangement, i fuckin love it when the steel comes in at the very end.

black covfefe in bed (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 21 June 2017 19:13 (two years ago) link

("beneath a Matala moon" is the line in "Carey" that I'd thought was "beneath a map of the moon" when I owned the album on cassette

Always thought this was "the mantle of the moon"!

Eazy, Wednesday, 21 June 2017 20:27 (two years ago) link

Love rereading this thread.

Tim F, Thursday, 22 June 2017 22:54 (two years ago) link

this is beautiful, paul horn with joni mitchell on piano and wordless vox

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS1lzfDmKL4

brimstead, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:13 (two years ago) link

it's a scandal that "my old man" got no votes here. an amazing song which is better than the best songs of most musicians/bands.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 23 June 2017 08:37 (two years ago) link

the real scandal is the size of my bed and my frying pans

pray for BoJo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 23 June 2017 09:22 (two years ago) link

I had an old original vinyl copy of this that had clearly been played a thousand times, got it in college when I first discovered Joni's music. This year I got the Rhino remastered 180g vinyl, and while I didn't have a lot of faith in it actually being any better, the whole record just opened up for me all over again, like I'd never really listened to it before. You could isolate just about any single line from this album and people who didn't know it would be like ooohhhhh shiiiiii

Guy Pidgeotto (Tom Violence), Friday, 23 June 2017 18:28 (two years ago) link

nine months pass...

that moment in "this flight tonight" when you, the listener, not just the narrator in the song, hear the band through the headphones, is SO. GOOD

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 30 March 2018 23:33 (one year ago) link

hi Brad

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 March 2018 23:35 (one year ago) link

a case of you is really fun to play on guitar, obviously not the same as a dulcimer, but those chords are so great. or at least the chords in this tab: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/joni_mitchell/a_case_of_you_chords_957219

flappy bird, Saturday, 31 March 2018 01:19 (one year ago) link

brad otm - been loving that song for thirty years and that moment always puts a smile on my face

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Saturday, 31 March 2018 02:12 (one year ago) link

that + the "help me" callback to it in "the ballad of dorothy parker" = name a more iconic pair of musical moments between two discographies

lowercase (eric), Saturday, 31 March 2018 02:28 (one year ago) link

funny how I listen to this album least of the ones in her major sequence but I'm a sucker for any description that takes me back

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 31 March 2018 02:39 (one year ago) link

"my old man" getting nothing is bonkers. every point in song she says "my" is sublime. "he's the warmest chord i ever heard" is a killer line.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Saturday, 31 March 2018 04:48 (one year ago) link

River 8
A Case Of You 7

Ugh. Richard topping ACOY, ok, but River? Mentalism.

Great album at least if you're focused on the heights of the highs, but I'll take the two at least as great follow-ups, thanks. Probably because I prefer Spring and Summer to Winter.

Moo Vaughn, Saturday, 31 March 2018 05:32 (one year ago) link

There's a big kerfuffle in the youtube comments for "This Flight Tonight" because apparently when landing a plane you put the flaps down, not up, and raising the flaps would send the plane crashing down noseward. Others in the thread say Joni got it right, or that it's impossible to raise the flaps at all. Any pilots here? I need to know....

Lee626, Saturday, 31 March 2018 11:33 (one year ago) link

Even though Joni's zenith was shorter than Dylan's (to say nothing of his multiple peaks) she really said shit that was out of his range. The emotional honesty of Blue - Hejira is a whole other level. And of necessity, cringe-inducing when we can't acknowledge our own feelings to that extent.

startled macropod (MatthewK), Saturday, 31 March 2018 12:24 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

the wind is in from africa

american bradass (BradNelson), Saturday, 10 August 2019 23:17 (one week ago) link

the "jingle bells" interpolation in "river" is really annoying to me and always takes me out of it, which is a shame because the rest of it is so good

ufo, Sunday, 11 August 2019 09:09 (six days ago) link


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