Joni Mitchell

She shaved paradise and put up a landing strip

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Okay! Now that all the Joni Mitchell fans have left the room, let's get started.

*special introductory paragraph!
*Song To A Seagull
*Clouds
*Ladies Of The Canyon
*Blue
*For The Roses
*Court And Spark
*The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
*Hejira
*Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
*Mingus
*Wild Things Run Fast
*Dog Eat Dog
*Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm
*Night Ride Home
*Turbulent Indigo
*Taming The Tiger
*Both Sides Now
*Travelogue
*Shine

Joni Mitchell is one of the most famous and critically acclaimed female singer-songwriters of all time. She has like two good albums.


Song To A Seagull - Reprise 1968
Rating = 8

When 24-year-old Canadian-born Roberta Joan Anderson Mitchell decided to accept a recording artist position with Reprise Records, she did so with a debut album of such soft pretty voice and haunting acoustic guitarwork that it's no wonder we forgave her for dating David Crosby and allowed her to record 17 more albums for us, her fans.

Now I know you're sitting out there in your fancy clothes and saying, "Hay Mark, you hate woman musicians. Remember what you said about PJ Harvey and the mustache? That wasn't very nice." But that's the sort of lies and fibbery they want you to believe. For example, Stereolab is a woman, and I like her. I also like Led Zeppelin, and their singer sounds like a woman. The real problem can be explained through this mathematics equation: (a) Most men and women in the recording industry are incapable of writing a decent song + (b) Compared to men, there are very few women in the recording industry = (c) Compared to men, there are very few women in the music industry that are capable of writing a song. Seriously, if Tori Amos wrote songs like these, I wouldn't want to deck her with a lawn chair every time she opens her mouth.

But come on, this isn't about me. This is about a terrific debut album by Joni Mitchell. Nine of the ten tracks feature Joni alone, playing (mostly) melancholy and foreboding arpeggios/chord sequences on her acoustic guitar while alternating between a strong mid-range singing voice and a fragile, lovely high register. The music is very quiet and gently-played, but most of the songs seem to feature double-tracked playing (either that or crystal clear separation of the strings between channels, somehow). I've read that Joni often used alternate guitar tunings, but I'm not sure whether she was already doing so at this point. I wouldn't be surprised to learn she was though, because most of these guitar lines are far more creative than one would expect from a mere 'folky singer-songwriter.' Even my wife likes this album -- and she HATES women! My GOD does she hate women! If you've got a high voice or a vagina, you'd best STAY AWAY from my wife, because she'll hit you with a BRICKBAT! Yes, women and my wife are like vinegar and my pants! They "just don't go together"!

Lyrically, it's sort of a flower child concept album about a woman who is loved by many men, but refuses to be tied down to any of them because freedom is where it's at. Joni had recently left a stifling marriage, so it's not surprising that her mind was on freedom and its resultant joys and loneliness -- especially since this was back in the '60s when men were chauvinist PRICKS trying to make you walk around naked and fix dinner with a baby. Thank God I wasn't born until the sensible era of Richard Nixon's 1973. Thank you Richard Nixon, for ushering in the era of the sensitive man.

I don't think there were any hits on this, so don't worry that you're getting yourself into "Big Yellow Taxi" or some crap. There are a couple of dull 'gentle, uplifting' hippy folk songs, but only a couple. As I said, most of the melodies are pretty stark and cold in a compelling way. That is, as long as you're not talking about the impossibly bouncy and happy piano/bass tune "Night In The City"! Thank you Stephen Stills, for ushering in the bass line of this bouncy song.

But Jesus Christ, do you realize how much my wife hates women??? One time she thought she saw a woman, and she threw a LIVE CHAINSAW covered in ELECTRIC SNAKES at her!!! And it turned out to be a GUY WITH LONG HAIR!!! She simply HATES, HATES, HATES WOMEN!

As such, it's best if women only come by the house when my wife isn't home. Email me for her upcoming travel schedule.

Also, she can sense if a homely or overweight woman has been in her home, so FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY, please don't email me if that's the case. Because she HATES, HATES, HATES WOMEN!!!!!

Reader Comments

tbecker@citlink.net
Joni's first album was clearly one of her best. Unfortunately, that isn't made very clear by your review. "Michael From Mountains" was a very good track and so was "Sisotowbell Lane." The album ends with "Cactus Tree," which does qualify as a minor hit. You have to realize that until "Court and Spark," Joni's much acclaimed sell out album, she had a cult following. Since you weren't even born until 1973 and you missed everything that happened in the fifities, sixties, and even in the seventies (since you were still shitting in your diapers until half the decade was over), you no doubt are completely unaware of this fact. People who didn't even like Mitchell before Court and Spark suddenly became wowed by her. I hate that album. It totally sucks. From that point on, her music went decidedly downhill.

Joni Mitchell's first five albums were all very good musical efforts. Will now read the rest of your review.

Add your thoughts?


Clouds - Reprise 1969
Rating = 6

Today is Friday the 13th! In celebration, I just posted a stupid boring bulletin on MySpace. Since a bunch of words is a terrible thing to waste, I will reprint it here in its entirety (in case you don't frequent the MySpace networking site of fake porn girls):

Of course I've seen every Friday The 13th film! Who hasn't?

I - A classic, but I've seen it too many times to want to ever watch it again. An early role for Kevin Bacon! And the killer is of course not Jason, but his mother. Good old Jason's mother. Keepin' it real. (Until she gets her head chopped off)

II - Scary! Jason wears a bag over his head and is a gross backwoods cretin. Several murders were stolen from Mario Bava's "A Bay Of Blood," as you probably already know since every movie critic in the world mentions that

III - Jason picks up his hockey mask for the first time, and kills a fat prankster, 2 'hilarious' hippies, a 'hilarious' married older couple, a 'tough' motorcycle gang and blah blah blahslakfjsdk. It was originally released in 3D, and even in 2D on TV it's hilarious to watch all the stuff they push out towards the camera (the yo-yo scene - oh, the sweet sweet yo-yo scene)

IV - It has a couple of super-obnoxious characters (particularly the Italian-looking prick who keeps laughing at the stag film), but hey! It's also got Corey Feldman and the wonderful Crispin Glover! I think this is the one where the guy walking on his hands gets split in two as well. Whee!

V - This is the ONLY Friday the 13th movie that I hate. It's not just that the killer is an ambulance driver instead of Jason; it's that it takes place at a halfway house for disturbed teenagers, and EVERYBODY plays it like a joke. The whole point of the film seems to be "let's make fun of retards!" It's a terrible movie. Apparently the director was a sleazy drug-using creep who tried to turn it into a porno too.

VI - I saw this at the theatre when it came out and at the time was very disappointed that so many of the gore scenes had been cut out. Watching it again recently however, I enjoyed it! It has a witty script. Also this is the one where Jason first becomes an undead zombie, so that's why he's so unkillable from this point on.

VII - A girl with telekinesis battles Jason in what every movie critic in the world calls "Jason Meets Carrie." Apparently most of the male cast was gay, and everybody used lots of drugs on the shoot. I liked it, but you know me. Don't we all know me?

VIII - Kane Hodder plays the role of Jason with BRUTE ANGER. For the first time, Jason really seems to be seething with uncontrolled rage towards teenagers. This is the infamous "Jason Takes Manhattan" one that disappointed everybody because most of it takes place on a ship. However, the ship is a FANTASTIC location for it. I quite liked it! Especially the scene where a young black boxer punches Jason about 50 times in the face (on top of a roof), then (exhausted) says to him, "Give me your best shot," at which point Jason punches the guy's head clear off his body! (and the roof!)

IX - I thought this was dumb as shit when I watched it back in college, but now that I'm older and less discriminating, I think it's great. Jason is killed in a gigantic police ambush, a coroner is hypnotized into eating his black heart, and then Jason's evil essence keeps going from person to person in an attempt to kill the only remaining Vorhees or some crap. At any rate, it was fun and funny!

X - This was the futuristic "Jason In Space" one. The funniest script yet, and some fantastic special effects. It was the first Friday film ever to have a decent budget! The 'hologram' scene is a laugh-out-pants riot.

XI - Freddy Meets Jason. I enjoyed it, the world enjoyed it, we all enjoyed it. I don't remember a thing about it, except that one scene where Jason killed like a bajillion people out in a field.

THE KEY TO ENJOYING FRIDAY THE 13TH MOVIES: DO NOT THINK OF JASON AS A SERIAL KILLER AND THE FILMS AS "HORROR MOVIES." THINK OF JASON AS AN OLD-STYLE "MONSTER" LIKE FRANKENSTEIN OR THE WOLFMAN, AND ENJOY THE FILMS AS SILLY 'MONSTER' MOVIES. Seriously - because only the first two even bother trying to be scary (and they ARE pretty scary). After that it's just fun killings of dopey characters.

Rent them all tonight!

Except #5 because it's terrible!

On a related note, what's with all the beards? Today's young people are wearing beards and plaid shirts in a rancid, hirsute throwback to the mid-70s. Is it Modest Mouse's fault? Back in my day, beards were meant for irony, not manliness. Beards are gross-looking, and make you look 40 when you're 22. Is that their appeal? They're ugly and stupid-looking. If you have a beard, shave it.

And grow a mustache. Mustaches are killer. Every girl wants to fuck a mustache. Why do you think they're always wearing t-shirts that say "I'd like a Free Mustache Ride"? Bitches, with their whores.

On the subject of bitches, whores and mustaches, whoever produced the second Joni Mitchell album needs to get the dick out of his ear because it's one of the worst-sounding albums I've ever heard. Maybe it's been remixed for CD (I don't know), but my LP version is so unlistenable, I can't listen to more than two cuts without getting a pounding headache. Every single song is just Joni and her acoustic guitar, so it seems like it should've been a pretty simple recording process; unfortunately, the mic was apparently lodged halfway down her throat and plugged into a bass amp, while her hands evidently played the guitar parts 500 miles away inside a musty cardboard box. If you want to hear the guitar melodies, tough toenails - turn up your stereo and she'll just muffledly intone at you even louder.

Her songwriting has become a bit less interesting as well. There are still a few smart, quirky chord sequences (particularly the ominous "Roses Blue" and delightfully crooked "Songs To Aging Children Come"), but her songwriting has made a clear move away from the musically idiosyncratic towards the (a) pleasantly strummy and (b) somberly melodramatic. I'm fine with pleasantly strummy things if their emotions feel genuine and the melodies are at least slightly unique (which is why the warm, resolving "The Gallery" and melancholic classic "Both Sides Now" both appeal to me) but I've no interest at all in generic singer-songwriter folk or sub-Times They Are A-Changin' stone-faced protest (which is why the astringent, off-putting "The Fiddle And The Drum" and "Tin Angel" do not).

The main problem is the godawful production though, which destroys the effect of her soft vocal approach by blasting it directly into your brain at an extremely unpleasant frequency. Occasional overdubbed vocal harmonies help a little - if only they'd thought to overdub an audible guitar!

Lyrically she discusses love, fear, experience, war, music and some guy who cheated at cards or something. "Seasons will pass you by - I get up, I get down" - she totally would have sang that had she been in Yes in 1972, which Thank God she wasn't because can you imagine a dainty woman taking the place of gruff, throaty sex rocker Jon Anderson?

The craziest thing of all is that this album has "Chelsea Morning" on it, and guess where and when I'm writing this review?

That's right! In Paris, France at 3:35 in the afternoon!

No no, I'm kidding. I'm in CHELSEA in THE MORNING! "Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, gonna write a shitty review. Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, full of gay people - oooo." Yes it's no surprise or wonder that Joni Mitchell wrote this song for me. Too bad it stinks and I hate it.

Okay, I don't hate it. It's sure dippy-hippy though and hardly in a good way. But you know what I really DO hate? That guy who used to sing for The Cult - Ian Astbury. Man, do I HATE ASTBURY! (Haight-Ashbury)

See, you don't see Joni Mitchell growing a beard. Enough with the beards, young people. You're going to get ticks if you don't shave that thing off. For example, last night Henry The Dog woke me up at 1:30 AM with a lightning bug on his back. Do you want that to happen to you? Lightning bugs all blinking and glowing in your beard like it's Christmastime in Whiskerville? Why not just grow a dick on your face? You look like a crotch anyway, with that damn beard.

Reader Comments

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
This is most probably her finest record. The beautiful melancholy of "Tin Angel" that starts the record, the ballads "I Don't Know Where I Stand" and "The Gallery", the sad "Roses Blue" and the classic "Both Sides Now" are some of the nicest things on her repertoire.

Granted, "The Fiddle and the Drum" is not as interesting as others, but with more songs like "That Song About the Midway" and "Songs To Aging Children Come" it's a strong second album that made me like Joni.

All thanks to you.

On a related note, the guy walking on his hands who gets split in two is from Friday the 13th Part 3, not Part 4 Mark.

tbecker@citlink.net
I wouldn't believe your ridiculous review of Clouds were it not already apparent that you are simply some shallow Gen Xer who doesn't understand what talent really is and hates Baby Boomers, especially the people Baby Boomers admire, like Joni Mitchell. While I initially preferred Joni's first album, Song to a Seagull, Clouds takes some listening before one can fully appreciate it. I'm not about to share what I think of certain tracks with a numbnuts reviewer like yourself, but give me a break, junior. "Tin Angel" and "I Don't Know Where I Stand" form the spiritual core of the album and alone are better offerings than whole albums of the usual crap your generation puts out. You really don't know very much about music, that much is increasingly evident. It's not even a matter of taste. Your comments are simply stupid.

Add your thoughts?


Ladies Of The Canyon - Reprise 1970
Rating = 5

Today is my 34th birthday! I outlived Jesus! My secret? I didn't encourage a group of illiterates and schizophrenics to establish a religion around me!

Joni Mitchell has discovered the piano, and uses it as lead instrument in 5 of these 12 songs. A few tracks also include saxophone, cello, flute, clarinet and/or groovy organ. The production is much clearer and brighter than on the hideous-sounding predecessor, as well. But I can only like the kinds of songs that I naturally like. I can tolerate generic strummy acousticness and dull hippy peace folk music, but free of notable hooks or moving emotion, I'm never going to jump up and down pumping my fist in the air over it. Seriously, is it even possible to love "Big Yellow Taxi"? Its cloying chipperness makes it sound geared specifically towards a Sesame Street audience, and the cleverness of her "museum"/"to see 'em" rhyme is instantly negated by her so-fucking-annoying-it-makes-you-want-to-strangle-her-with-a-fistful-of-her-own-grotesque-stringy-hair 'really high voice/really low voice' gag during the final lyric. Plus, a full quarter of the album -- "The Circle Game," "Morning Morgantown" and "Conversation" -- is dated pre-Song For A Seagull material that should have been left in her Trash Can of Strummy Boring Folk Crap where it belonged!

The most compelling compositions on here are those that find her reaching beyond her previous influences. For example, the excellent arpeggiated title track infuses her usual acoustic guitarwork with a regal baroque influence. Furthermore, although her slow quiet pianowork gets a bit samey over the course of the record, the moody pieces "For Free" and "Rainy Night House" have a baroque chamber pop feel that pre-dates Tori Amos' excellent early compositions by two fine decades. Most surprisingly of all (to a butt-backward listener like myself), her vibrato-organed original version of "Woodstock" sounds less like CSNY's "Woodstock" than Bad Company's "Bad Company"!

Joni Mitchell, lyricist, seems to write a lot about her own life. Particularly her own love life. I, however, don't know anything about her life, so I'm going to leave it up to you to find out whether this is her talking from the heart or just making shit up. Like "Conversation," where she wants this guy for her own, but he only sees her as a friend with whom to discuss problems he's having with his girlfriend, a woman whom Joni thinks is a bitch. Or "Willy," where she loves this guy but he's afraid of commitment because he's been hurt before. Or "Big Yellow Taxi," where she literally paves paradise and replaces it with a parking lot.

So if you're in the mood for an album that keeps veering haphazardly between optimistic peaceful '60s folk strummers and suicidally mopey piano dirges, look no further than the tip of your nose, where I've glued a copy of Ladies Of The Canyon!

Today is my 34th birthday! I outlived my own usefulness!

Reader Comments

jdooty2234@msn.com (John Wallace)
Just wanted to say that I'm glad to see new reviews (what was weird was that I was browsing your site at 8AM and by 8:30 the "updated" link was changed. Nuts.

Oh yeah... "Big Yellow Taxi" is one of the worst things ever recorded. I'd rather listen to G.G. Allin.

Who wouldn't, though?

rkay51@hotmail.com (Ryan)
Hi Mark,

OK, now I am just browsing artists I have no real interest in, but as I said in my other email I am trying to figure out the legality of Rapidshare, and can't be arsed with it.
2 points - 1. the line "where she literally paves paradise and replaces it with a parking lot" made me emit a loud "HA!" in the library and look mildly insane.
2. You should fix up an amazon link at the bottom of your page for amazon.co.uk. It's an untapped market, and unless I am ordering things that aren't out in the UK (like Zach Galifinakis's DVD - that's a good un!) I don't use the ol' dotcom.

All the best

tbecker@citlink.net
Jesus, can you be any fuller of shit than you are? Your remarks are nothing short of disgusting and you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground. Golly gee, sonny, you made it to a whopping 34 years old! Wow, you must be feeling really wise about now. Listen kid, don't quit your day job. The fact that some moron like you can even be squawking about all this is why I hate the Interent sometimes. Ladies of the Canyon is an excellent album and "Morning Morgantown" is one of it's best tracks. I won't let you in on the story of that song because you are such a ridiculous little twirp that anyone who takes your shit seriously must be deluded. Get a life, kid. Nobody gives a shit what you think of Joni Mitchell. You might have remarked that she has displayed incredibly bad taste in men from time to time, but that seems beyond your grasp. She spent most of her life looking for some sort of ideal lover and she always ends up with these total flakes from Hollywood or somewhere else like that. It seems Joni believes that the only sort of man who would be sensitive enough to understand her are these shallow musicians and actors. My God, did she really screw Jack Nicholson AND Warren Beatty? How sad. Did they use a date rape drug on her first or is she really that fucked up? I'd heard about her Jackson Browne debacle, actually attempting suicide over that pathetic nonentity, but this is too much. The point is, moron, THERE is something to write about. Don't try to pick apart Joni's first five albums. Compared to any one of them, you are shit in the bowl.

Add your thoughts?


Blue - Reprise 1971
Rating = 5

Come on now, I was just teasing your beard. Your beard is fine. It's a very special collection of hairs, and I wouldn't want you to shave even an inch off of it. I would miss that inch far, far too deeply. "Where did that inch of your beard go?" I would ask, tears welling up in the corners of my eyes. All young people should look like ZZ Top, END OF DISCUSSION.

As for this album, MORE LIKE BLEW if you ask me!!!!!

That was a little joke for all my Miles Davis Page fans out there. Nevertheless, this is my least favorite of the first six (ie Golden Era) Joni Mitchell records. You know how people include Joni Mitchell in their lists of early '70s laidback soft rock singer-songwriters? This album is the reason why. She generally did a pretty good job of maintaining her own sound and vision regardless of what the 'hot contemporary sound' was, but not here. On Blue, she falls hooks, lame and stinker (PUN CITY, USA!!!!) into the lazy, self-satisfied post-'60s "Me Generation" shitmire. Here, here's some evidence:

Evidence Piece 1: James "Piece Of Shit" Taylor guest starring on three songs.

Evidence Piece 2: Rather than simply using the vocal gifts that God (DNA) gave her, Joni trying to infuse her vocals with a raw blues/soul affect that screams, "My, but I'm in love with the sound of my own voice."

Evidence Piece 3: Chord changes so cliche'd and predictable that it must have been honestly difficult for Joni to dumb her sound down to such a degree.

Evidence Piece 4 and Final: An energy level conducive only to sitting on the patio, drinking hard lemonade, and wondering where your testicles went.

Among this swampy vomitbag of over-relaxed folk-pop, Sesame Street soul-blues, and Natalie Merchanty singer-songwriter awfulness lie three great performances of three great songs: "Carey" is a delightfully warm and happy song driven by CSN-style harmonies (courtesy of S himself!); the title track is one of the very, very few songs on here that is stark and foreboding enough to actually qualify as 'blue'; and the interestingly-melodied and brilliantly-lyriced "This Flight Tonight" is so killer that Nazareth covered it a couple years later.

Let's talk about Nazareth for a second, while we're hanging out like this. If you look at (or listen to) their entire 30-some-odd-year discography, it's hard to deny that overall they were a horrifically shitty band. However, some of their early albums are absolute must-owns of '70s hard rock. Specifically, if you don't already own Razamanaz, Loud & Proud and especially Hair Of The Dog (an EASY 10 on the ol Prindle scale), BUY THEM NOW!

(through the Amazon link at the bottom of this page)

Although some of her lyrics are 'confessional' to the point of just being diary entries that rhyme, Joni Mitchell really does have a gift for poetic imagery and verbal encapsulation of true emotion. To demonstrate, let me share with you "This Flight Tonight" in its entirety, as performed by Nazareth. My good grief God does this song fill my brain with images I've never seen and emotions I've never felt.....

"Look out the left," the captain said
"The lights down there, that's where we'll land."
I saw a falling star a-burning
High above the Las Vegas sands

It wasn't the one that you gave to me
That night down south between the trailers
Not the early one that you wish upon
Not the northern one that guides in the sailors

You've got that touch so gentle and sweet
But you've got that look so critical
I can't talk to you babe, you know I get so weak
Sometimes I think that love is just mythical

Up there's a heaven, down there's a town
Blackness everywhere and little lights shine
Blackness blackness dragging me down
Come on light the candle in this heart of mine

Starbright starbright
You've got the lovin' that I like
Turn this crazy bird around
I should not have got on this flight tonight

I'm drinking sweet champagne, got the headphones up high
Can't numb you, can't drum you out of my mind
They're singing, "Goodbye baby, baby bye-bye
Ooh - love is blind"

Up go the flaps, down go the wheels
I hope you got your heat turned on baby
I hope they finally fixed your automobile
I hope it's better when we meet again baby

Starbright starbright
You've got the lovin' that I like
Turn this crazy bird around
I should not have got on this flight tonight

God, I fuckin' LOVE that song! Granted, it's Nazareth's cover that I "fuckin' LOVE," but even Joni's version is fantastic (though it sounds like a demo tape compared to the choogling, bombastic cover).

A few other tracks show promise -- the understated Christmas melancholy of "River" almost makes up for its dull melody, and "The Last Time I Saw Richard" would be a very pretty piano song if Joni weren't singing at the top of her lungs into a microphone cranked up to 100,000 -- but overall this is Joni doing the generic '70s soft rock singer-songwriter thing and I've no need for that. The WORLD has no need for that. I asked them and they were all like, "Yech!" Especially Zambia.

Also, let me stress that when I nicknamed James Taylor "Piece Of Shit" above, I was referring only to his music, not to his qualities as a human being. By all accounts he's a very nice man; it's just his songs that make me want to squeeze him out of my anus into a toilet bowl.

Reader Comments

S Fall
Can I be first to say that you are way too harsh on Joni's Blue period. It's a great, great album. Almost as good as Tapestry by Carole King.

pozwr@webtv.net
Jeez !
I really enjoyed the landing strip!
Dis Joni all you need to, but Miles Davis?
I'm a fan of brutal music, so if you are as well, check out the first song of Pangaea about 12 minutes in to hear the absolutely most rudest guitar noise ever. Miles' Live-Evil has gruesome funk-noise as well.

And Meatmen's version of Razamatazz kicks sweet.

Who has a bigger mouth,Joni or Carly? :D

ddickso2@uccs.edu
Based on this album's cover and Joni Mitchell's freewheeling descriptions of all her man-lovers, I will have to conclude that the '70's were a time when "sexy" equalled "looking ten years older than you actually are." In fact, based on watching Saturday Night Fever, I'm virtually positive that's the case.

Decent album! But its reputation overrates it. About half the songs are great, the rest are too lightweight and fluffy to like. Waaaaay happier and perkier than the color scheme would have you believe.

But Mark! You didn't like "My Old Man"? How can you resist that part that goes We DON'T NEED, a piece of paPER from the ciTY hall, keepin us tiied aaannd truUE no? How can ANYONE? Reminds me of that Really Rosie animated video we all had to watch in kindergarten, it does. (soundtrack by Carole King)

Never heard the Nazareth cover, probably never will. As for Hair of the Dog, the only song I liked on that was "Love Hurts." Go figure.

goldheart5@hotmail.com
It took me forever to get into this one, but I think thatís basically because I didnít hear Joni Mitchell until I was 21. When I was growing up Iíd hear Jewel or Tori Amos on Much Music and what I was really hearing was an inferior artist sounding kind of like Joni, so when I first heard Blue it just reminded me of that other crap. Kind of like if you heard Offspring before you heard Nirvana, you might at first think Nirvana was kind of lameÖ which theyíre not, but there you go. So, if you give this album some time I would bet that the majority of the songs will grow on you. River, My old Man, Blue, All I want, The Last Time I Saw Richard, Cary, CaliforniaÖ most people would kill to have written any of them, let alone have all of them on one record. And she gets even better on Court & Spark with the exception of those 2 final songs.

tbecker@citlink.net
It's a good album but among her classic first five, I must admit I listen to it the least, almost never. As I recall, "Little Green" is a good song. The one you think is so hot isn't even memorable. You are starting to remind me of the sort of people who didn't even listen to Joni until Court and Spark, the album of hers that I most disliked. It really is something for a jerk like you to have the balls to be reviewing Joni Mitchell. I mean, what the fuck do you know about it? Nothing, that's what. You sickening Gen X remarks about the "older generation" shine through in almost every line of your silly patter. You've obviously got the usual Gen X problem set -- your pissed off that your sell-out parents didn't love you enough, left you at the Day Care center, etc. And like most of your empty, directionless, self-mutilating, money-grubbing generation, you make lots of hay about how much you know at an incredibly young and inexperienced age.

Add your thoughts?


For The Roses - Asylum 1972
Rating = 6

This album features six acoustic guitar pieces, six piano pieces, and JONI MITCHELL'S ASS!!!!

A few of the songs feature Sting-esque woodwinds, and the overriding mood is very melancholy and not at all the relaxed limpness of its predecessor. The entire release has a very mopey, rainy day feel, with Joni thankfully back to singing instead of trying to be Ms. Kool. Also, when you open the gatefold cover, there's a naked picture of JONI MITCHELL'S ASS!!!!

The record starts off with three incredibly strong, confusing, unorthodox and creative pieces of music featuring a bajillion different parts and moods. Unfortunately, it then peters out into simpler, less interesting folk-pop bleah and sad, resigned piano songs that all sound exactly the same. Regardless, she's worked in a variety of off-kilter and extremely tight backup vocal harmonies, and there's a really weird indentation on the left cheek of JONI MITCHELL'S ASS!!!!

Each one of the piano songs, taken as an individual track free of surrounding content, is a perfectly fine somber little creation. But in this context - as a full half of a single LP - their sameness can really start to drag your soul down to despair. I mean, it would be fine if it were The Ramones doing it with really loud guitars because then it would kick ass, but on a dejected little old reverbed piano, it's all like, "Dude, stop playing that same exact major-to-minor chord change in every fucking song. Also, JONI MITCHELL'S ASS!!!!"

Having complained thus, I still think it's a slight improvement over Blew (HEEEE!) and Ladies Of The Canyon, in that (a) the first three songs are super-impressively idiosyncratic and bizarre, and (b) it only has a couple of truly shitty, offensive pieces of absolute garbage. Hilariously, one of these unlistenable piles of ear dung was her BIGGEST HIT YET! "You Turn Me On I'm A Radio" is a horrible, horrible, horrible song - a cutesy, self-smugisfied attempt to beat Carly Simon at her own 'terrible hit'-making game. So thank you 1970's America, for having the cocaine-retarded taste to turn this song into a Top 20 smash! The album sold a lot of copies too, so everyone could cut their lines on JONI MITCHELL'S ASS!!!!

On the lyrical bean, the first three songs tend to the downtrodden (those with shit lives, a heroin addict, and the 'wise' working class salt of the earth) before Joni turns her long-term attentions to the "Rock"-y world of relationships - particularly the difficult, noncommital and infantile nature of the Rock And Roll Loverman. As Lou Barlow so eloquently put it in his cover of "Blonde In The Bleachers" by Joni Mitchell:

"She tapes her regrets to the microphone stand
She says 'You can't hold the hand of a Rock'n'Roll man
Or count on your plans with a Rock'n'Roll man
Compete with the fans for your Rock'n'Roll man
The girls and the bands and the Rock'n'Roll man'"

Indeed, Lou Barlow. Indeed.

So if you're "all about" moping around your dimly-lit apartment in a robe and tube socks as a rainstorm thunders miserably away outside, give For The Roses a shot in the arm, and before long you too will be shoving that arm up JONI MITCHELL'S ASS!!!!

But you know why it rains?
FOR THE ROSES!

By the way, if I were a stand-up comedian, I would totally use this joke: "You know what I like? I like words where, if you replace just one letter, the entire meaning of the word is shifted 360 degrees. For example, take the word 'polite' - a very nice word - and replace the 't' with a 'c'.... See what I mean? The exact opposite!" I'd then follow it up with a hilarious "Am I right or am I right?" face.

Then I'd unzip my pants and piss all over the front row. Yes, life is always a gas when you're "Extreme Gallagher"!

Reader Comments

S Fall
Is it true that Joni's bottom has been removed from the CD version of this album? I only have For The Roses on vinyl.

tbecker@citlink.net
Easily one of Joni Mitchell's best works, which went way over your head, buddy, but that obviously isn't saying much at all. As per usual, Joni's so-called "hits" are her least important offerings. You got that part right when you took a shit on "radio." But you completely missed the excellent offerings on this album, which include "Lesson in Survival," "Let the Wind Carry Me," "Electricity,""Woman of Heart and Mind," and "Judgement of the Moon and Stars." Only a real dickhead like you could listen to such a beautiful album and come away completely unaffected. Once again, I must ask, who the fuck do you think you are daring to present yourself as some sort of judge of what is good or bad in her music? You are completely clueless and I don't think you even listened to the albums at all. In fact, I wonder where you got ahold of some of these since they aren't that easily available and you would actually have to pay for them. Maybe you don't, which might have something to do with your pathetically jaded attitude at your incredibly young and naive age. Of course, not all young people are as stupid and shallow as you are. An example was the young Joni Mitchell, who reached heights she has never equaled since. I'll give you one positive. You correctly assessed James Taylor's lack of talent. I call him "old fart voice." When I heard that even that ridiculous little turd had bedded Joni, I was out and out disgusted. It's one of life's little ironies. Someone who understands love as much as she does (or doesn't), gets all her lovin' from the most ridiculous men of her generation. She keeps looking for it in all the wrong places, to quote somebody else on the matter. Of course, with thousands of men now proclaiming how much they worship her (most of whom didn't even know she was alive until recent years) no doubt she finds that whole lot of simpering fools to be more than a tad ridiculous, possibly even dangerous, so she contents herself with the likes of David Crosby, Graham Nash, that Klein asshole, that Mitchell asshole, and an assortment of total phonies and morons that she picked up at bars. I guess she got so tired of being all alone out on the prairie when she was a little girl that she began falling for these pathetic jerks one after another. It's too bad. No wonder she smokes so much. Hey, perhaps I should be reviewing her albums and you should shut the fuck up. Ya think?

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Court And Spark - Asylum 1974
Rating = 6

The rusted chains of prison moons
Are shattered by the sun.
Joni's got a full band;
A new era's just begun
The blonde guitarist plays her tune,
for web reviewer Mark
Strange pop-jazz full-band AOR
on the Court And the crimson Spark

Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

The keeper of the music keys
Keeps changing them, it seems
With dozens of sophisticated
jazzy chordal schemes
The blonde queen sings of people
using those who've made their mark
with money, fame or sex appeal
on the Court And the crimson Spark

Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

The gardener plays the pedal steel
as woodwinds bring art power
I break some wind as corny strings
make sweet parts turn so sour
Robbie Robertson lends his hand
to the worst song for a lark
And the jazz cover makes me grind my teeth
at the Court And the crimson Spark

Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

On soft gray morning, Prindle cries
"Best since debut - no joke!"
With six creative, innovative
songs for gal and bloke.
"Help Me" was deservedly
her biggest hit to chart
But four songs suck the puppet's root
On the Court And the crimson Spark

Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

Hey everybody! I'm the Fire Witch and I've returned! Anyone for some fire?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhh.

Hey look at me! I'm a puppet all dancing around and shit! (*tappity tappity tappity*)

Heh heh, good old King Crimson humor. Yes, nobody can make you belly laugh like Robert "Carrot Top" Fripp.

'Cuz he's a 21st Century Schizoid Man!
He don't know how to read, but he's got a lotta Ban! (roll-on)
His daddy's a lazy middle-class funeral pyre
And his Mommy's on vali- ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh fluppity dorp

Reader Comments

tomplotkin@sbcglobal.net
Best review [except maybe The Rising] I've read yet by you...Now when are you planning on turning your attention to Judas Priest?

danielrosenbe@gmail.com
The first side, plus the first song on side two (Car on the Hill) make this album a definite 8, even if you skip most of the regrettable stuff on the second side (Raised on Robbery is sometimes OK, though - depends on my mood). The sweet piano melody of the title song leading into the laid-back California rock of Help Me leading into the melodic and enchanting Free Man in Paris get this one off to a fine start, and the last two songs on side one, Other Peoples' Parties and Same Situation - two of Joni's prettiest ballads ever - make this a memorable album indeed. After all the acoustic and folky stuff on Blue and For the Roses, it's fun to hear Joni jazz it up a bit with some electric guitars and drums. Her harmonizing with herself has never been better, and each of the first six songs grows on you. Definitely the most accessible Joni Mitchell album, and highly recommended despite Mark's review.

tbecker@citlink.net
Joni Mitchell's sellout album. She completely forsook her early fans and went mainstream with this pile of shit. I, for one, felt completely betrayed. But I suppose, as an artist, she has the right to sell out and say to hell with it. Did you say you didn't like it? Sorry, I don't have the time or interest to read between the lines of your stupid review. If you did, then you were right because it sucked. Lemme see, were you born yet? Oh, yeah, I think you just might have been. So while you were shitting in your diapers, Joni came out with her worst album to date. It was shit, just like the shit under your ass. You were crying for someone to change you but they left you lying in your shit for far too long, which might have something to do with why you and your entire pathetic generation have turned into such utter shit. You are the revenge upon us by our own parents. We thought they tended to be a little shallow and materialistic but they went through the Great Depression and World War II. I mean, they had a reason to be that way. You guys, on the other hand, haven't been through anything, unless you count the year or two that your yuppie parents weren't in the money. From that point on, for you guys it was all "gimme, gimme, gimme." There's another term for it but I think that might appear in a book I wrote so I won't share it with you here. Why don't we just call you "the gimme generation?" It about sums you all up. As my expertise regarding Mitchell's later (lesser) work isn't what it ought to be were I to offer my opinions about its relative value, I'll stop badgering you now. I'll bet you'll keep on, however, since you don't mind not knowing what the fuck you're talking about. Hey, did you ever think of getting a job in talk radio? That's what most of those people have in common -- they don't know what the fuck they're talking about but it doesn't keep them from yammering on.

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The Hissing Of Summer Lawns - Asylum 1975
Rating = 4

If you're looking for an album that will literally take a frozen bean burrito out of your freezer, stick it in the microwave, pull it out when heated, chew it up, mix it with a liter of saliva, swallow it, swirl it together with digestive juices, break it apart through a process of heuristic churning, mix it with hydrochloric acid, secrete intrinsic factor to absorb its vitamin B-12, activate additional enzymes to split apart the molecular structure of its various nutrients so they may pass through the membrane of the stomach directly into the blood stream, combine its chyme with a mixture of bile, pancreatic juice and intestinal enyzmes, reabsorb its water, separate out the parts of it that cannot be absorbed, and store them in the rectum until they are expelled through the anus, look no further than You're Pissing On My Summer Lawn.

Just like her also-formerly-acoustic colleague Paul "Carly" Simon, Joni Mitchell in the mid-70's fell madly in love with the gross sound of smooth jazz-pop. Out came the disgusting electric piano and sleazy chest hair, in came the "Sophisticated" chord changes and sunglass-wearing cocaine, and away ran the innocence and non-cynical optimism of a bygone era. You keep expecting Joni to get up and run away from all the corny lounge chords and keyboard 'licks' coming right at her, but she never does! In fact, it's almost as if she LIKES it! This is how hot tubs get sold.

A couple of songs twist from the tend - "The Jungle Line" is a too-long moog/tribal rhythm exploration of world musics in moog form, and "Shadows And Light" is a mostly acapella white gospel call-and-response - but the majority just Steely Dan along with their boring, positive jazzy grooves. Not that I'm knocking Steely Dan. Those guys sound so sleazy, it's hilarious. But when anybody else tries this type of music, they just sound like vomit leaving a mouth and hitting a carpet. I swear to Gop! What gets people INTO smooth jazz-pop in the first place? Is this Sade's fault? Also, why isn't her name pronounced like "Marquis de Sade"? That's so fucked up, it's pregnant.

I do really love two of the songs on here though: "Edith And The Kingpin" actually adds some dark drama to the lackluster lazybird chord changes, and "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" is chock-filled with unexpected chord changes and interesting instrumental tones (dobro, conga, acoustic guitar) wavering in and out of the mix. But two great tracks hardly make up for letting James Taylor and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter guest star in the same song. If you need even MORE reasons to skip "In France They Kiss On Main Street," how about the fact that it's supposedly based on a conversation with David Geffen? Here's my impression of that Supergroup getting together for a Jamfest:

Joni Mitchell: "My face looks like a skull."
James Taylor: "Peace, my brother. Mellow out, with a flower."
Jeff "Skunk" Baxter: "Hey, look at this atom bomb I have on sale."
David Geffen: "That atom bomb 'smells like teen spirit'!"

FUCK YOU, THIS ALBUM! Thank Gop Joni learned her lesson and never recorded another smooth jazz-pop album. I keep falling asleep while writing this. Here's a joke about dogs:

How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?

German ShepFOURd!

That was awesome. I should totally get a job with a Popsicle Stick company.

Reader Comments

S Fall
Try listening to The Jungle Line from The Hissing Of Summer Lawns followed by Dr. Buck's Letter from The Fall's The Unutterable? An influence? I think so...

browningub40@peoplepc.com
I think the music on this one is great. I'm not sure what the meaning of any of the songs is, but who cares with music that is this good.

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Hejira - Asylum 1976
Rating = 7

Hi, I'm Jon I. Mitchell. You know, it's no "Walk In The Park"(TM) growing up with a name so similar to that of America's finest songseamstress, but I did it. I did it for love. For the love of puppies.

Full of innocence and wonder, puppies are a joy to hold. Puppies are wonderful friends that lift our spirits daily. All they ask in return is some affection, some guidance, and of course some quality play-time, which considering how sweet and adorable they are, you are more than willing to give. The precious Puppies in the "For The Love Of Puppies" charming deluxe edition wall calendar will give you lots of reasons to smile.

Plus it smells like urine so it's totally like having a puppy around, pissing everywhere like an incontinent old whore.

On a related note, WHERE THE HADES DID THIS LADY'S GREATIES COME FROM ALL OF A SUDDEN IN 1976?!? This was no time for Joni Mitchell to suddenly be releasing her second best album of all time! Especially with that haughty album cover with the beret and the cigarette. But indeed, she has awoken from her smooth-jazz nap to create a beautiful world of gentle, pastoral and relaxed electric guitar music. Hejira features no acoustic guitar, no piano, no electric piano, and only one instance each of vibes, clarinet, horns and harmonica. Every other sound on the record is created by electric guitars, fretless bass and percussion. HAIL SATAN!

Perhaps even more wonderfully, this is NOT jazz music -- it's just pretty guitar music, like a slower, more understated Television or something. Aside from a single torch jazz ballad bore (the useless "Blue Motel Room"), Hejira's songs are repetitive intriguing chord sequences performed with a soft and lovely guitar tone, topped with extremely skilled lead guitar and bass (Jaco Pastorius!), and backed by very light drumming. The songs are longer than usual, probably because it takes that long for the hooks to finally reveal themselves as hooks! Seriously, a song will go for about a minute and you'll be all like, "Is there a melody here?" but then each part begins showing up again and again until all of a sudden you're like, "Oh wow! This is really catchy!" and you look forward to hearing each part come around again! Good old Joni Mitchell, and her brain.

Actually, let me correct two statements I made in that last paragraph, as they're bothering me even now, just moments after I typed them:

(1) This album doesn't sound like Television. I'm just for some reason blanking on what other bands play that type of pretty, clean guitar music. Maybe newer Sonic Youth? Or that newest David Gilmour CD? Or Television with less emphasis on guitar interplay? I don't know. This is why they don't pay me the big bucks, or in fact any bucks at all. :7(

(2) Although this is not jazz music, she does throw in a jazz chord here or there. So don't be all like, "HEY! THAT WAS A JAZZ CHORD! WTF IS PRINDLE DOING, SHOVING COCKS IN HIS EAR??" Because I am, but that still leaves one ear.

At times Joni's voice is mixed a bit too loudly for the gentle music to compete, but it never becomes a problem of Clouds-like proportions. Lyrically, she rambles about touring the road, falling in love with one guy after another, but being afraid to settle down. Metaphors and similes include Amelia Earhart, a crow and a hitch-hiker.

A few other quick observations:

- The main chord change in "Coyote" is so similar to The Rolling Stones' later "Waiting On A Friend" that you almost want to sue them yourselves.

- Neil Young plays harmonica on "Furry Sings The Blues." I have to assume he sounds that incompetent and off-key on purpose.

- One of the chord sequences in "A Strange Boy" could be from an AC/DC song!!! But quieter, and without the dick jokes.

- In "Refuge of the Roads," Joni sings the same soaring vocal melody over two different guitar lines - one questioning, one resolved. It's awesome! (Dude!)

Not every song is the bee's knees - though neither are as awful as "Blue Motel Room," "Black Crow" is purposely ugly and dissonant, and the title track (though pretty) is awfully standard in comparison to the others. But I'm very pleased to find that Joni Mitchell's taste in music didn't make a complete break from my own immediately after her first album. I honestly like this! This is GOOD MUSIC! No singer-songwriter ego, no James Taylor, no sissy hippy-folk, no smooth jazz -- and Electric Guitars out JONI MITCHELL'S ASS!!!!

No hang on, that's her face.

(That was classy)

Reader Comments

tbecker@citlink.net
If you liked it, something must be wrong with it. Your full of shit, but what else is new.

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Don Juan's Reckless Daughter - Asylum 1977
Rating = 4

More like "JONI MITCHELL'S FECKLESS DODDER" if... and so forth.

An hour-long double-LP, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter does indeed "progress in a feeble, unsteady manner," which is the definition of dodder that I meant. I realize it's a verb but the noun version means "a leafless parasitic plant," which I'm sure I could make an argument for but I'm already up to my tits in libel lawsuits so let's stick with the verb.

Side one begins with three minutes of randomness, but eventually settles into a nice acoustic strum/fretless bass pop mode that comforts the listener into looking forward to another strong Hejira-style set of tunes. THIS DOES NOT OCCUR. After track three, all improvisational hell breaks loose and the whole endeavor turns into Joni Mitchell's Self-Portrait -- not in the 'cover tunes' sense, but in the 'just fucking around and not putting forth even an ounce of effort' sense.

This self-defeating morass of pretention comprises:

- The slow meandering piano exploration "Paprika Plains," which was clearly made up on the spot yet sticks around for SIXTEEN INSUFFERABLE MINUTES!!!

- The three-chord "Otis And Marlena," which appears to have neither a set tempo nor a pre-written vocal melody

- The polyrhythmic Spanish chant "The Tenth World," which takes up nearly seven minutes of space, YET DOESN'T HAVE JONI MITCHELL ON IT!!!

- The African percussion piece "Dreamland," which finds Joni singing to no music at all FOR FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES!!!

Finally side four rolls around and returns us to the strummy acoustic/fretless bass pop with which we began.

FOR TWO SONGS!!! THEN IT GETS BACK TO FUCKING US UP THE ASS WITH THE OBVIOUSLY MADE-UP-ON-THE-SPOT ACOUSTIC DRAGGED OUT SHITTY JAZZ VOCAL PIECE OF SHIT ASSHOLE "THE SILKY VEILS OF ARDOR"!!!!

So basically, Joni wanted more freedom in her art. Unfortunately, free of the constraints of pop music construction, she just disappears up her own ass and creates unlistenably boring "ego music," if I may quote the great multi-talented Mike Love for a moment. To continue quoting astral genius Mike Love, this is basically Joni "rocking the man in the boat" for 60 dreadful minutes. Perhaps she should have taken a vacation in "Kokomo" because "santa's goin' to Kokomo," and "you're a woman? okay, I'm going to beat you up."

'Tis pity she's a whore because the first two songs and last two before "Silky Veils" are really F-oldin' good, and mark an excellent, acoustic-based progression from Hejira. The rest though? Yich! If I wanted to hear Joni Mitchell jerk off, I'd mail her some Holocaust footage. No thanks!

BTW, I love using "F-oldin'" as a euphemism. Thank you, Mark E. Smith, for adding that word to my vocabulary with your hot dance single "F-oldin' Money" from like ten years ago.

Dude! "Erection" just sent me an email about High Quality Soft Cialis! Oh sure, I get my fair share of Spam like we all do, but I know a legitimate email when I see one, and "Erection" is going in my Outlook Address Book post-haste! Just think of all the adventures we'll share, me and Erection. "Hey Erection!" I'll write to my new friend Erection. "How's it hanging in Erection-ville?" And he'll chuckle knowingly and reply, "Always be ready! If you have a problem getting or keeping an erection, you are not alone." And I'll in turn laugh at his self-referential wit and respond, "I have no problem keeping you, my wonderful friend Erection!" And he'll slap me a cyberspace high-five with "When the time is right, you'll always be ready. Get Viagra Online!" because he's always trying to help me out here and there, just offering friendly advice. God, I love Erection. YOU HEAR THAT? I LOVE YOU ERECTION, AND I'M NOT JUST JERKIN' YOU AROUND! I've been sitting here at work shouting that over and over again for the last twenty minutes, because Erection is such a great pal.

Oh no - something just occurred to me. My co-workers don't know that I have a FRIEND named "Erection." They're going to think that, by "Erection," I mean the BUILDING across the way! Oh god! Now I look like a FOOL! (*blushes until cheeks explode and teeth go flying everywhere*)

Post-Script: I have no evidence that Joni Mitchell is sexually aroused by Holocaust footage. I apologize for making a statement that could be construed as libelous by "lawyers" and "other assholes."

Add your thoughts?


Mingus - Asylum 1979
Rating = 1

Okay, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter may have been a bit alienating, but Mingus is quite literally one of the worst albums I will ever hear in my life. Pool It! is Zen Arcade by comparison. Metal Machine Music is Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables. I'm Breathless is Damaged. Y Kant Tori Read is The Self-Titled Debut Album By The Ramones. Yes, it's amazing how many pairs of universally loved and loathed records are actually the same album with two different titles. But such is the nature of quantum mechanics and its clumsy little friend, black holes.

The concept behind this terrible album (which Joni is at least conscientious enough to term "experimental" in her liner notes) was that terminally ill jazz bassist Charles Mingus would write some music specifically for Joni, and she would add lyrics and band arrangement for a resulting LP collaboration built in Musical Heaven. Unfortunately, the combination of Mingus' free jazz meanderings and Mitchell's smooth jazz leanings results in a slick yet tuneless product that one might metaphorically describe as "a ward of mental patients attending an L.A. cocaine hot tub party." And certainly you'd give that scenario a 1, so why not this album?

Popular jazz musicians collaborating with Joni on this train wreck with a helicopter flying too low and decapitating all the survivors include: bassist Jaco(ff) Pastorius; electric pianist Herbie Han(donhis)cock; saxist Wayne Short(peck)er; drummer Erskin(ny)e, Peter; conga player Don(g) Alias; and percussionist Emil Richards ("Dicks" for short). I'm a 34-year-old man.

I'll admit here, for the first time ever in history, that Jazz isn't exactly my type of music. I don't know enough about the technical side of it to appreciate the mechanics, I don't like the sounds of the instruments enough to enjoy the interplay, and I've always preferred structure and repetition to improvisation. But my hatred for this album goes beyond mere lack of genre appreciation. It seriously just sounds like a smooth jazz Kenny G.-style band trying to sound WiLd and ImPrOvIsAtIoNaL! Or in other words, like a slick adult contemporary studio group being told, "Okay, don't stick to a steady rhythm, play a bunch of atonal shit, and sing pretentiously over it."

And oh yes, the pretentious vocals. Joni hits a career low here, performing every lyric in the exact same wandering, overloud delivery that Frank Zappa so often used to make fun of lounge jazz singers. She tries so desperately to be a Billie Holiday for the '70s, but she's completely tuneless! And what do you expect? These SONGS are tuneless!

But hey, if you don't "dig" the six tuneless tunes, you'll super-love the five featured 'raps,' or 'little snippets of uninteresting dialogue featuring Charles Mingus.' I'm all for people and whatnot, but I don't know.

It's time for me to go home and watch the 1982 slasher Funeral Home, so I'll close with a few notes I took while 'in the zone' of this timeless LP:

- "Just smacking guitar, pretentious pseudo-jazz CRAP!"

- "Lame voices echo her shitty chorus"

- "Tooty music behind chit-chat. BORING."

- "Joni slapping at a single open string like a retard. WOW! JAZZY!"

- "The howling wolves sound neat, but the song is just AWFUL!"

- "8 minutes of NOTHING! Just easy listening shit noise!"

- "Mingus not saying much of anything."

- "A dull, lame attempt to do some HOT FIERY JAZZ with limp-noodle drums."

- "Mingus says like one sentence."

- "Trumpet, Joni, electric piano. Slow, moody. Boring. Shitty vocals."

Indeed, it's no wonder that when you mix up the letters in Mingus, and then mix them back, you get Mingus.

.

.

.

Look, anagrams are hard and I got shit to do.

Reader Comments

pozwr@webtv.net
I never heard this album, but the people playing the music are pretty much Weather Report without Joe Zawinul.

I know Weather Report kicks ass, so I hope it's just Joni that sucks.

God Bless Kate Bush and Diamanda Galas and Siouxsie.

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Wild Things Run Fast - Geffen 1982
Rating = 2

This is where Joni Mitchell became an adult contemporary smooth jazz-pop bad 80s pop-rock garbage can. The pop/rock ones are very musically predictable and the jazz-pop ones are just gross. Bad synths, bad songs, very 80s-sounding synth and guitar tones. Enough with the fucking bass harmonics! Los of synth and sax, full band chorus, adult contemporary jazz-pop. Remember the James Taylor album? This is the Lionel Richie album. METAL GUITAR TONES!??!!? Corny!

However, the eighth song has a killer bass line. It's AWESOME! Weird bass chords, fast, really AWESOME!! Just a GREAT smart bass line!! Evey other song can suck a duck though. Adult contemporary ballads of boredom. BOREDOM. Jazzy nighttime shit music for assholes.

Also, it's sad how people and sweet animals pass away. Somebody should make nice people live forever and assholes never be born. Hitler, for example. Here's my Hitler impression: "Doy, I'm an asshole! Doy!" I'm sad that certain people are so mean. Why? Is it parenting? DNA? Be nice. Don't be mean, after all we've been through with high prices and the Beatles breaking up.

I've always called my favorite bands The Ramones, The Fall and The Cows, but let's be honest -- YES is one of my all-time favorite bands. I love YES so much. Why don't they hang out with me? What is making them so mean and standoffish? I've interviewed like 1 billion members of Black Flag, but not a single Yesser. NOT EVEN GEOFF WHATSISNAME FROM DRAMA! Somebody love YES and make them all interview me.

YES: "How's about a stinky?"

Me: "That's immature. I expected more from you, after hearing 'Don't Kill The Whale,' the worst song ever written."

Yes: "Hey asshole - you're first, I'm last, your thirst I'm asked to justify"

Me: "That rhyme sucks a pud."

Yes: "I eat at Chez Nous."

Me: (*flips an adorable bird, with wings and a tattoo*)

Yes: "Crayola."

Me: "I love everybody, especially fags."

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Dog Eat Dog - Geffen 1985
Rating = 1

The last thing anyone expected from Joni Mitchell in 1985 was an album of Ted Nugent covers, but once again s

The last thing anyone expected from Joni Mitchell in 1985 was an album with even a single good song on it, and once again she met our expectations head on. It's incredible how just a few years away from 'normal songwriting' (Mingus and successive three-year break) resulted in Joni completely losing all of her natural gifts for the art. And it wasn't just a temporary slump -- as of mid-2007, she hasn't released a single listenable album since! Perhaps her luck is about to change though, now that she's signed to a coffee company.

Dog Eat Dog is a blocky, artificial '80s synth-pop/adult contemporary record, filled with dated keyboard noises, sampled rhythmic accents and ridiculously loud '80s drumbeats. The melodies are obvious and sacchariney, the ballads are slow and numbing, and special guests include Michael "Shine Sweet Freedom" McDonald, Don "The Boys Of Summer" Henley, James "Fire And Rain" Taylor, Thomas "She Blinded Me With Science" Dolby and Rod "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? I Hope So Because I'm Noted Actor Rod Steiger" Steiger.

Make no mistake - I love dogs. I'm not all that fond of watching dogs eat other dogs, but I think Joni intended the title as a metaphor. But my point is that an album with the word 'dog' in the title and a painting of doggies on the cover has a certain reputation to live up to, and this entry fails completely and unapologetically. Jesus! "Unapologetically" has EIGHT syllables! Take THAT, people with big vocabularies!

There is a guitar presence on the album, but it's very clean, quite minimal, and nearly buried underneath the synth brapps and choppy super-loud eighties-beats. Light keyboard work also lies abreast the rhythmic backbone, with the occasional piano, synth horn, saxophone, fake handclap, funk-toned guitar pluck, or shakuhachi (BAMBOO FLUTE) lying atwat the percussive spinal column. And the lyrics address such mid-80s limousine liberal concerns as materialism, capitalism, televangelism and Ethiopiaism.

In conclusion, if you think that a record can't possibly live up to an album cover as bad as this one...

...then, as The Yardbirds once sang, "Mister you're a better man than I." However, in the words of Judas Priest, "You've got another thing coming."

Also, "Suck my ass it smells," according to GG Allin.

According to Wikipedia, Joni Mitchell was quoted in the early '00s (during her brief 'retirement') saying something like "I hate music; I'd like to remember what I ever liked about it."

Here's a hint, Joni: IT DIDN'T SOUND LIKE THIS.

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Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm - Geffen 1988
Rating = 1

Okay, here's a great game we're going to play together. Now then - which of these song lyrics were written by 44-year-old Joni Mitchell for her 13th studio LP, and which were written by my friend Christian Smith when he was in the 12th grade?

1. "Daycare, pre-school, kindergarten; play games and learn to win/Make the grade so you'll look good and get an academic pin"

2. "When your working day is done/Were you reaching for the high rung/Reaching out to be number one?"

3. "Don't you hear the shrieking in the trees?/Everywhere you touch the earth - she's sore."

4. "Anchored with hooks into the Earth's flesh, an expression of beauty/Transit for the working class, we've built another overpass."

5. "Some devils had a plan/Buried poison in the sand/Don't drink it, man!"

6. "You can't see the forest for the trees/You can't see the forest, for the trees are gone"

7. "They gave me a gun, they gave me a mission/For the power and the glory/Propaganda - piss on 'em!"

8. "Politics suck, no way to win/Candidates don't know shit about anything!"

9. "The doorway bleeds light into my room that I don't want to think about/Evidence of some larger world so I look my door and don't go out"

10. "I'm going to take you to my special place/It's a place no amount of hurt and anger can deface"

11. "Buy the carphone/Call the broker/Get to the bottom, climb back up"

12. "Forms forms, we're burying ourselves in forms/Forms forms, we're killing ourselves in triplicate"

13. "Bear the anger, bear the cross/Bear the sameness, bear the cross of life"

14. "She plants her garden in the spring/They do the winter shovelling/They sit up late and watch the Johnny Carson show/She says 'I'm leaving here' but she don't go"

15. "We can solve everything in science, naturally/Science - it's a picture of how to get what you want out of life"

16. "The experiment went without a hitch/Ain't free thought a royal bitch?/Who says you won't be next?"

17. "Pretty house by the water/Lovely lover by the waterside/Last time I saw that man/He hung down his head and cried"

18. "It's three different colors/Rubbery and soft/Feels tingly when I touch it/Maybe I'll ram it up my butt!"

Okay, that last one was sort of a gimme. But go ahead and see how many you can guess, and then check the answers at the bottom of this review.

As for the music, Thus Completeth Joni Mitchell'th 'Adult Contemporary' Trilogy. The synth and drum tones are much less '80s-stunted this time, but the songs remain squarely in the genre of Orthodontist's Office music, alongside the latest releases by Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Mike & The Mechanics, and that guy who sang on Calling All Stations. Guest stars this time include aforementioned Peter Gabriel, The Cars' Benjamin Orr, The Eagles' Don Henley, Prince's Wendy & Lisa, Generation X's Billy Idol, Billy Idol's Steve Stevenson, The Heartbreakers' Tom Petty, "She Blinded Me With Science"'s Thomas Dolby, and debtor prison's Willie Nelson. Don't get too excited though, because nothing on here sounds even a tiny bit like Tom Petty, Billy Idol or The Cars. WTF was Ben Orr doing on here anyway? Didn't he realize that Joni Mitchell would be radiating her powerful anti-talent all over his pancreas?

Skid Mark In A Training Bra is a slick boring album by a slick boring artist, and features not an ounce of energy or interesting melody. Nearly every song includes a few keyboard chords, a couple of quiet electric guitar strums, loud slow drums, and vocals -- and THAT'S IT! The first few songs are at least novel in their dark and emotionally detached nighttime ambiance, but soon enough it gives way to straight-up boredom. Christ! How do you duet with Willie Nelson on a song written in 1936 -- and STILL wind up with an adult contemporary ballad?!? Surely they give out some kind of "You Suck" award for that.

I guess it's no wonder that when you mix up the letters in 'Joni Mitchell,' you get 'Cell Jit On Him' -- the exact cause of Ben Orr's death, according to the coroner.

ANSWER TO THE LYRIC QUIZ - Joni Mitchell, age 44, wrote numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 17. The others were written by a friend of mine when he was a little boy. How many did you guess correctly?

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Night Ride Home - Geffen 1991
Rating = 3

Hey look! A bucket of shit just walked through the door!

My bad, it's a Joni Mitchell album. I'll give her credit; she's at least left adult contemporary behind for a return to her "actual music" roots. Unfortunately, a middle-aged Joni Mitchell is not the same creature as a young Joni Mitchell. This Older Budweiser version strums her acoustic guitar lazily, hits her high notes only with gravelly difficulty, and writes depressingly simple and predictable adult folksy-pop. Some of her guitar picking is very pretty - "Passion Play" is reminiscent of a better band's "A Pillow Of Winds," and "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" is so lovely you almost don't even notice there's nothing going on - but most of the melodies range from standard to non-existent.

I'll say this though -- unlike the three previous records, I can actually imagine this one being enjoyed by a certain demographic. There is nothing dated or synthetic about this music; it just doesn't fit into the parameters of my musical tastes. My brain is most attracted to music that encompasses more than one of the following attributes: (a) aggression/speed; (b) creativity; (c) hookiness. Night Ride Home has one song ("The Windfall") that I find creative, and one song ("Two Grey Rooms") that I find both creative and hooky. But nothing else on here does what I need music to do in order to hold my interest.

Okay, there's the cover of Napalm Death's entire Scum LP hidden in the run-out groove, but that's a bonus track.

HOWEVER, there are plenty of people who cherish different attributes in music -- comfort, gentleness, authenticity, femininity -- plus, some people (middle-aged women) might even find this stuff catchy. Heck, people love show tunes - why wouldn't they enjoy the annoying Indigo-Girls-In-The-'50s feelgood irritation "Ray's Dad's Cadillac"? Or the three satisfied laidback chords of dung that make up "The Only Joy In Town"? Or the one about the little girl whose stepfather made her give him a blowy?

Yes, Janis Joplin certainly is a talented old bitch, but th

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Turbulent Indigo - Reprise 1994
Rating = 2

Here are some TV pilots I just made up. Steal one and I'll be up your ass faster than a protractor at an all-gay PTA meeting.

JONI LOVES CHACHI starring Scott Baio and Joni Mitchell
Scott Baio: "Apparently I cum really fast; it's all over the news."
Joni Mitchell: "That's too bad. Would you like a copy of my shitty new album?"
Scott Baio: (*ejaculates*) "No."

HARDBACKLE & MCCRIMMICK starring Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh-Kelly and Joni Mitchell
McCrimmick: "Hardbackle!"
Hardbackle: "McCrimmick!"
McCrimmick: "I know he's here! I can almost see him!"
Hardbackle: "The Drug Lord of San Drapina!
McCrimmick: (*points at figure in glass building*) "There he is!"
(*Hardbackle & McCrimmick race into building, chase the Drug Lord of San Drapina up five flights of stairs, then back down five flights of stairs and out of the building*)
The Drug Lord Of San Drapina: "Goddamn pigs!"
McCrimmick: (completely out of breath) "He...." (*gasps for breath, doubles over*)
Hardbackle: (fresh as a daisy) "He got away!"
Mccrimmick: (*falls onto ground, clutching heart*)
Hardbackle: (ready for another round of basketball) "Damn!"
Joni Mitchell: "Hay, here's some strummy laidback boredom music for female vegetarian college students who smoke clove cigarettes, don't shave their legs, and buy clothes at thrift stores."

THE JEFFERSB starring Sherman Hemsley and Joni Mitchell
George Jeffersb: "You're a zebra!"
(*crowd laughs uproariously*)
Joni Mitchell: "No I'm not. Both my parents are white."
George Jeffersb: "Then you're a WHITE zebra!"
(*crowd laughs uproariously*)
Joni Mitchell: "Can a zebra play low-key plucky/strummy acoustic music with no hooks, add in keyboard washes, Sting-esque saxophone and interchangeable pedal steel drones, and sing in a low, unattractive voice similar to that of present-day Ronnie Spector?"
George Jeffersb: "WEEZIE!"
(*crowd laughs uproariously*)
Joni Mitchell: "In all honesty, is there a single artist or group that's even more boring than I am at this point?
George Jeffersb: "WEEZER!"
(*crowd weeps for the tender soul of Rivers Cuomo*)

LAW AND ORDER: GONORRHEA UNIT starring Richard Belzer, Ice-T and Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell: "I have gonorrhea of the funny bone."
Richard Belzer: "The only time you have a funny bone in your body is when I fuck you in the ass."
Joni Mitchell: "Also, my new album only has one good song on it."
Richard Belzer: "The only time you have a good song on your album is when I fuck you in the ass."
Ice-T: "My wife is literally made out of plastic."
Richard Belzer: "The only time you have a wife made out of plastic is when I fuck her in the ass. You see, my sperm is 85% polyeurothane."
Ice-T: "HOW CAN THAT BE!?!"
Joni Mitchell: "Look, here's a song with Seal on back-up vocals. It's terrible."

FAMILY FREUD starring Richard Dawson and Joni Mitchell
Richard Dawson: "We asked 100 people the following question: How was your relationship with your mother?"
Joni Mitchell: (*rings in first*)
Richard Dawson: "Your answer?"
Joni Mitchell: "One of the songs on my new album features the lyric 'Is Justice "just ice"?'."
Richard Dawson: "Survey says BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS!"
Joni Mitchell: "That's not very nice."
Richard Dawson: "No, it's okay. It's just a reference to 'anal retention,' one of Freud's key theories."
Joni Mitchell: "Oh, okay! In that case, let me play a song based on the Biblical fable of Job that drags on for seven minutes."
Richard Dawson: "GO FUCK YOURSELF!"

THE NEWS starring Walter Cronkite and Joni Mitchell
Walter Cronkite: "Here now the news... A bridge collapsed in Minneapolis yesterday, killing seven people and injuring dozens of others. Here's correspondent Joni Mitchell with more."
Joni Mitchell: "Only four songs on my new album have drums."
Walter Cronkite: "That's okay - only two songs on your new album have hooks. Get off the air, you junkie whore!"
Joni Mitchell: "What? I'm neither a junkie nor a whore!"
Walter Cronkite: "Isn't this The Britney Spears Show? Where am I?"

THE HENRY ROLLINS SHOW starring Glenn Danzig and Joni Mitchell
Jello Biafra: "Hi, I'm Ian McKaye, host of The Henry Rollins Show. And tonight my guest is legendary hardcore pioneer Joni Mitchell. How are you doing, Joni?"
Joni Mitchell: "One of my new songs has a guy playing the 'Guitorgan'."
Greg Ginn: "And that's our show for tonight. Once again this is Greg Hetson and you've been watching The Greg Graffin Show starring Greg Norton here on PBS. And this is Greg Sage saying, "Keep on Moshin'!"

There, that's all the ideas I have.

About anything.

Reader Comments

murraydogs2@bellsouth.net (Matt Murray)
Well, I've never listened to a Joni Mitchell album in my life and I never intend to be put in such a position, unless I get sent to Gitmo and they've moved on to more ruthless forms of torture, but reading about "The Henry Rollins Show" just nearly made me disgorge my colon with laughter. I don't know if it's actually funny or if it's just because it's 3:57 AM, but...yeah. Best part is how Joni Mitchell fans won't know what the fuck the joke even is. I'm not even sure I do.

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Taming The Tiger - Reprise 1998
Rating = 1

I played this album for a focus group and here's how they responded:

Captain O'Hook, Sea Pirate: "Arrrr, I'm a pirate. This album SUCKS!"

Kip Bruce, Hairdresser: "Uncompelling Melodies Ahoy! Actually, I guess the pirate should have said that."

Travis Daniels, Auto Mechanic: "I tell ya what. If I were, say, a 60-year-old lady, I might like this. But me, I'm more into hard rock, like Pantera. You know them? One time I fucked this girl with HUGE tits."

Dr. Walter Bertrand, Podiatrist: "What surprises me is that it's not at all folky or acoustic like her last couple of albums. This one is like a mixture of slow torch jazz and slower adult pop, built around a well-mixed but stultifying combination of clean electric guitars and smooth keyboards. Man, feet stink."

Alexander Matthias, Mathematician: "Of the 11 songs, I notice that 6 have drums, 5 have saxophone, and 1 has a trumpet. The startling thing is that when you add 6, 5 and 1 together, you get 12, not 11! I'm as mystified as you are."

Ashley McCurdy, Kindergarten Teacher: "All the songs are either just simple generic chords or meandering not-quite-melodies. What the fuck? Why? Cunt."

Ernest Tiffman, Counselor for the Deaf: "I can tell just by the vibrations that this thing blows."

Tracii "FuXXXsogood" ErotiXXX, Actress: "Most of it is irredeemably boring and pointless, but I must admit that 'Man From Mars' has a great recurring organ/piano motif. It actually reminds me of one of my films -- have you heard of Last Year At Marienbad? It's like that but with 60 cocks up my ass."

James Chrispell, All-Music Guide: "Taming the Tiger is her most pleasing and consistent disc since the mid-'70s; even after all these years, Joni Mitchell continues to expand her music while keeping her integrity intact. This is definitely one of her best."

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Both Sides Now - Reprise 2000
Rating = 1

I was sending out emails left and right last Friday after watching Boarding School starring Nastassia Kinski when all of a sudden my computer's all like, "Hay fuck you" and it died. So now I'm scratching reviews into my arm with a thumbtack so you'll have something new to read when Hewlett Packard finally cuts the shit and sends us a new hard drive, by which time you'll probably be flying around in a Hover Car and wearing a silver metallic space suit with space aliens.

Way back here in my time period, we listened to music on "compact discs" rather than eating them in tiny pills as you do there on Earth II in outer space, but I think we're all in agreeance that this Joni Mitchell album tastes like fried vomit no matter what form it's in. Her schtick this time - her big gag, big joke - is that she's collaborating with a full orchestra on covers of old pop and jazz standards from Jackie Gleason's day -- songs that my grandparents and your great great great great great great great grandparents might have enjoyed by the likes of Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Glenn Miller, Etta James, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Lou Rawls, Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper, Christina Aguilera, Norah Jones, Celine Dion, Julie London, Frankie Laine, Petula Clark, Bing Crosby, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gene Pitney, Ray Stevens, Jerry Vale, Brian Ferry, Steve Allen, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Gil Evans, The Four Freshmen, Stan Getz, Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee, The Platters, Dinah Shore, Sun Ra, Nancy Wilson, Lester Young, Frank Sinatra, Django Reinhardt and Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra fame. In other words, songs that might have better been left in HELL where they came from.

Her thematic concept was a solid one: using other peoples' songs (and a couple of her own), she would tell the story of a failed love affair in chronological order from beginning to end. Unfortunately, instead of using such appropriate source material as "Too Drunk To Fuck" and "No Fat Beaver," she went with the slowest and least melodic selection of compositions ever compiled. Here, let's take a quick look at my track notes for each song:

1. slow, dull, no melody
2. slow, dull, bass line reminiscent of "Blue Moon"
3. dark doomy intro into dull slow swing jazz
4. slow, dull, no melody
5. slow, dull, sounds like a love song
6. slow, dull. I never liked this song to begin with
7. slow, boring
8. Hey! A bit of pep! A bit of pizzazz! Still dull as dirt though.
9. slow, boring, no melody
10. slow, boring
11. Peppier, poppier, but still boring
12. The classic title track played so slowly, the melody almost disappears

Need some rest but can't find your tsetse fly? Give Both Sides Now a try! Like a Sominex dipped in heroin, this pulseless nightmare will lure you deeper and deeper towards the warm, blanketing embrace of death. Nobody needs 28 violins. 8 violas is about 8 too many. And 8 celli? 4 bassists? 5 flutes? 6 clarinets? 2 bassoons? 7 horns? 5 trumpets? 4 trombones - AND 2 bass trombones? What is with these huge indie groups these days - how do they expect to make a living touring the clubs when there's 80 people in the band? Polyphonic Spree, Joni Mitchell, Yes - they're all on a collision course to Bacon Land!

You see, in the future, where YOU live, there is a giant outer space theme park called Bacon Land. It doesn't exist in MY time so people reading over my shoulder are all confused and shit thinking I'm just making crap up. But no sir, check your Intergalactical 4-D Space Map and you'll see it right there between the Lindsay Lohan Constellation and The Third Planet From Altair. Mmmm, Bacon Land! Step right up for some Bacon! Yes, it's an entire theme park based on the life and times of Sir Francis Bacon! Remember to stop by our Food Court for a tasty snow-filled chicken, asshole.

I'd also like to extend a hearty congratulations to Joni Mitchell for being the first artist to earn five 1's on www.markprindle.com. And a second congratulations to Pink, who will tie this record in approximately 12 years.

A few years after this CD, Joni released a double-CD called Travelogue that is apparently re-recordings of her old material. I chose not to purchase it. She is now signed to Starbucks' Record Label and has a terrible album called Shine due out in September. Of the track "If I Had A Heart To Cry," she told the New York Times, "My heart is broken in the face of the stupidity of my species. I can't cry about it. In a way I'm inoculated. I've suffered this pain for so long. ...The West has packed the whole world on a runaway train. We are on the road to extincting ourselves as a species."

It's awesome to call the human race 'stupid,' and then use 'extinct' as a verb.

Reader Comments

lumpy_monkey@hotmail.com
I hereby nominate your Joni Mitchell page the most offensive thing you've ever written. I mean...wow.

Wow.

bladeystyle@yahoo.com (Johnny)
wow! i do believe that ms. mitchell has set a record for most 1's by a single artist! that's quite an accomplishment... of sorts...

tad.baierlein@gmail.com
I can't remember the day that I realized that I didn't like Joni Mitchell as much as I thought I did. It might've been the first time I realized that I still hadn't made it all the way through one listen of Mingus, despite having liked both artists. It might've been the first time (and the last) that I listened to Wild Things Run Fast. Or it might've been the first time (and the last) that I listened to Turbulent Indigo, praying that it was truly the comeback that everybody trumpeted it as at the time, and being sorely disappointed that her fifteen year streak of awfulness hadn't been stopped.

Despite this approval of your Joni hate (and despite the fact that I laughed at a lot of things I really feel bad about right now) I think you are seriously underrating some of those early albums. I agree that her first was her best, but I really like Blue, For the Roses and especially Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. Really the only weaknesses I see on Don Juan are the last four minutes of "Paprika Plains" and that "Tenth World" thing..

And you call the chords on Blue predictable? Sorry Mark, not seeing it (except on "A Case of You" - I hate that song so much it almost makes me agree with the five)..

Oh, and if you want two more "ones" to add onto the new record, grab hold of Travelogue and her 1980 live thing called Shadows and Light. They are incredibly awful, much like everything else she's done for the past twenty-five years. God, it really hurt to say that.

cpmcrowley@aol.com (Jedi Clampett)
Mark,

Thank you for the hilarious demolition of this artist. I'm glad she finally found gainful employment working at a Starbuck's. Why aren't you on TV selling out, Mark, you made me laugh JONI MITCHELL'S ASS off.

pauntly7@yahoo.com
Hi,

I just had to write you a line or two when I saw the unique page you devoted (well, maybe a word like "devoted" doesn't really fit the bill, but whatever) to Joni Mitchell's recorded works. I laughed my ass off - seriously, my ass is now fully detachable - I'd email a picture of it, but you don't know me, so what the fuck would you want to see it for, am I right?

Now, I am someone who has: (1) put a lot of cash in the pockets of Joni, or David Geffen, or whomever gets my money at these fucking record labels; (2) listened to pretty much everything she recorded before, as you so succinctly described it, that "piece of shit clit tit piss fuck poop dick puss shit aass piss dick vomit puke ass piss shit ass dick balls" from 1982; and (3) studied her lyrics like a Classics scholar scouring Milton or Boccaccio, as if it will illuminate what the fuck is happening here in the real world in 2007. That massive sentence having been completed, I have to say that you are perhaps the greatest music critic I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and your Joni page is a fucking treasure chest. You have no pretense to higher meaning, no uber-superlative bullshit that sounds like a fanboy got a thesaurus and a webpage for Christmas, and you know how to rip on people really, really fucking good. So, I just had to thank you for the lulz and tell you to keep up the fine work. Ignore these fucking brainless slits that defend Joni, G.G., or Tori Amos with drivel like this (an actual nugget of dung from your Tori page, with the spelling to match): "...why is it that every time I read a positive Tori Amos review, it is intelligent, eloquent, mature, and often poetic in nature. When I read a negative review, however, people find int necessary to resort to puerile namecalling and assenine taunting?....Now, if any of the respondents on this site can offer me a negative review of Tori's Music, one conceived with a modicum of clarity and reason, maybe I can be swayed to agree with you. Until then I will be forced to agree with the smart, loyal, and beautiful fans of this Goddess!"

Dude, these people are from some planet where every chick is molested by their uncle, who is both the local minister and county sheriff, and who think that a description like "Goddess" fits a tart who says shit like - actual Tori quote here! - "There are a lot of damaged women out there who canít respond unless they take on another character because they havenít been taught they can just be a worker bee." Yeah, buddy, keep up the fine work, 'cause these douchebags are just growing in number, and using bigger and bigger fonts to tell people that Tori and Ani DiFranco don't have smelly shit. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Travelogue - Nonesuch 2002
Rating = 2

And I'm not saying she sucks on purpose. I'm sure she doesn't get up in the morning and go, "Well, it's 8 AM. Time to start sucking!" It's just that whenever she gets near a microphone, she chokes. She freezes up. Take this album, for example. She went through the hassle of going through her entire catalog, picking out four songs from Wild Things Run Fast, three each from Hejira and Turbulent Indigo, two each from Ladies of the Canyon, For The Roses, Court and Spark and Night Ride Home, and one each from Song to a Seagull, Blue, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter and Mingus, then hiring a big ol' fancy orchestra to perform them for her. It seemed like a foolproof way of creating a beautiful two-hour double-CD. But there was one key problem that she hadn't accounted for: the songs she chose all suck.

Look, I'm sure she's very good at certain things. For example, her guitarwork on Hejira and Song to a Seagull is quite interesting and creative. Maybe she can sew too, or perform "Ollies" on a skateboard. But there are 22 songs on here, and maybe seven of them don't completely suck. And of those seven, four of them kinda do suck. I was just being polite when I implied they didn't.

For the record, the symphony is used in four key ways:
a) to make a song sound like fucken classical music
b) to make a song sound like smooth jazz (ex. "Be Cool," "God Must Be A Boogie Man" and "You Dream Flat Tires") (Yeah, more like "Be SHIT," "God Must Be A Boogie SHIT" and "You SHIT Flat SHITS," if you ask me!)
c) to create rising swells of soul-nourishing emotion behind Joni's non-existent vocal hooks
d) to convert an already terrible singer-songwriter composition into an even worse adult contemporary snorefeast

What's amazing is how few of these songs have discernible melodies. "Sex Kills," "Hejira," "Borderline," "Love" -- do these songs even have tunes? And if so, why isn't anybody PLAYING them?

Which leaves us with three good songs: the dark bass-driven hookmonster "Trouble Child," and gorgeous harp'n'stringers "Refuge of the Roads" and "The Dawntreader." I tried to like the others; I really did. "Otis and Marlena" and "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" have their melodic moments, and "Cherokee Louise" is an emotionally affecting tale about a sexually abused runaway (at least until the vomitous line "she's gone to the place where you can stand and piss your pants like it was bubble bath"). But you can't expect me, Dave Sprintle, to sit here and say "Howdy-do!" about an album that sucks this much ass out of my dick.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you again soon.

Best,
Dave Sprintle
All-Music Guide To Fucking

Add your thoughts?


Shine - Hear Music 2007
Rating = 1

It's interesting to note that the 'S' key is located directly beneath the 'W' key on a computer keyboard. And I'm not saying all album title copysetters have slippery fingers but certainly the lesbos Joni Mitchell would hire might be exp

Joni Mitchell came out of retirement to record this album for Starbucks Coffee Company, and like her male counterpart Al Jourgensen, she's got quite a few complaints to make about the policies of President George N. Bush. But interestingly, once you realize that Joni Mitchell is a woman, it's hard to miss all the stark psychosexual imagery in her lyrics (or "leerics"). Here, look:

"You see those lovely hills/They won't be there for long/They're gonna tear 'em down/And sell them to California/Here come the toxic spills/Miners poking all around"

Now read them again, with my handy 'from a woman's point of view' parenthetical phrases: "You see those lovely hills (breasts)/They won't be there for long (penis)/They're gonna tear 'em down (mastectomy)/And sell them to California (the porn industry)/Here come the toxic spills (ejaculation)/Miners (minors) poking all around (having trouble finding the hole)"

As you can see, a Freudian reading is correct. Now here's another sample lyric:

"Holy war/Genocide/Suicide/Hate and cruelty.../How can this be holy?/If I had a heart I'd cry."

Here, let me help you with that:

"Holy war (fighting over a hole)/Genocide (gynecology)/Suicide (spermicide)/Hate and cruelty... (S&M)/How can this be holy (a vagina)?/If I had a heart (penis) I'd cry (ejaculate)."

Yes, it truly is amazing how repressed and mentally ill American folksinger Joni Mitchell is.

Before I continue, let me stress that I know what it feels like to receive a bad review. Why, just the other day, a gentleman posted this note on my MySpace page:

"Mark, I got my copy of Smilehouse about a week ago and I have to say I'm really disappointed. I love your record reviews and interviews so much, so I guess I was expecting a lot from your latest album. Well it is really bad. There is not even a part that is listenable. I listened to it for a long while, twice. I don't want to hear it again. So I would say, maybe stick to record reviews, or just put more time into your music. I think there is an idea or two but it sounds like sticking your finger in a blender to listen to."

Similarly, a fellow posted on Steve Albini's message board that "his music blows. Imagine 70 minutes of 30 to 90 second songs, all with very simplistic melodies, infantile potty-mouthed lyrics, WEEN atmosphere, and a drum machine. Over the course of one of his albums I generally dig about 2 of his songs.... I've actually listened all the way through his 3 of his albums. They fail to appeal to ANY of my aesthetics while irritating me quite a bit."

As such, I award Joni Mitchell yet another 1.

This is slow boring old person music -- mellow smooth jazz/adult contemporary for aged pacifists. Husky-voiced Joni alternates between piano and acoustic guitar instrumentation, backed with Sting-flavored saxophones and woodwinds as well as occasional pedal steel and violin. Extra instruments keep popping in just for a second in a very choppy ProTools-style mix, particularly in the Bad Idea Of The Century(TM) "Big Yellow Taxi 2007". And the melodies are just boring. The final song, "If," is a bit more uptempo and memorable than the others, but otherwise it's a Vomit Pail Of Graying Yuppiedom.

My wife, age 34, states, "Do we have to listen to this? I hate this kind of music!" And she's right. We all hate this kind of music. I suspect that even Joni Mitchell hates this kind of music, and is simply performing it as a protest against the policies of President George C. Scott. But what do you expect from the guy? First he found out his daughter was in the porn industry, then a bunch of ghosts visited him on Christmas Eve, then a wet ball came bouncing down the steps. Hell, I'd be a shitty president too!

And the vocal melody of "This Place" was totally ripped off from one of those recent Bob Dylan albums full of stuff he plagiarized. Can you believe the nerve of these thieving old people? There's one in the kitchen stealing my bowling ball bag right now! GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY BALL SACK, YOU WRINKLY OLD PIECE A SHIT!!!!!!!!

Reader Comments

dartstafarian
I have yet to hear anything Joni Mitchell squalls or strums (badly) that I could stand. There's a reason for this: I listen to DEATH METAL. And I'm deaf. Win-win.

Dave
Hey, love this page!
I was watching a video of a live concert by Crosby Stills Nash Young from 1974, and had to jump up and turn it off when I heard Joni Mitchell moaning away over one of my favourite songs of all time Helpless.
I immediately entered 'joni mitchell sucks' into Google,and discovered your awesome page. I laughed so hard I woke up my wife asleep in the next room and she came out to see if I was okay.
thanks

John McGloin
A profound example of the Harold Francis Callahan school of music criticism.

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