Saturday, July 11, 2009
Separation from the Herd and Joni Mitchell's Blue
I love music but I do not always feel the need to agree with the biggest critics. For example, I've been a Beatles fan since I purchased the Swan Records label ("Don't drop out!) version of the 45 "She Loves You." And I own everything they've recorded, even the 6 CDs known as Anthology, but I was simply never much of a Sgt. Pepper's fan. Sorry, that album just didn't roll right for me... I'd rather listen to Straight Up from Badfinger.
Similarly, I am and always have been a huge Joni Mitchell fan but - quite honestly - Blue was never my favorite of her many great albums. Blue was a very good collection of naked, angst riden, songs but there's a sameness about the group that I found at first interesting and later just tiring. Because of that, it is not an album I'll go back and repeatedly listen to.
Another way of thinking about Blue is to say that the songs of heartbreak and loneliness might have made up a Carol King or Carly Simon album. Not that there's anything wrong about that, but I failed to see the great originality within.
For me, personally, Joni's For the Roses is a far better album with much more variety. On Roses, we hear a hit single ("You Turn Me On I'm A Radio"), heartbreak folk-rock songs ("See You Sometime," "The Girl in the Bleachers"), classical oriented creations, jazz-based songs, and some songs written on the piano while others were written initially for guitar. It is a more eclectic and original gathering, despite that fact that critics tend to label it as simply "transitional." Whatever...
With Roses, Joni was moving and growing and never standing still or being satisfied with herself. With Blue, she stood still - or sat in one place -sounding tired and defeated... Perhaps Blue was actually her Let It Be.