Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell


Hear Music/Starbucks

Joni Mitchell’s first album of new compositions in almost a decade is inspired by, of all things, fighting. Drawing on the Iraq war and something her grandson had said while listening to a family argument, “Bad dreams are good in the great plan.” she took this “inspiration” and focused on political and environmental issues, Joni tried to once again open the world’s eyes in a way more maternal than ever before.

Beginning with the gorgeous, “One Week Last Summer,” an instrumental that plays like the opening score to a new day dawning and has a reverent beauty and timelessness to it that reflects the composer’s newly found passion to record again. This sets the table and mood for the rest of the record’s emotional message of appreciation for what we all have, but, more importantly, what we all should be doing to make sure that we protect it for the generations that follow. “This Place” — a song about protecting your home and ultimately the Earth from invading technology and unwanted growth — exemplifies that realization in this reflective lyric: “when I get to heaven, if it is not like this/ I’ll just hop a cloud and I’m coming right back down here/ back to this heavenly bliss.” “If I Had A Heart” is most effective with its disingenuous message of detachment leaving the listener to wallow in their own inescapable guilt caused by years of apathy and indifference. Recently quoted as saying, “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.” Joni’s long legacy of care for the planet betrays the false insouciance contained in the songs lyric but it does make you wonder that if someone like Joni can reach the end of her humanitarian rope then what hope do the rest of us have? “Bad Dreams,” inspired by her grandson’s quote, tells of how such dreams may help us to learn from and overcome our fears and universal adversities. “Strong And Wrong” could be a handwritten plea to the warmongering leaders of our past, present and the uncertain future. The clever inclusion of an updated version of her hit “Big Yellow Taxi” fits right alongside with it’s “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone” mantra about paving over paradise and the regret the day after brings. But this is not a completely thematic record and songs like “Hana” and “Night of the Iguana” stand on their own. They are as strong as any song recorded by Joni in the past complete with her trademark characters full of strength, compassion and human resolve. The title track, “Shine” is glorious in its blind faith; it’s a Sunday school song anointing all things right and wrong with our planet. You don’t have to be addicted to the world news to relate to the wonderful line “Shine on world-wide traffic jams, honking day and night/ Shine on another asshole, passing on the right.” “If” closes out the album with Joni’s take on a Rudyard Kipling poem. Written originally in a soldier’s perspective she wanted to “get the feminine principle into the poetry” so a few lines were modified to accommodate this inspired re-working.

Back in 2000 Joni was quoted as saying “I have always thought of myself as a painter derailed by circumstance.” referring to her first love and critically acclaimed “second career” as an artist. Well, Van Gogh and Gauguin may have been some of Joni’s artistic influences but on this seriously dark and introspective collection she brings up more valid points than any painting by Seurat.

Joni Mitchell:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Sweet Crude
    Sweet Crude

    Créatures (Rhyme and Reason). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Gregg Allman, RIP
    Gregg Allman, RIP

    Michelle Wilson gives tribute to the voice of an angel. Gregg Allman, RIP.

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

From the Archives