Week 36: Joni Mitchell – Blue

28 Apr


More blue ladies this week!

I’m not blue though, I’ve just had my first week of maternity leave and I’m absolutely buzzing. I can sleep when I need to, I can eat when I need to, I can order things off the internet and actually be at home to receive them. I feel like a normal human being again, albeit a rather fat and achey one. The house is even slowly becoming something like an actual place where grown-ups live, rather than the student house-meets-jumble-sale thing we’ve had going on for the last five or six years.

I find myself pleading now “baby just wait til I’ve finished washing all the bedding we’ve ever owned…. baby just wait til I’ve painted the skirting boards and the banister and all the internal doors….baby just wait til we’ve put our mannequin Ken into a decent outfit…” I’m well aware that the baby won’t judge us if he’s born and Ken is wearing a dodgy blue jumper/Swedish tennis player wig/floppy hat combo that makes no sartorial sense. The health visitor might though. She eyed Ken fearfully this week: “Ooh what a lot of things you’ve got! Are these all your husband’s things?” “Oh, yes, yes, he is a one!” I chuckled, as I imagined the long-suffering wife of an eccentric hoarder might. No point social services thinking we’re both insane, right?

But let me talk about Joni.

I have this totally shallow, lazy, anti-music thing where I don’t really get into bands, I just get into records. I could sing you every note of this album, even though I have never listened to anything else by Joni. Actually – lie- I did have the Hissing Of Summer Lawns lent  to me (Prince’s favourite Joni Mitchell record, fact fans) but I couldn’t get into it. And I think I have Court and Spark lying around somewhere, which some people say is the best thing she did, but, pah, why should I bother listening to anything else when I like this so much? If I want to listen to Joni Mitchell, I put on Blue. This is probably horribly disrespectful to a tremendous artist, and definitely shows me up as being fickle and a philistine, but I’m not picking on Joni, I do it with everyone.

If a record is perfect I don’t want to go and listen to something by the same artist that I like a bit less and then think they’re not such a genius after all. I mean, who’s had a flawless career? Name me someone. Nobody has, everyone has meandered. I have enjoyed many other excellent Sonic Youth records, but in some ways I do wish I had left it at Daydream Nation, because it was my first and is still my favourite. I was so excited about the second and third Hot Snakes records, and gutted when they didn’t get within yelling distance of Automatic Midnight. And don’t get me started on Weezer.

Why disappoint yourself? Just put on Blue and sing along to every word.

(side two is my favourite)



5 Responses to “Week 36: Joni Mitchell – Blue”

  1. Invisible Mikey April 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    I do understand, especially with Mitchell albums. With some artists, several of their albums will sound pretty similar, so if you like one you’ll like the others. But Joni grew and changed SO much from album to album that it takes more work, or you have to get a bit obsessed/infatuated. To give you back a “fact fans” tidbit, Blue is most people’s favorite – even though Court and Spark sold more copies at the time it came out. It’s a combination of confessional-personal lyrics with sparse instrumental backing, because Warner’s was cheap – which is why she left the label after this album. She had to use a lot of her friends, who would come and play on the tracks for free. Fortunately, she has talented friends and exes like James Taylor (and his drummer Russ Kunkel) and Stephen Stills. And Hissing of Summer Lawns is most people’s least favorite, because it signaled a big turn of musical direction into Jazz fusion, away from the interpersonal folk style.

    • tokaipenny April 28, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

      I have learned something today-didn’t know that was why Blue was so intimate sounding! I did feel bad about not spending more time with Hissing… as it seemed like laziness to not work at getting into it. And I still feel a bit like Blue is a bit of an obvious or easy choice for a favourite. But it is wonderful, so, y’know.

  2. smileykt April 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    The other day I was telling someone how much I liked Emiliana Torrini, and he asked how many records she’d done. I said “oh, only a couple I think”. After a quick glance on the interweb he said “she’s released eight”. I felt slightly ashamed and then thought, nah, sod it. I love that one album I’ve got, why spoil it by getting some more that won’t be as good?

    • tokaipenny April 28, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      I think as I get older I feel less record nerd guilt at not having listened to everything by a band or artist I like. We are definitely losing geek points but who cares!

  3. siobhanjc May 4, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    There are some artists I love each new album more than the last (Radiohead come to mind) and some where I always head back to this one old album I love. Blue is a beautiful record, I love Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, but with both I do tend to come back to the same albums. But they are so perfect and beautiful I don’t care.

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