Monday, January 18, 2010

Joni Mitchell 2: Clouds

Starting with the full-face cover painting, Clouds shows Joni Mitchell in full command of her talents. It’s another collection of lovelorn songs guaranteed to please fans of her first album, with enough variety to make it seem not at all like a retread. (That, of course, is key to anyone hoping to replicate the success of his or her debut.)
Clouds is framed by songs that had already been hits for others: “Tin Angel” was covered by Tom Rush on his excellent third album, while “Both Sides, Now” is on the short list of standards that Joni alone has contributed to the 20th century oeuvre of popular music. In between are a striking batch of originals, the majority of which would strike chords in the hearts of college coeds nationwide.
“Chelsea Morning” is now very famous to a generation who equate it with the child of a President, but at the heart of it there is another declaration of gratified independence of a happily single woman. Her happiness fluctuates, however, from the questioning of “I Don’t Know Where I Stand”, through “That Song About The Midway”, where she met Leonard Cohen. “Roses Blue” deviates slightly from the straight acoustic-and-vocal presentation with its unorthodox accompaniment, but still fits with the uniform arrangement.
A lothario’s conquests are the subject of “The Gallery”, after which our heroine views the uncertain road ahead and decides “I Think I Understand” (which we think Paul Weller heard and used for “Mr. Clean”). “Songs To Aging Children Come” showcases her layered harmonies, coming in striking contrast to the political commentary in “The Fiddle And The Drum”.
Clouds will happily satisfy anyone seeking classic acoustic Joni, whether they’re newer fans finding their way from Alanis or Tori, or an original generational refugee hoping to reconnect. (Indeed, at the CD store we managed in the ‘90s, it never failed. Someone would come floating in, enticed by Joni wafting ever so gently from the speakers. “I haven’t heard this since college,” they’d say, misty-eyed. Another one sold.)

Joni Mitchell Clouds (1969)—

No comments:

Post a Comment