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Friday, February 03, 2006

9+ items about Joni Mitchell

1. There's an article in The New York Times today about a benefit concert of artists reintepreting Joni Mitchell's songs. The bill was quite diverse: Suzanne Vega, Martin Sexton, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Betty LaVette, and ... Neil Sedaka. Didn't see that one coming.

2. I'm absolutely destroyed by "Amelia" (Hejira) every time I hear it.

3. My dad and I were astonished as we watched the Neil Young-Joni Mitchell duet of "Helpless, Helpless" in The Last Waltz. Then we rewound the videotape and watched it again. And then again.

3b. I tried to relive this experience at the Heights one afternoon when the duet came on the speakers. I refused to talk to my friends for the duration of the song and looked beatific. Or at least that was the effect I was going for.

4. Court and Spark is a great album. "People's Parties" is a great song. The lines, "And coming to peoples parties / Fumbling deaf dumb and blind" are a poignant description of what it's like to be shy. The next line ruins the moment: "I wish I had more sense of humor." We all do, Joni. We all do.

5. I remember reading the Rolling Stone article about guitar gods circa 1996 (drawing of Jimi Hendrix on the cover). All the artists profiled named their favorite guitarists, and many were quite generous with their praise for other artists. Joni Mitchell misunderstood the question. "I think I'm more of a god-ette," she said.

6. In that vein, the cover art for Turbulent Indigo is Joni Mitchell's painting of Joni Mitchell as Vincent Van Gogh, bandaged ear and all.

6b. We all take ourselves too seriously sometimes. I quoted "You Were Not to Blame" (Turbulent Indigo) extensively in an eighth-grade paper about the O.J. Simpson trial.

7. Joni Mitchell never lies.

8. The only song I've ever listened to on an iPod is "The Last Time I Saw Richard" (Blue). Thanks, Ben, for letting me listen to it. I've listened to an iPod on speakers at parties and in my friend's car radio, but I don't own one and thus have only listened on headphones once. It's not like I can borrow someone's.

9. Sometimes my dad uses Joni Mitchell as an extra credit question on his anthro exams: "In 'Woodstock,' Joni Mitchell sings, 'We are stardust / Billion-year-old carbon.' Explain whether you think this is a reasonable statement."


Anonymous Anonymous on Fri Feb 03, 05:03:00 PM:
i learned english from helping my mom figure out song lyrics; many amazing memories of that, but the best one is the first time i recited to my astonished, guitar brandishing mother, the opening lines of Joni Mitchell's "Coyote". i was seven or so--wasn't supposed to speak any english at the time.