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Joni Mitchell - Shine   Print

by Mat Snow
Mojo
October 2007

We're hurtling to hell in a handcart: have a nice day.

Provoked out of a five-year musical retirement by the sideshow 'war against terror' while the world overboils, Joni Mitchell delivers a counter-intuitive, brilliant artistic response: she bestows upon our suicidal folly the blessing of serenity. Even her trademark suspended chords of doubt and inquiry enrich the reverie of long lyrical piano- led melody lines; her voice, partially restored to its full range by physical therapy, is never raised. And so you listen when you might otherwise turn off a tour -de-force title song which itemises humanity's irretrievably overdrawn account with a loving beauty that accepts it all without fear or rage. No less hushed and hallowed, If I Had a Heart, Bad Dreams are Good and Strong and Wrong also conjure the bitterest heresy that perhaps we as a species cannot but perish by our own grasping hands, so let us at least go to our doom gracefully. And Joni being Joni, among the 10 songs here she pointedly revisits her skittish Eco-dystopia of 1970, Big Yellow Taxi: you can't say she never warned us.

 

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