JONI MITCHELL'S new album, BLUE, is about to be released here by Warner Brothers (K 44128). A large proportion of Joni's most notable songs, to date, have been intensely visual. What she's seen she has refined: but the songs' images have been those of the eye.
The lyrics of BLUE are less adventurous than in her previous three albums; on the other hand, its music is less careful. This is a fair exchange. The album is much more about Joni herself, less of scenes she's observed. The songs that stand out, at least at first, are earthy. In All I Want Joni wants to "wreck my stockings in some juke-box dive".
She makes it clear that she doesn't care to be construed as dependable. Instead, she insists on being able to be willful. BLUE is, I suppose, less representative of women than Joni's previous albums; but its songs are as marvelously singular, if more relaxed.
Graham Nash is the Willy of the Joni song of that name. His style is openly confessional. There's a group of singers in California, including Joni, James Taylor, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young, at least some of whose songs are letters to one another. Nash has just released his first album, SONGS FOR BEGINNERS (Atlantic SD 7204).
SONGS FOR BEGINNERS is yet another album recorded at Wally Heider's studio, with the mandatory star musicians as backers. This over-population helped to make David Crosby's solo album a swamp of unresolved sound. By contrast, Nash uses his musicians with focus and economy.