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Joni Mitchell: If You Want Album, You’ll Want Words Print-ready version

by Jeff Hecht
California Tech
May 22, 1969
Original article: PDF

Joni Mitchell's second album, Clouds, (Reprise RS 6341) is much in the style of her first album, Song to a Seagull. Most of the songs are new, never having been recorded by any other artist. The exceptions are the best known of her songs. "Both Sides, Now," which has been done by several artists, and "Tin Angel," which I've heard before somewhere, probably by Judy Collins.

Joni Mitchell's songs first became known when sung by other artists - mostly Judy Collins. "Both Sides, Now" became so well known through others that she didn't want to put it on her first album. In a way, Joni Mitchell's talents suffer because of the - she had a rich voice, but she can't match Judy Collins - few can.

Her greatest strength as an artist is the songs she writes. "Both Sides, Now," is one of the very best songs of its type. Her songs are generally vivid en colorful.

There is a tendency for parts of the melody of some songs to be very similar to melodies for other of her songs - but this is nowhere near as strong a tendency as it is in Leonard Cohen's songs. The comparison with Cohen is the best possible - both write generally soft songs with very vivid and beautiful word-images. Cohen's poetry is stronger, but Joni Mitchell's music is much stronger and much more innovative than his. She uses instrumentation in "Chelsea Morning," and sings unaccompanied in the "the Fiddle and the Drum."

In general, if you liked her first album you'll like her second. The quality and type of songs on both albums are very similar. This album is better recorded than the first - which had a very uneven level throughout. And, thank you Reprise, for printing the words to the songs. If you want the album, you'll probably want the words.

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