Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell’s songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity; even tracks like “All I Want,” “My Old Man,” and “Carey” — the brightest, most hopeful moments on the record — are darkened by bittersweet moments of sorrow and loneliness. At the same time that songs like “Little Green” (about a child given up for adoption) and the title cut (a hymn to salvation supposedly penned for James Taylor) raise the stakes of confessional folk-pop to new levels of honesty and openness, Mitchell’s music moves beyond the constraints of acoustic folk into more intricate and diverse territory, setting the stage for the experimentation of her later work. Unrivaled in its intensity and insight, Blue remains a watershed.
-Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com
|Released||June 22, 1971|
(Hollywood, Los Angeles, California)
Blue is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on “A Case of You” to insecurity on “This Flight Tonight“, the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. The album peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 15 on the Blllboard 200.
As Joni grooves with the easy-swinging elite-rock sound of California’s pop aristocrats, her relation to their (and her own) easy-swinging sexual ethic becomes more probing. But thoughtfulness isn’t exactly making her sisterly–I’ve even heard one woman complain that she can’t sing Joni’s melodies any more. Well, too bad–they’re getting stronger all the time, just like the lyrics. From the eternal ebullience of “All I Want” to the month-after melancholy of “Blue,” this battlefront report on the fitful joys of buy-now pay-later love offers an exciting, scary glimpse of a woman in a man’s world. (Rated: A)
All tracks written by Joni Mitchell.
In portraying herself so starkly, she has risked the ridiculous to achieve the sublime. The results though are seldom ridiculous; on Blue she has matched her popular music skills with the purity and honesty of what was once called folk music and through the blend she has given us some of the most beautiful moments in recent popular music.
-Timothy Crouse (Rolling Stone Magazine – August 5, 1971)
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