Recording: Very good
Joni Mitchell's first album in several years begins with a song about a troubled woman with a suicidal itch (Sunny Sunday). From there it meanders through life in the age of AIDS (Sex Kills), spouse abuse (Not to Blame, apparently a jab at Jackson Browne), sadism in the Catholic church (Magdalene Laundries), and Job (The Sire of Sorrow, which contains the lyric, "I've lost all taste for life"). And if all that isn't enough of a downer, the album is also a depressing reminder that Mitchell, one of the finest singer-songwriters of her generation, has apparently run the best of her creative course.
"Turbulent Indigo" harks back somewhat to the jazzbo sound of Mitchell's "Hejira." one of her more accessible albums. But the melody, joyousness, and romantic persona of that earlier record are nowhere to be found here. In fact, of the sixteen selections on "Turbulent Indigo," only one is a fully fleshed-out song--the rest amount td mere sketches. Somber, disillusioned, and fatalistic in middle age, the Joni Mitchell of today sounds like the embittered mother of the dreamy Mitchell of yesteryear. But now, unlike in the old days, when she sings of stark emotion, risk, and loss, we understand her meaning only too well--in our heads instead of our hearts.