Just as she did in two shows with Dylan (and Van Morrison) in May at the Gorge, Mitchell shows she hasn't lost any of her fire and vision, and especially her individuality, on this stunning new disc. The godmother of all female singer-songwriters explores some of the same territory that has always fascinated her--politics, ecological devastation, the state of pop music, romantic and familial relations--bringing to them new insights and wonderful poetic musings.
The collection opens with an evocative tale involving a surreal circus, "Harlem in Havana." Other highlights include "Love Puts On a New Face," a richly atmospheric piece (featuring Wayne Shorter on sax) about the mystery and fickleness of love; "No Apologies," in which the Canadian singer blasts America's arrogance, violence and greed; and "Face Lift," a funny tale of an uneasy family reunion at Christmastime.
In the title tune, Mitchell attacks her old nemesis, the record biz--what she used to call "the star-making machinery behind the popular song"--for the sorry state of pop. "Formula music," she sings, "genuine junk food for juveniles...The whole thing's gotten boring!" Right on, Joni!
An accompanying booklet shows that Mitchell is as fine a painter as she is a songwriter, singer and guitarist.
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