Now that she's won a Grammy Award and been reunited with her long-lost
daughter, Joni Mitchell has become more of a public figure than she has
been since the late 1970's, when her albums began tilting toward the
increasingly esoteric - or were merely overlooked. Her vast influence
holds sway over a nation of Lilith Fair devotees, but reaches so far
beyond category that the songwriter is a virtual touchstone, a link
between artists as diverse as funkateer Prince and jazz trumpeter Dave
"Taming the Tiger" doesn't stretch toward any classic stature, but the casual warmth of its songs, the breezy, if sometimes a little busy, arrangements and Mitchell's mature, funny observations on human nature mark it as thoughtful, conversational balm. Tunes such as "Love Puts on a New Face" and "Stay in Touch" are direct, emotional, but realistic sketches of psyche and eros in action, buoyed by one of the singer's typically masterful studio bands (saxophonist Wayne Shorter, drummer Brian Blade).
As she sings on the title track, the album is also her response to a music business that scarcely has a place for artists like her anymore. "Every song just a one-night stand," she laments, flipping along the radio dial. "Formula music, girlie guile!"
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