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Joni no phony at love Print-ready version

by Gustavo Rivas
The Ithacan
April 13, 2000
Original article: PDF

If we lived in a normal town, when you read this review you could look outside, admire shiny spring weather and imagine your most perfect lover waiting for you outside. However, we live in Ithaca, and here there are no April showers to bring May flowers; and the sharp cold air outside has frozen whatever love could be in the air.

So what are you lucky people who are in a relationship to do? How about going for something nice and easy and very romantic. A beautiful moment cuddling with your loved one listening to the most romantic album I have heard in years.

Yes, Joni Mitchell has a huge romantic side to her, and in this album she makes sure the public hears it. I have never been a fan of Mitchell; the fact that my mom listens to her has always turned me off to her. But I would have never thought that this folk/pop-rock legend and four-time Grammy winner would release such a beautiful album. "Both Sides Now" has definitely captured my attention.

In her 20th album, Joni Mitchell looks back and revisits classic love songs like "Stormy Weather," "Answer Me, My Love," "You're My Thrill" and "I Wish I Were In Love Again." Along the way, she also re-recorded two nuggets from her own oeuvre: "A Case of You" and the title track.

Together, the 12 songs form a merger that moves easily and places the listener in the middle of a timeless tale of modern love. Even a passer-by would see the importance of poetry in this album by just reading the song titles that at times seem to be placed strategically to form a poem.

But her love song selection or placement is not what keeps the listener's attention - that is captured by the strong union formed by the combination of Mitchell's emotionally rich vocals and the musically rich orchestral maneuvers of the 71-piece London Symphony Orchestra. Together these music mobiles have created some of the most emotional jazz pieces in current music since Meshell N'degeocello released her last CD, "Bitter."

This is especially the case in the first song - "You're My Thrill." The song starts with a strong combination of bass guitar, violin and woodwinds that if her listeners were to close their eyes, they would immediately find themselves in the middle of a gloomy jazz café with a band playing up front.

Or the listeners can find themselves at a pub drinking and singing, "it's all over now, you don't have to tell me...You've forgotten the words 'I love you' and the memories we shared...no need to tell me, I know we're through," the aching words of "You've Changed."

Nevertheless, the listener does not have to place himself in another location. Mitchell and her co-producer Larry Klein made sure that listeners could enjoy the album at home.

"Both Sides Now" is an amazing album made up of breathtaking songs that could get the coldest days of Ithaca warm, and your romantic evenings nice and snugly. If nothing else, one of you will be reciting the lyrics of "Sometimes I'm Happy" which say, "I never mind the rain from the sky, just as the long as I have the sun in your eye."

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