FOR THE ROSES by Joni Mitchell (Asylum SD 5057).
I do wish Joni Mitchell wouldn't take herself quite so seriously. The monotonous seriousness, and unnecessary pretentiousness of this new album takes the edge off an otherwise interesting and impressive collection of songs.
The first thing one notes any Joni Mitchell recording, of course, is Joni's breathtakingly beautiful and amazingly flexible singing voice.
Then there are her songs. Her formless (yet carefully, complexly structured) and artless (yet lovingly, and painstakingly crafted) songs about people and places she has known, or very personal lyrics about life and what it means to her. All of them are really people" songs.
They are the kind of songs that grow on you after repeated - and careful - listening. They are the kind of songs that sometimes come across better as poetry, when printed (as they are on For The Roses) on the cover, than they do when they are sung.
That is the case here. Miss Mitchell's somber, humorless rendering of many of her songs is quite oppressive. Woman Of Heart And Mind succeeds in spite of its "serious" nature, perhaps because it is one of the most musical, tightest written of the freeform creations. Most of the others don't succeed.
The best songs are the somewhat whimsical, totally unpretentious lyrics called Electricity (a marvelous mingling of love and electrical physics theory) and the hit single, You Turn Me On I'm A Radio.
For The Roses isn't Miss Mitchell's best album, not by a long shot. But anything she records has to be of more than passing interest, and if you're willing to take the time to really listen to the music, some of the songs are liable to start growing on you, slowly but surely.
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Added to Library on February 23, 2021. (667)
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