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Taming The Tiger   Print

by Mitch Ritter
Dirty Linen
February 1999

Joni Mitchell is back at the cosmetics counter. All her careful artifice and studied distant remove can't make even a glimpse of the world of flesh and consequences appear on her latest muddled canvas. "No Apologies" is Mitchell's stab at outrage. It is laughable as she seizes on the recent news items about U.S. sailors raping a local girl near an American Navy base. Mitchell, ever the artiste, condenses what might've been a laudable attack on Pacific Arena geopolitical conventional wisdom into a single verse that blurs the Okinawans who want our military off their island with corporate Japan, ever eager to satisfy its loyal customers.

All of Mitchell's newest batch of synth-drenched half-baked ideas share a similar social detachment from any meaningful engagement. While Wayne Shorter's pungent sax lines trace vapor trails through Mitchell's dead air, drummer Brian Blade and turgid bassist Larry Klein cry out for the late Jaco Pastorius' lyrical bass ballet and Don Alias' lively Latin percussion. Joni Mitchell harnessed the best of Weather Report for her jazz imagination breakthrough Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. She has travelled deep into elite pretension to survey wealthiest suburbia's heart of darknesss on another breakthrough, the Hissing of Summer Lawns. Here on Taming the Tiger it is the carny barker as jived through by Femi Jiya during "Harlem in Havana" who gets closest to delivering a living line, while Joni Mitchell, Tigress of Siberia, phones in another techno remainder buffing her nails at the keyboards.

 

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