Guitar chords transcribed by Sue McNamara  Printer-friendly version of this piece
Tuning: BF#D#D#F#B   "Joni" Tuning: B79035

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Here's a song I fell in love with when I first heard it on Turbulent Indigo.
I learned the chords from watching Joni's fingers on the PBS documentary on
Troubadours of Folk Festival, where she first introduced the song. This is
very classic Joni melody writing, on a par with Both Sides Now in its folk
simplicity. The chords are not that exotic or jazzy, but there's a fluidity
to the chord changes that really heightens the emotions of the lyrics - a
Joni trademark!

As before, I have not included the right-hand fingering - it's best left to
the individual player to flesh out. Select a tuning that best suits your
voice (the fingering is the same for all three):

Tuning on Turbulent Indigo album: BF#D#D#F#B (my guitar goes dead this low!)
Tuning on live performance: CGCEGC
Also can be played in DADF#AD


                   Borderline - Words & Music by Joni Mitchell


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Verse 1:

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Everybody looks so ill at ease

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So distrustful so displeased

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Running down this table I see a borderline

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Like a barbed wire      fence

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Strung tight

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Strung tense

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Prickling with pretense

A borderline

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Why are you smirking at your friend
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Is this to be     the night when   all well-wishing ends                                   
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All credibility revoked 

Thin skin
Thick jokes   

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Can we blame it on     the smoke  

This borderline                            
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Verse 2:

Every bristling shaft of pride
Church or nation
Team or tribe
Every notion we subscribe to
Is just a borderline
Good or bad we think we know
As if thinking makes things so!
All convictions grow along a borderline
Smug in your jaded expertise
You scathe the wonder world
And you praise barbarity
In this illusionary place
This scared hard-edged rat race
All liberty is laced with

Verse 3:

Every income every age
Every fashion-plated rage
Every measure every gauge
Creates a borderline
Every stone thrown through glass
Every mean-streets-kick ass
Every swan caught on the grass
Will draw a borderline
You snipe so steady
You snub so snide
So ripe and ready
To diminish and deride!
You're so quick to condescend
My opinionated friend
All you deface all you defend
Is just a borderline 
Just a borderline 

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Another borderline

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Just a borderline 

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© 1994 Crazy Crow Music, all rights reserved.


This transcription is the author's own work and represents their interpretation of the song.
You may only use this file for private study, scholarship, or research.
Copyrighted material on this website is used in accordance with 'Fair Use'

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