It isn't fair, maybe, but since Joni Mitchell has been one of the most original singers and songwriters of the rock era, one expects bold statements from her. Sadly, the only shocking thing about this new album of standards and reworked originals, recorded with a big band, is how ordinary it is. Mitchell does nothing with classics like "At Last," "Stormy Weather" and "Comes Love" that other artists haven't done many times before. While it's a pleasure to hear her swing on "I Wish I Were in Love Again" or explore the burnished low end of her range on "Answer Me, My Love," these are modest pleasures.
Throughout, the arrangements tend to be too bright and lively for Mitchell's understated, world-weary singing. And the two Mitchell originals, "A Case of You" and the title track, don't benefit from her reinterpretations. The former's diary-like musings sound odd with a swelling orchestra behind them, while Mitchell's downcast singing is inappropriate for the wide-eyed lyrics of the latter.
"I really don't know life at all," she sings, but the tone of her voice seems to be saying she knows life too well.
A limited edition version of the album, featuring artwork by Mitchell, is in stores now. The standard version will come out on March 21. Avoid them both.
This article has been viewed 5,504 times since being added on February 27, 2000.
Copyright protected material on this website is used in accordance with 'Fair Use', for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s). Please read Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.
Comment using your Facebook profile, or by registering at this site.
You must be registered and log in to add a permanently indexed comment.