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Joni Mitchell Reminds Us She Can Still Emotionally Wreck Us With Just One Song Print-ready version

by Rachel Leishman
The Mary Sue
February 6, 2024

Being a fan of Joni Mitchell means that you are incredibly in touch with your emotions. A.k.a you cry all the time. Her music has the power to move you and make you feel something you may have previously not known. It's why her Grammys performance is worthy of note.

The performance, which marked her first at the award ceremony, was a slower version of one of her classics: "Both Sides Now." There is a line in the 2003 film Love Actually when Karen (Emma Thompson) tells her husband, Harry (Alan Rickman) about her love of Mitchell. She says "I love her. And true love lasts a lifetime. Joni Mitchell is the woman who taught your cold English wife how to feel." That's exactly how I feel about Mitchell and it's never been truer than while I was watching her sing on the Grammys stage.

I could tell you every song by Mitchell that will make you feel something but I think, collectively, we all know that "Both Sides Now" is an emotional rollercoaster of a song. Listening to a slowed-down version with Brandi Carlile sitting next to her is something I don't think I will fully ever get over. And it is all completely rooted in my deep love for Mitchell and her music.

I purposely waited until the very late hours of the next day to watch this performance because I knew I would get emotional. What I didn't expect was to sit and sob on my couch, my cat coming to check on me because I was that much of a wreck. But it is a testament to Mitchell's ability as a songwriter and the power that her music continues to have on us.

Mitchell will destroy you but you'll be happy about it.

I grew up in the 90s and found Mitchell on my own. I would listen to the Both Sides Now album that was released in 2000 and it is how I discovered "A Case of You" and the emotional chokehold that the album Blue would eventually have on me. Whenever I am lost in my own mind and upset over something that is out of my control, I'll turn to Joni's music.

I am far from alone in that. It is what made that Love Actually scene such an iconic moment. Emma Thompson's experience in the movie may not have been relatable to young me but watching her cry as "Both Sides Now" played was. It's just that song you turn to when you need to have an emotional release. All of this was made that much more emotionally damaging by knowing that Mitchell won her first Grammy award and that this was the first time she was taking the stage.

Will I forever be changed by this performance? Probably! I want to live in that moment where the camera pans to Meryl Streep and Beyoncé and they are both crying. It's the power that Mitchell's music has always held for me and it felt cathartic to see so many others feeling those same emotions with me.

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Added to Library on February 7, 2024. (671)


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pete.g on

I basically did the same thing except I sobbed while watching it and for some time later. The next morning i sent my 20 year old granddaughter the link to her concert with Pat Metheny and Jaco.