Friday, May 2, 2008

Number 7 Blue

Number 7 Blue

Artist: Joni Mitchell
Released: June 1971
Track Listing

All I Want
My Old Man
Little Green
This Flight Tonight
A Case of You
The Last Time I Saw Richard

"The night is a starry dome, and they're playin' that scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala Moon"

I must begin with an apology to Joni Mitchell and her fans. This is the only album by Joni Mitchell I have ever listened to. I am pretty darn sure that fact proves I'm a fool. This has been the case for so long that it has become a psychological barrier that I am not sure I can overcome. For every other artist in this list I own his or her catalog or a least a large part of it. I have this mythical ideal of Joni Mitchell and unfairly to her I have pigeon holed her into a corner, but hey IT IS one hell of a corner. It is no reflection on anything I've heard or read about the rest of her work which I am sure is great but it is what it is and I am what I am, a fool. Now on with my # 7 album, Blue.

Bob Dylan released Blood on the Tracks in 1975 and for posterity put out what many feel will stand as the all time great "break up" album. Since this is a ranked list it forced my hand to make this bold statement, a realization I had to accept (some friends may never speak to me again), I believe Blue is greater than Blood on the Tracks and is the benchmark album for the man/woman emotional statement. There I wrote it, and it's right, I think.

A constant theme to me when producing this list was the idea of sonic atmosphere. This is to say that an album as a whole has a sound unto it's own. Not all of my top ten has this as a defining strength but Blue certainly does. Not only does it have that "sound" but the sound is all Joni Mitchell, no tricks here, no great production choices or technology twists. Her playing, her words, and most importantly her voice together inter weave all the songs to create a brilliantly unified style.

What I like most about Blue is that I want to be the person many of these songs are written for. To have her wading through it to get to a song like My Old Man with thoughts of me in her soul. I want to be Carey, head down to the Mermaid Café with my walking cane and smash my empty glasses down and see her shining silver jewelry underneath the Matala Moon. Yes! Yes! The Last Time I saw Darren, now that's a closing song. I want to be shampooed and renewed! I digress.

Because of Blue I am sure the 60's had to be a good thing. Would you like to talk about an independent woman? Many of the songs involve a man but at the heart of the matter is herself. So many self-enlightening lines I can't imagine how cathartic it was to get this stuff out. Songs like Californian, and Carey, and All I Want, and This Flight Tonight are resounding proclamations of The New World Woman. Independence with heart and soul right? Right. This is an incredible bunch of tunes and it is no coincidence that this is one of the most quoted albums of all time. I really should listen to all her other work…..what an idiot.

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