Hello and thank you for being a DL contributor. We are changing the login scheme for contributors for simpler login and to better support using multiple devices. Please click here to update your account with a username and password.

Hello. Some features on this site require registration. Please click here to register for free.

Hello and thank you for registering. Please complete the process by verifying your email address. If you can't find the email you can resend it here.

Hello. Some features on this site require a subscription. Please click here to get full access and no ads for $1.99 or less per month.

Did Joni Mitchell's work ever decline?

If so, which album started it?

by Anonymousreply 26February 16, 2023 12:52 AM

Wild Things Run Fast (1982), where she went “all modern” with synths and shit.

by Anonymousreply 1December 17, 2022 7:18 AM

Her recent rap duet with Lizzo was a low point for sure.

by Anonymousreply 2December 17, 2022 7:19 AM

I'm not familiar enough with her stuff to say, but everything I've read points to what R1 says as being correct.

I did buy a 10 CD collection of hers, from the first album up to that really jazzy one she did (ie the one right before Wild Things Run Fast). I believe all those albums are thought of well.

by Anonymousreply 3December 17, 2022 8:14 AM

All those albums, r3, are masterpieces. The “jazzy” one you refer to is Mingus, and is sublime.

by Anonymousreply 4December 17, 2022 10:09 AM

Is her '80s work not highly regarded in general?

by Anonymousreply 5December 17, 2022 7:01 PM

Everything after her 1975 "Hejira"

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 6December 18, 2022 2:57 AM

Joni confounded expectations so critics cooled to her music. She was supposed to stay in her folk-pop lane and her excursions into jazz and experimentation with synths (i.e. the enemy of 'real' music) were not well-received. She wasn't allowed to explore and experiment like Dylan or Springsteen or Bowie without facing critical derision.

Her 80s albums are very solid. I discovered her through 1988's "Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm."

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 7January 26, 2023 5:42 PM

Gabriel is handsome in that video.

by Anonymousreply 8January 26, 2023 5:50 PM

80s MTV was the opposite of what she was about. At the time I think she really had a problem with that.. and then the Jann Wenner old boy network of industry types must have been a nightmare ..... I remember a radio interview for Taming the Tiger in the 90s where she had a chip on her shoulder about being compared to other "Women in Rock"...... Fortunately she has lived long enough to see new generations discovering and responding to her.

by Anonymousreply 9January 26, 2023 6:03 PM

It was all downhill after the first track on “Song to a Seagull.”

by Anonymousreply 10January 26, 2023 6:18 PM

a 4 hour zoom call with fans discussing 1998'a Taming of the Tiger!! LOL

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 11January 26, 2023 6:25 PM

I'm not a fan of the Mingus album, but her work became uneven after Hejira.

Don Juan's Reckless Daughter is a good example of this. Her 80s work is the weakest, though even Dog Eat Dog has a couple of good songs.

In the 90s beginning with Night Ride Home she was back in solid form.

by Anonymousreply 12January 26, 2023 6:57 PM

I think it's all weaker after Court and Spark. Some of it is quite good and Hejira is pretty impressive but it's all weaker.

by Anonymousreply 13January 26, 2023 8:06 PM

I thought Hejira was desperately seeking a tune. I tried hard to like it but it eludes me. So for me anything after that. Don Juan is execrable.

by Anonymousreply 14January 26, 2023 9:53 PM

Night Ride Home is one of my favorites. I was working as a clerk at Rose Records (Chicago) when it came out. Of course, I was the only nerd on staff who loved it, but I know great music when I hear it.

by Anonymousreply 15January 26, 2023 11:37 PM

Well, that's an overly simplified question.

Her best work was the run of albums between 1971's Blue and 1976's Hejira. A stunning run for any artist.

Joni struggled in the 80s, as so many 70s artists did, with processing the changes to pop music and the use of synthesizers.

Night Ride Home and Turbulent Indigo were both great later albums, as were some of the tracks she did where she revisited her older music with an orchestra backing her.

But yes, I'd say she hit a wall in the 80s and it took her a long time to return to form.

by Anonymousreply 16January 26, 2023 11:40 PM

R7 one of my favorites of any Joni era and the best of her 80s tracks IMHO

by Anonymousreply 17January 26, 2023 11:41 PM

R14, I think you should give Hejira another go. It’s a bit of a dreamscape and different from her previous work, even the ambitious Hissing of Summer Lawns, but I find it in a way the most rewarding of her work.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 18January 26, 2023 11:51 PM

The perfect Joni album to me is Hissing Of Summer Lawns, with Hejira a close second and Court and Spark, Blue, and For the Roses right after that.

Hejira would be more perfect if I didn't loathe Furry Sings the Blues (or if it wasn't on that LP).

by Anonymousreply 19January 27, 2023 12:30 AM

Hey! Furry Sings the Blues is a great track. That entire album is probably Mitchell's greatest work. I'm partial to The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Turbulent Indigo too but Hejira is a masterpiece.

by Anonymousreply 20January 27, 2023 12:52 AM

I love "A Song for Sharon." It doesn't have a traditional song structure but it is a lovely ride.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 21January 27, 2023 4:00 AM

Some of the meandering albums starting with Hejira, are an acquired taste and also don't date well. I like Hejira when I was a teen but now? I agree with someone above - where are the tunes? Some of the cuts on these albums suck balls - the one with Billy Idol? Yikes. But she snapped into focus a few times. Some cuts on Turbulent Indigo are good and enjoyable and she won a Grammy for that against then current and huge mostly newer stars.

I like the songs best on early albums. I like the production best on Hissing of Summer Lawns and the cuts are good.

by Anonymousreply 22January 27, 2023 12:09 PM

R20 I don't want to yuck anyone's yum, so to speak. My issue with it is some of the lyrics. It was her limousine commentary about something she knew little about. I love PJ Harvey but was annoyed with some of her recent music for the same reason - commentary at arm's length.

I love 99 percent of Joni's lyrics but this makes my skin crawl: "W.C. Handy I'm rich and I'm fey / and I'm not familiar with what you played /but I get such strong impressions of your heyday"

Furry himself was not a fan.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 23January 27, 2023 4:35 PM

It's tough to pinpoint a checkout period with her. I've never warmed to the Mingus collaboration, which is "brave" more than it is successful. It sounds half-formed. The three '80s albums that followed are uneven, not only because of the now-dated-sounding synths but because she was in a stable domestic period (married to the bassist Larry Klein) and I suspect was having to reach for lyrical inspiration. Thus, there were songs about televangelists and Ethiopian famine, and "topical" was never her strongest suit. But all of those albums do have strong tracks: "Chinese Café," "Moon at the Window," "Impossible Dreamer," "My Secret Place," ""The Tea Leaf Prophecy," "The Beat of Black Wings."

As others have noted, Night Ride Home and Turbulent Indigo were much better. Taming the Tiger was a fall-off, but enough on it works that it's necessary. It has at least one great song: "Man from Mars."

I haven't liked anything more recent than Taming the Tiger in 1998. Not her strained-voiced recordings of Tin Pan Alley standards with orchestra, nor her strained-voiced remakes of her OWN songs with orchestra, and not Shine. I know I should listen to Shine again to see if anything at all sinks in 15-16 later, but I always find other things I would rather hear.

by Anonymousreply 24February 11, 2023 4:37 AM

"Dog Eat Dog" is #29 on Rolling Stone's list of "50 Genuinely Horrible Albums by Brilliant Artists".


Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 25February 15, 2023 8:34 PM

1988's "Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm" was a highlight for her. It is not well-remembered because it had bizarre cameos (Billy Idol?) and felt gimmicky. Underneath, the songs were strong -- "Secret Place", "Number One", "Cool Water", "Beat of Black Wings", etc. Joni didn't have a "decline" her music is always evolving, not everything is to everyone's taste especially after one of her works has made a spectacular impression on the listener.

by Anonymousreply 26February 16, 2023 12:52 AM
Need more help? Click Here.

Yes indeed, we too use "cookies." Take a look at our privacy/terms or if you just want to see the damn site without all this bureaucratic nonsense, click ACCEPT. Otherwise, you'll just have to find some other site for your pointless bitchery needs.


Become a contributor - post when you want with no ads!