Sunday, March 26, 2006

Joni Mitchell, Badass

Just when I thought I’d had my fill of acoustic guitars and deep feelings, this song comes on my iPod. It’s Joni Mitchell singing For The Roses. She probably wrote this song about a fellow canyon-dweller like Graham Nash, but to me it seems like it could have been written years later about Kurt Cobain:

Remember the days when you used to sit
And make up your tunes for love
And pour your simple sorrow
To the soundhole and your knee
And now you're seen
On giant screens
And at parties for the press
And for people who have slices of you
From the company

There’s more to say about this. For example, Joni’s friend and colleague (and the subject of Joni’s song Free Man In Paris) David Geffen ran the company that had a slice of Kurt. Makes me want to use the I-word. But we’ll not dwell on that here.

Also please understand I don’t want to praise Joni for being a sensitive hippie goddess or any of that. Instead I just want to say how much I love Joni for being a badass. She was the most talented of her ilk in the early 70's. She had a way with alternate tunings, fresh instrumentation and unmistakable singing and lyrics. Her music and words were simply better than anyone’s in her style of music. Legend has it she intimidated Led Zeppelin, for god’s sake. They wrote Going To California about her. Later in the decade she got restless musically and moved on, as Mr. Poncho illustrated for us in an earlier post. For some reason I think of the rapper Jay-Z when I think of Joni, and I think it’s because they were both on the top of their respective games for a time, and everyone knew it.

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