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Friday, December 14, 2007

Attention fans of Joni Mitchell, Joan Didion, and/or Sean Nelson

posted by on December 14 at 12:00 PM

Incidentally, three of my favorite things. There’s a piece today about being obsessed with a certain Joni Mitchell song—Ron Rosenbaum calls “Amelia” the best Joni Mitchell song ever. Rosenbaum mentions a couple other songs that he has been similarly obsessed with, songs that have inspired one-song-on-repeat-for-many-days-in-a-row benders (songs by Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson, Roger McGuinn, and Van Morrison), and says that “Amelia” could be the soundtrack to Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays.

He also mentions Stranger associate editor emeritus Sean Nelson’s first book:

The Joni Mitchell monograph that 33 1/3 came out with this year is extremely well-written (by Seattle musician Sean Nelson), and it displays all the virtues of smart music writing by people who actually know and play music. But—if you ask me—it’s about the wrong album. It’s about Court and Spark.

Now, some of you might want to leave the room for a moment, because I’m going to say something a little heretical, if not intentionally mean. To my mind, Court and Spark isn’t Joni Mitchell music so much as Joni Mitchell Muzak. Joni Mitchell doing aural wallpaper patterns, generic Joni Mitchell. On a high plane, sure, but to me, too coolly intellectual, emotionally distant.

So what, exactly, is so fucking great about “Amelia”? More here.

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Well, it's not necessary to trash Court and Spark in order to make the case that Hejira is a better (and also, in my opinion, best) album. Why is Amelia (and Hejira) so fucking great? Easy answer. Better poetry.

Court and Spark is one of a series of fantastic albums written by a singular songwriter at the peak of her powers. She follows it with The Hissing of Summer Lawns, more musically experimental. Hejira moves fully into poetry, and to be honest, as much as the guy was a prick, some of Jaco's best work.


Posted by rtm | December 14, 2007 5:12 PM

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