Audioburst Search

#747 Joni Mitchell's Blue


I am eroded downing traveling. You're listening to sound opinions. I'm Greg Kat. He's Jim Dora Goddess. And that's a little bit of the song all I want by Joni Mitchell. The lead off track from her nineteen seventy one album. Blue people are still talking about this record and influenced and moved by. It regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Certainly one of Johnny's greatest works unflinching honesty poetic lyrics. Those were elements in this record that inspired a range of artists. Tori Amos. Liz Fair. Even prince was singing. Joni Mitchell's praises for years today. We're GONNA take a deep dive into blue and discuss why it's a classic album and I said some of the tracks and we're later going to share our opinions on it absolutely greg who is Joni. Mitchell born nineteen forty-three Roberta Joan Anderson in rural Alberta Canada was a creative kid. Apparently right from the start would later go on to art school but it was not an easy upbringing. She contracted polio early on. It was that time bedridden. When she learned how to play Guitar and began to sing. She got pregnant when she was a poor folk singer struggling to make her name in. Toronto in the mid sixties had a daughter that she gave up for adoption. It was only years later in the Mid Nineties when tabloid outed that she'd had this child They since reconciled but what a thing to be exposed to the public a series of toxic sometimes a chaotic certainly Romantic relationships that I got undue attention often and all through it. Joanie is writing countless iconic songs in the folk pop tradition from both sides now. Aw Big Yellow Taxi Ono. What's gone today? We're going to zero in on what many people believed to be. Mitchell's greatest album blue. We're GONNA start our conversation. Speaking with David Yaffe author of the biography reckless daughter a portrait of Joni Mitchell. Then book was released in two thousand seventeen and details. Johnny's life career and Music David. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me for the young out there. Who Don't know. Can you give us the capsule biography? This young woman from Canada and how she set the world on fire or started to in the music world. It's interesting because usually when someone is a writer when someone is a musician. They have idols that they want to emulate and that didn't happen with Joanie not really. He had people that she knew how to imitate but she didn't idolize them so she's an unusual case that she's a great artist who didn't have somebody that she tried to emulate. I think this is part of growing up. Sort of remotely. Well that's part of it. She did grow up in this place. That Margaret Atwood described as a blank space on global culture. I mean it was very isolated was very remote. Family didn't have money. She didn't travel really so she just had that open sky and her creativity. She didn't have exposure too much but she says she didn't grow up playing guitar in the mirror or anything like that. She thought of herself as a visual artist but relented practical level. She thought that you probably ended up working in the fashion industry and that this folk revival was a fad and not go on for a few years a node die out and then she would do something else is off to star in the brain. Something that set off from the other children was when she got polio at age ten and she was taken to this polio colony and father never visited. Her mother visited once with a mask on the six months. Go by she gets her legs back and suddenly she's no longer there. I One pick for teams. You know she had thought of herself. As an athlete you kind of defined herself through that you know and suddenly her sense of identity was gone and so she started to turn inward and she started to find herself as an artist as a visual artist. The Kid who are the best dog house that kind of thing and all she really needed was just to go off in nature somewhere. Go off in the woods and be creative. And that was how she got through and then she goes to our school. She doesn't have a scholarship. And so nobody's really treating her like she's special so this kid seems like almost a little daydreaming As as a as a teenager figures out how to play guitar and basically invents an entire new style with the open tunings fifty open tunings by the end of their career or as a career is winding down this incredible method of approaching this instrument With with an immaculate voice to go with it and then this incredible songwriting Atkinson on top of all apparently self taught right. I mean and and she didn't know that would happen and David. We mentioned it earlier but she's in college at Art School. She gets pregnant during her sophomore year. She gives the baby up for adoption. This affected her very deeply. Where is she mentally at this point? And how you think. It was reflected in her music. That's right and she. She's living in a very very cheap rooming houses completely broke. I mean she the money that she's making from gigs but she starts to show too much. She can't perform anymore and so she's really you know like her neighbors are taking pity on her giving her fruit and stuff like that. I mean. She's really really broke. So she gives birth of your nineteenth nineteen sixty five. It's one of those things where like it's a. It's a situation where someone is pent up and can't say what she's thinking and can't say what she's feeling and has to keep a big secret about the source of it all and then it comes out in the sublimated way through these beautiful SAWS. Cha We love you are sending so you sign all the papers in the family name your and so because she was hiding this shame and because you had this grief of giving her daughter. The first thing that she ever rights is on the train. She's with the guy who got her pregnant scanning bread mcmath who took off soon after the on this fourteen hour train race. Toronto and so she hadn't written any songs. She was just doing traditional folk song. She was singing the songs. The jump hasn't Judy Collins were saying she was singing Santa that child ballot book. You Know Nancy whiskey interest so she's on the train and she stressed. This beautiful songs called day after day. She never records a bet it. You can hear it on. Should there's a demo of it a this kind of tragic full court that she got away from pretty quickly it's about a Damsel in distress is waiting for a hero on a horse to come and save her but she doesn't think that's GonNa happen so that's the sadness of the song was a beautiful song and it's amazing it's her first try and she didn't think it was good to record. Probably because it was riveted bet very impressive I try. And the second song she writes becomes a minor hit on the country charts and that song Urge for going. Yeah which which second son is trade trees? Shiver AVENUE. So let's fast forward. Joni goes on record her first three albums by nineteen seventy. She's won a grammy garnered. A large fan base found commercial success. And this is right before she starts recording her fourth out the record. We're focusing on today blue. How did she handle this? Since stardom being famous wasn't really something she was looking for you into it. You hope that you make it and then there's no exit strategy right. Isn't that always the case and Jones case? Because her work was so personal she didn't have a way of Creating the kind of barrier that probably you would need to have a healthy attitude toward it. I mean when you think about for example. The Way Dillon wasn't sixty six when vulnerable and you could see why he couldn't handle it in my head to go off the road for eight years and then you see him after that and you see the kind of creates this persona that distances himself a little bit allows him to to function in a way because he's an there's there's a barrier between him and I feel like Joni never really got that Johnny was always herself Fortune so call So that worked intimate in every way and so. I think that when she felt vulnerable brought on something that she thought of his like she said well people in the West might called nervous breakdown. But I thought of it. More as shamanistic breakthrough shamanistic breakthrough. That's how she thought of it and so she wanted to be. You know she. She now for retirement in nineteen seventy and and she went to live in a cave and Greece Was it literally? Did you get to the bottom of that? India's literally living in rock whole. Yes yes she was she was with the strontium Jo Ellen and she sherry she was living. Yeah it was a fashionable place to do it like a lot of hippies were hanging out there and then of course it was there that that this girl Joylin Lapidus designed to a Dulcimer for her that she ended up recording with on blue. She did case of you on that. Dulcimer California also. She was engaged to Graham Nash. They were living together and Laurel Canyon and that house in that house on Lookout Mountain. In which which I've been in the house it's a pretty modest house for rockstars to live in. It looked like a place that to graduate students would be sharing really. She was making money better. Just don't think she knew what that was or how to deal with it or anything She was just thinking about you. Know being creative and doing what she wanted and dropping acid when she wanted to and whatever. Well there's a David that fascinating interview. She gives to a Cameron Crowe about that. That point in her life. I came to a turning point. The terrible opportunity people are given in their lives the day they discovered to the tips of their toes. That they're a holes. What is she talking about? She said that she could look at people and read into them and read into their souls and it was sue overwhelming to her that she would be up to the supermarket and she would see somebody's soul and she would cry that the very thing that she was doing and blue which terrified some people which besotted others was that she was doing that with our listeners. Right because that quote is in relation to her being where she's at when she's writing and recording blue. Yes but but I think that when you hear for example like the title track of blue who To to you know live see before she's being so candid and so beautifully distilled about this melancholy that she's describing and the fact that she's using a color to describe it as important because she used Cynthia. She thought visual artist. You know you know her parents. Her father was colorblind. Her mother was also she thought colorblind whereas she was color acute so part of it was responding to her parents. And saying I can see things that you can't see you. Don't you know what you were doing when you were raising me because you see I can see it right? And so when she says blew it means a lot. It's an emotion. It's a color it's tied to the blues. You know she loves kind of blew. That was probably in the mix. They're very poetic writing. She wasn't she wasn't being super literal And I think that's part of the charm of the record is that People Wanna read all this stuff into it but there's also a universal quality to it that allows anybody to see themselves in and if they want to that's true and I call it the Joni Mitchell effect because she's hiding in plain sight. We'RE TALKING WITH DAVID. Yaffe author of reckless daughter a portrait of Joni Mitchell this very nineteen seventy habit of the music world in particular but my in general of of You know framing a women's talents and success and career with the men in her life. So as a biographer. You're telling the story of making blue writing blue recording blue And you can't ignore you know there's the Graham Nash. Relationship has unraveled the time in Crete living in the cave in Greece. There's a relationship with a a waiter and then James Taylor's in the wings and this romance. There is a Peace Corps activist who a cook named Kerry rats carries the song and then and then Leonard Cohen is in there too because a case of us is really about Leonard Cohen. I mean to the extent that any song is about anybody I think it was also I think just for additional context here just to add to that. Is that the way the record was perceived around that time rolling stone did a whole section about who Joni Mitchell had slept with around the time. There's record came out which to me kind of like okay. That is a typical male response. radio record by a woman to frame it in terms of who she slept with as a generation to generation of men in that. I guess what I would say. Is that her. Experiences are hers just in the same way that Bob Jones experiences are his without Leonard Cohen's experiences or his or John Lennon's or whoever else you want to think of as being in the Peer Group of Joni Mitchell Paul Simon. They write about their life. They write about their love to stay right about their sex life. They write about what they do. And it's their prerogative to do it as artists and nobody's GonNa question it and just as Question and if you're Joni Mitchell or anybody else right everybody's everybody's life is grabs when you're an artist so she's an artist but I also think that the experiences are less important than than the fact that they happened to Joni Mitchell and that Joni then has this way of articulating it. She has this way of interpreting it. She has this way of expressing her reaction to things that happened to her. And so it's not very remarkable to you know have of love. Life have breakup. Yes some of these people that she was intimate with were Amos. But that's pretty typical too if you think about it because people they often hook up with people that same field with what you're saying though if you remove all of that context of who it was specifically that she may or may not have been writing about. It's still a masterpiece. It's a masterpiece has been in fact. I think that if you take it for what it should be than it is about intimacy. I mean that's part of the store relationships I think it's artificial to remove it from its intimate content. Because that's the point talk to applause. I think David you used the word intimacy and I think it's a fascinating one and my rock critic hero Lester bangs set of blue that it's a record that that's too intimate. I almost feel like a voyeur. As a man Listening to blue. It makes me uncomfortable. Does that make sense? Oh Yeah no. I think she wanted because she was feeling uncomfortable herself and so. I think I think that's. That's the effect that she wanted. She wanted to confront people although she she did so in in dulcet tones. But she did. I mean the last time I saw Richard is a confrontation For sure you know all Romantics meet the same fate someday that that is meant to make people uncomfortable although of course it's with beautiful voice in these client finding candidates and so on. Cannell out almost talk to anybody about James. It's a combination of the lyric writing the melody writing the cords the rhythms with these truths these these intimate and often uncomfortable truths to be fair about this record by the way. I think I said this in the book that blue was maybe a sixty percent moping record in a forty percent party record yep because some of the songs are actually joyous and when talk about blue they think about all this grim stuff but you have cary which is very playful song and dance to get out and California. Kind of hopeful. California's Kinda sweet. I'M GONNA see folks leaving Kisa sunsetted peaks. It's interesting because like you know she she. She wasn't like Janice Joplin I mean Janice Joplin had this kind of raw reality. That she was taking it too and it was something that led to later. Patti Smith and whoever else you WANNA say Louis through Cindy Williams Liz fair minute certain kind of aggressive quality that and that. Joni herself would kind of have an an a later. Incarnation of her life but on blue. Everything is so you phony us? Even when she's talking about the darkest thing I've been blue. Is this beautiful beautiful song like while it's about losing yourself and and do something that could be. You know the heroin that James Taylor was hooked on could be destroying the darkest darkest place of trying to hide in the cloud or melancholy. The album Especially if you go to the bluest songs on blue like blue like last time last time I saw Richard like a case of you. It's just I mean. This is where the teased about it a lot. But it's just so honest and but what's remarkable is that a lot of things can be honest. Something can be honest and also not be good right sure. Blue is unflinchingly honest and it's a thing of beauty. Yeah and so I mean and maybe that makes people uncomfortable. It's confusing to two men because I think The emotions that you're talking about a lot of guys really are uncomfortable dealing with those. Let's forget not just Joni Mitchell but just talking to women in this way. In general a lot of men is very difficult. And I know a lot of women who really relate to this record because she's expressing what they would like to say or are feeling but can't articulate. Necessarily an interesting split the way it's interesting. A lot of male critics reviewed this record at the time But since then we've seen a lot of women chiming in on the record You know as their voices become more hurt in our media and I think they're the ones that are really championing this record and a lot of ways. Oh Yeah and and I mean listening to it. You know anytime in the new millennium listening to it in the ninety s no. It's IT'S A it's a different experience listening to it in nineteen seventy one and also about like why it wasn't that well received when it came out was not an instant big seller when it came out it took a long time to become biggest seller and a lot of that was like in the nineties. Yeah really and when the whole sensibility changed when you could be a different kind of a woman I think like Patti. Smith really shook a lot of people up and Sort of moved the needle. All the ways that you could express yourself as a woman. We'VE BEEN TALKING WITH DAVID. Yaffe author of the biography reckless daughter portrait of Joni Mitchell. David thanks for coming on sound opinions. Thanks for having me and thanks for such a stimulating conversation after a short break. We'll continue our discussion of Joni. Mitchell's blue by talking to music critic Lindsay Zoll all adds about blue's impact later. We'll share some of our favorite tracks from that record that's intimate unsound opinions from WBZ CHICAGO NPR ex. Welcome back to sound opinions. I'm Greg Kat. He's Jim dear goddess and this week. We're talking about the nineteen seventy one album blue by Joni Mitchell now earlier in the show. We discussed the context of the record and some of the tracks. And now we want to explore the album's influenced the lasting impact and legacy of Joni Mitchell. Today here to talk about is music. Writer and critic Lindsay Lads Lindsey welcome to sound opinions. They give your having the high. You wrote this brilliant piece fear of female genius about Joni Mitchell and we thought you'd be perfect voice to bring in to this conversation as we look at the legacy of blue first of all. That's brilliant title brilliant phrase you use throughout the piece. Tell us what you're thinking of when you say there's a fear of Joni Mitchell's female genius. Yeah I think that there are so few examples in pop culture of women who've lived and had careers and behaved like men who we call geniuses. Obviously I'm a huge fan of her music but I am fascinated by the way that she's moved throughout the culture and at each stop and each decade and era kind of show us what the resistance was to a woman living and working as freely as she did uncompromising brutal when someone you know challenges her she you know she takes no gump from nobody. Never yeah absolutely. She was so impervious to the criticism. She didn't ever let it slow her down or change the way she was doing business or or soften her in any way and I just think she's so fascinating for that reason and for so many reasons to all right. Well when she was making blow she even sort of dropped out of the music industry For a while before that record was made she's a famous woman. She had relationships with famous men. She was constantly being framed within these relationships. An incredibly condescending viewpoint of a great artist So what was the context of blue being made and and being as personal record as it was was it because of the environment That was sort of being shaped around her. The sort of the narrative that she was being forced into a sort of a the lone female artists may be that was getting that sort of recognition among a male dominated industry. Yeah I think there's always a sense of Joni. Removing herself from the context. She was in the story that the press was telling about her but it also is the moment after she leaves Graham. Nash and I talk about that in the piece to that. That seems like a really kind of pivotal turning point for her turning away from what could have been perhaps a stable and comfortable marriage and just fleeing and traveling and living a life of freedom and also kind of questioning what she was leaving behind by choosing freedom over. Graham scared away a lot younger than me and Greg and I wasn't even there when Joni was making her music wasn't quite conscious yet. You're younger woman. How did you become exposed to Joni Mitchell? And what sort of an impact? At what point in your life did the music half? There's something really match lineal about the way people get into Joni Mitchell and and that a lotta time it is literally through their mothers and back in the days of like burning. Cd's onto your computer. I one day just was like oh I got a few a Joni. Mitchell is all about and I remember sort of doing it. I took it sneakily from my mom's collection and like put it back so she didn't know that I was like the age to kind of understand. What Joni Mitchell was was coming from emotionally. There's usually kind of the older brother figure passing down the cool records and it's not a very cool story to say. Well I like Joni Mitchell because my mom expose me to her under the surface of the cannon that we usually talk about of of men defining and passing you know what is the great music on demand. There's something kinda subterranean about the way that her music Passes FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION? I love that. I don't want you to put you in a position of speaking for all young women today. Lindsey but I am so Ask Spokesman for two minutes. Anyway I just kind of record a record that was made in the early seventies Having an impact on a generation that was born. Well after you know Joni Mitchell's. Heyday can still listen to this record. And say you know I I relate to it I mean or or does it feel like a historical document rather than a living breathing thing that speaks to a young woman today. I think the record itself feels like a living breathing thing that people have gender can relate to and and young people because this sort of feels like a farewell to the twenty s record. And that's you know always kind of a theme pop culture that's that's recurring throughout. Whatever generation is in is in the twenty something slot at the time? But I think that she. I read about this a bit that. I think Joanie is so uncompromising and kind of prickly in some ways that she's hard to reduce into like a gift or a sort of Internet icon in the way that like. I wrote something about Stevie Nicks last year too. I think she's someone who. The image of Stevie Nicks has translated a lot more seamlessly onto lake internet culture youth culture. For whatever reason but I think there's sort of the image and then that is the gateway to the actual music so I think both those artists the music. Because it's really well. I think Joanie though harder to kind of packages come out if I in that way once the music reaches you. There's something about it that feels timeless and feels raw and current no matter what time and what generation you're talking about what would you say to the Cardi B. Fan? The grimes fan the Janelle monae Fan. You know the the precocious adventurous eighteen year old music lover to say all right all right. That's great playlist. She got there now. You gotTA listen to blue. Words FAIL TO DESCRIBE LIKE YOU. Kinda just have to sneak that on. Yeah Yeah I think a lot of those artists to would say that they were influenced by her. And maybe that's a place to start with people that that are unfamiliar with her. Like there's just you know talking to peace about her connection with Prince and how prince as a teen would go to these Joni Mitchell concerts and actually wrote her fan mail like in the Prince Syntax with the number and Yeah and I think that you know just the influence she had other artists who then influence other people. It's all this web of influence. That kind of goes back to her. There are a lot of forward thinking. Female Artists Lindsey. What about you mentioned? Prince as being one of the artists who was heavily influenced by Joni. What are some other artists that you've come across in recent years that people may not be aware of that sort of mentioned? Joni Mitchell as a as an influence on the way they make music. I think in modern analog to her maybe apple I think she has about her influence. But just in the the vividness of the lyricism and the kind of uncompromising way she has conducted her public life. And Kinda just plowed through whatever people had to say about her and and kept making albums that went deeper and deeper into herself. I think she's maybe one of the closest artists but she also is not as prolific journey. Was it. It's fascinating to look at that period in the late sixties through the mid Seventies. Just but how much she was fighting against every system that she came across but was making so much music and putting out a brilliant record pretty much every year I think Lauren Hill. There's a comparison to be made. There is low also someone who has not put out a lot of music is kind of I think part of the the kind of quote unquote female Genius Persona is. It's really difficult to get things through the system and to get to make the necessary compromises to even release a record that you're proud of so I do now that I'm thinking of it. Just the women that you could compare to Today art maybe having as easy time with their record labels or with the public perception. Yeah I mean yeah and Lauryn Hill. I mean both paid significant price for for for their You know we're criticized in public in disturbing ways you know in a way the Joni never put up with. There's just a lot of a lot more scrutiny. Now a lot more lenders to scrutinise women through Just on the Internet and with the way that the news cycle kind of works. I I do think it might be harder in some ways to to be a woman like Joni today but I also think there's just I'm hoping that the the floodgates are starting to at least if not open weaken in in some way on because I do think there's just a much larger volume of female artists out there. They're more visible. You have to kind of dig around to find analogues In in more modern context for her. I think that's also. That's a good point all right. Let me play. Devil's advocate question. Lindsey the headline of your piece of fear of female genius You know the problem when we have something like the NPR lists of greatest albums ever made by women last year. Right you know. Why aren't they just the greatest albums ever made right? Why are they almost by women? Why is she female? Gee I mean obviously. She's her. Art Is Very much from a female perspective. But are we limiting her by saying female? Genius as opposed to neil young genius Bob Dylan genius. Leonard Cohen Genius just genius. I think eventually hopefully we'll get there. I don't think we're there yet in the culture. You know she she was number one on the NPR women's last. But I think in the the rolling stone greatest albums of all time I think blue like number thirty and that was the first one by a woman a reason that she is really fascinating to me is an just to look at her. Whole story is that she showed us the limitations on women at the time and also the way that they were able to be transcended so I think that focusing on you know I talk in the piece about her pregnancy and the adoption and just the the way that that did kind of wait on her throughout her life. That's and the way that that was always kind of something that was gonNA tether her to reality more than it did The men who kind of behaved like geniuses around they could leave their family is a lot more freely than a woman was able to at that time so I think looking at her in that context. What does it mean to be a female genius? Are there inherent compromises in that that make it different from a male one and I think that just with maybe someday we'll get there where there's not but I think just in the culture we are unfortunately not there yet? There are not enough journeys. We've been talking to lindsays all adds about Joni Mitchell. Thanks for coming on the show Lindsey when we come back. Jim and I are going to share some tracks that we think are important to highlight from that album. That's in a minute on sound opinions from WBZ CHICAGO NPR. Alex welcome back sound opinions. I'm Jim dear got us. My partner is Gregg Kat. And this week we're doing a classic album dissection of Joni Mitchell's blue which came out in one thousand nine hundred seventy one and is arguably Mitchell's biggest success. We're going to share some of our favorite tracks now and why we think it is a classic Album Greg. You First Jim. I want to highlight the track California which some people think of as one of the more optimistic songs on the record. It is a song about home or at least her adopted home in California. Obviously she was born in Canada. This was written as part of her European hiatus she Basically dropped out of the music industry for a number of months after her first three came out and made her a star. She just wanted to get away from everything including California. She went to Europe and live like a Hippie for a while. But you got homesick. She decided even though I'm very disillusioned with California. I'm wearing out and on this European lifestyle. I WANNA get back home. The whole idea of coming home was was a hopeful sentiment. But there's also a key question at the heart of this song. It's a plaintiff question that I think is the key to the album that line. Will you take me as I am? She's speaking to California she. Speaking to America she speaking to her fan base. She speaking to the men in her life she is talking about. You know I'm I'm this woman who was independent is doing my thing on my terms. Will you accept that? Because if you can't I don't want any party. And that that really is kind of the impetus of the blue helmets and emancipatory album in many ways with that question at the heart of it and at the same time the feeling of longing expressed so beautifully a later in the song by a little subtle touch pedal steel guitar from Sneaky Pete Klina of the flying burrito brothers. The way that pedal steel sort of wafts through the atmosphere created by. Janis voice and her Appalachian Dulcimer. I think it's a beautiful song but with many many layers and is a great example of the multilayered songwriting. That is the key to this. Very simple arrangements. With many many textures and feelings coursing through them. California from Joni Mitchell's blue range renews shawl looks bad. They won't give peace a chance. Just a dream. Some of still. Does he WANNA stay here? Too Old and cold and sit in. I'M GONNA g-get leaving kisa sentences pig pound Dan Sperry well. He gave me my smile but he kept my cameras South Boulder because good omelettes stews and I might have stayed on with him. My full you fallen that is California. What I think is one of the key tracks from Joni Mitchell's blue. Jim would have you got greg. We have to Play Little Green. You know we were talking about this daughter that Joni Mitchell had when she was a struggling college student and folksinger had to give up for adoption. That's in the mid sixties. It wasn't until the mid nineties when that part of her life was exposed by tabloid and she subsequently years later Started a relationship with that young woman. Her Daughter Kill Lauren. Gabe I'm I you know. I think one of the sins that listeners a male and female but in particular the male rock crawling establishment lays upon. Blue is reading an as strict autobiography at all times. The reason I mentioned this This is obviously a song written about her daughter. Little Green but You know nobody knew about that. And for a good twenty five years and now that's all anybody talks about in the context of this song but if we look at the song one of those classic Weird Joni Mitchell a guitar tunings you know of her own songs in hoping g You know we look at the lyrics. It's about a longing in general. It could be. I heard as longing for the seasons to change away from the cold and into the spring it could be more specifically. I think longing for any parent In particular father all right. I'm a father of a daughter. So are you. You've got to About a daughter Both both being a an obsessive love but also some day. She's GonNa leave you and that's GonNa leave a whole you were talking about. How much longing and sadness and and emancipation runs throughout blue? It's not just in the romantic sense. It's also about in in the sense of childhood and then I think it's just a great song about hoping for something better period. You don't need to know everything that happened to Joni. It's part of the context but this is an immortal song because it stands without any of that little green by Joni Mitchell on sound opinions. Oh with the Moon in can serve choose serving name. Shulan sued to Cau- Green and the winters cannot all agree gypsy dancer. He went to he. Did everything's warm so right. Who is Jewish? Look Great. He's in Joni Mitchell. Little Green on sound opinions Greg. Another song highlight from blue. I like I like your choice of Little Green Jim because I think you know the the strength of Joni songwriting. Because you wouldn't have known it was about her daughter unless you had inside information it would have been about many many situations at the same time. Take drawings very specifically on the pain in her private life to create a song That has universal significance. And I think many of the songs on a blue have that regards to call a confessional album. I think completely misreads what it's about A great example of that is the Song River. You know it's amazing how. This song has become a Christmas standard holiday standard. You can hear it at starbucks plane. I'm not you know when you go in for a coffee starting about mid November You know it's just one of those things that's Kinda like wallpaper now for the holidays and it is an incredibly sad song. It's almost like a eulogy. Here's the Canadian girl singing about skating away on a river while she's in California a place that at the time. She does not really love and is kind of getting disgusted by the key. Line for me. I wish I had a river river so long I would teach my feet to fly. And the way her voice just sort of flies off on that last syllable is just so beautiful and heartbreaking And then lands on. I made my baby cry. This whole notion of I've just gone through this relationship that ended terribly. I miss my home of origin. I miss my childhood. You thinking about all these things coursing through the song and doing it. Beautifully with the framing device of jingle bells. I think people have a holiday song but it's played so sadly and mournfully and she starts off. Saint Kinda plaintive tone to those cords and then at the end. It's devastatingly slow. Slow was almost like a eulogy. So it's a beautiful and yet heartbreaking song that I think encapsulates the the multitude of emotions that are coursing through the blue album. Here's river from Joni. Mitchell unsound opinions cutting down trees put up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace. Who I wish I could ski. Snow here stays pretty green. I'M GONNA make a lot of money then. I'M GONNA quit this scene. I wish I had a good ski wisha. Long would teach me away Aby River from Joni Mitchell. You've got one more great blue track for us. Jim A case of you Greg The Mitchell obsessive who I think often are obsessing and not listening Debate is this song about her romantic split from Graham Nash. Or is it about Leonard Cohen. I you know I don't care I that's life. That's not her art. What is brilliant about this? Art Is that we've all had a case of someone that is both good for us. And bad for US everybody you know obligatory rock critic quote. I'm a lonely painter. I lived in a box of paints. Okay but to me the the lines before that you know you are in my blood like holy wine you taste so bitter and so sweet. I could drink a case of you and I'd still be on my feet. That's everything I love about Johnny Mitchell number one. She's tough as nails. You know what I mean. You Not GonNa drink me under the table. I tell you I write number two the play on a case by case abuse a bad case of the flu but also I'll I'll devour case of you. I can't get enough and I love you but I'm also a broken by this relationship as we end it. All of these feelings are encompassed. And you know a lot of times. We talk about artists who cover something. I think it's a testament when a wide array of incredible talents. Come to the same song for inspiration and make it their own Tori Amos prints Diana Krall Katie Lang. All of them have done versions of case. View I think that they are all hearing something in it Different and bringing something of their own and you know so is everyone who really listens to in loves blue a case of you by Joni Mitchell on sad opinions just before you say constant as a northern star said constantly door whereas dead in a Carter. Tv's in Canada Sketched on Oh sweet still beyond my feet or I would still be on a case of you. By Joni Mitchell wrapping up our classic album dissection of her nineteen seventy-one out and blue. Now we want to hear from you. Do you have any opinions on blue or Joni Mitchell or anything in the music world? Call eight eight eight five nine eight thousand nine hundred and leave us a message as always sound. Opinions is produced by Brennan. Banish Alex Clayborn ionic interests and Andrew. Gill is that my phone On sound opinions everyone's a critic so give us a call on our hotline eight. Eight eight eight five nine eighteen hundred new messages. Hi there this is Clifford Lee from Minnesota and I really love your show about animals at our household here especially since we have six long weeks of winter the dog and I will take a moment and we will choose something to listen to before we go to bed and one of the things that we have listened to. Recently even though cats are our nemesis we have found a certain sense of solitude with listening to the virtue to the cat trilogy by the weaker than a way. And that's one of the things that kind of a go to for us here at the House and love your show. What would you guys do? I'm glad you're staying on and we hope to hear you Talk more about these fine for creatures that make us our friends take care. Now bye guys. It's James in Los Angeles California to songs come to mind about animals. Adrian Balu Loan Right through and blue the King Crimson with a dinosaur pop to mind great show once again. Keep up the good work. Hey Jim in Greg. This is Phil calling from Honolulu. Hawaii and just listened to your episode on songs about animals and when you mentioned animal farm. I thought certain you were going to actually mentioned. Chicago's own kid. Indie rock band by that name. Animal Farm in fact. I'm not sure you guys have ever done a review of children's songs or records for children but this is a fantastic band. All of their songs are about animals. I actually listened to the record even when my kids aren't in the cards. My favorite song is a song about change. And it's a song cold shed your skin and Eventually went to check them out. Animal Farm there a kid. Indie kindy rock band from Chicago. Thanks for your show. You guys are terrific like hi. This is Aaron calling from Chicago. I just listened to your little bit on this episode about Jesus Christ superstar. I have kind of an embarrassing story. I mean my cousin and my neighborhood friend we would listen to this record and twelve year old girls. We would pretend to go into trances. There were inspired by this and sleep. Walk around the room. One zero save him Jesus and it was somehow very mystically inspired by Jesus Christ superstar. Thank you enjoy the show by how you doing. This is John From Minneapolis. Just listened to your bid about Jesus Christ superstar and yeah might rock or not. I haven't really processed that part of it. The only thing I remember that one night like friends and I had a long night of drinking and the next morning somebody put on that record and my friends. Being a bunch of Catholic boys knew all the words and started to act out the script and I became Jesus and they proceeded to try to crucify me company. Jumping fall him. I had to escape through an upstairs window and run down the street so that play will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you great show messages to share your opinions on sound opinions. Call eight eight eight five nine. Eighteen hundred we'll be back next week. Unsound OPINIONS FROM WBZ Chicago and distributed by P R X.

Coming up next