Saturday, December 13, 2008

Joni Mitchell's top 20

A cold wintry day, the start of holidays, pressed for time, a spare hour suddenly crops up. Joni Mitchell's best 20 songs, in order, in my opinion.

1. Amelia (Hejira)

'I wish that he was here tonight
It's so hard to obey
His sad request of me to kindly stay away
So this is how I hide the hurt
As the road leads cursed and charmed
I tell Amelia, it was just a false alarm.'

2. Hejira (Hejira)

''I'm porous with travel fever
But you know I'm so glad to be on my own
Still sometimes the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones
I know- no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone.'

3. Song To A Seagull(Joni Mitchell)

'And the beaches were concrete
And the stars paid a light bill
And the blossoms hung false
On their store window trees.'

4. The Sire Of Sorrow (Turbulent Indigo)

'I've lost all taste for life
I'm all complaints
Tell me why do you starve the faithful
Why do you crucify the saints?
And you let the wicked prosper
You let their children frisk like deer,
And my loves are dead or dying, or they don't come near.'

5. Both Sides, Now (Clouds)

'But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living ev'ry day.'

6. Blue (Blue)

'Blue, songs are like tattoos
You know I've been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away
Blue, here is a song for you
Ink of a pin
Underneath the skin
An empty space to fill in..'

7. River (Blue)

'I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on.'

8. For The Roses (For The Roses)

'I heard it in the wind last night
It sounded like applause
Chilly now
End of summer
No more shiny hot nights
It was just the arbutus rustling
And the bumping of the logs
And the moon swept down black water
Like an empty spotlight.'

9. Down To You (Court And Spark)

'In the morning there are lovers in the street
They look so high
You brush against a stranger
And you both apologize
Old friends seem indifferent
You must have brought that on
Old bonds have broken down
Love is gone
Oh love is gone
Written on your spirit this sad song
Love is gone.'

10. Borderline (Turbulent Indigo)

'Every bristling shaft of pride
Church or nation
Team or tribe
Every notion we subscribe to
Is just a borderline
Good or bad, we think we know
As if thinking makes things so
All convictions grow along the borderline.'

11. Song For Sharon (Hejira)

'Sharon you've got a husband
And a family and a farm
I've got the apple of temptation
And a diamond snake around my arm
But you still have your music
And I've still got my eyes on the land and the sky
You sing for your friends and your family
I'll walk green pastures by and by.'

12. Woodstock (Ladies Of The Canyon)

'By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation.'

13. That Song About The Midway (Clouds)

'I met you on a midway at a fair last year
And you stood out like a ruby in a black man's ear
You were playing on the horses, you were playing on the guitar strings
You were playing like a devil wearing wings, wearing wings
You looked so grand wearing wings
Do you tape them to your shoulders just to sing
Can you fly
I heard you can! Can you fly
Like an eagle doin' your hunting from the sky.'

14. For Free (Ladies Of The Canyon)

'I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood
And he played real good
On his clarinet, for free.'

15. The Boho Dance (The Hissing Of Summer Lawns)

'Down in the cellar in the Boho zone
I was looking for some sweet inspiration, oh well
Just another hard-time band
With Negro affectations
I was a hopeful in rooms like this
When I was working cheap
It's an old romance- the Boho dance
It has not gone to sleep.'

16. The Same Situation (Court And Spark)

'You've had lots of lovely women
Now you turn your gaze to me
Weighing up the beauty and the imperfection
To see if I'm worthy
Like the church
Like a cop
Like a mother
You want me to be truthful
Sometimes you turn it on me like a weapon though
And I need your approval.
Still I sent up my prayer
Wondering who was there to hear
I said "Send me somebody
Who's strong, and somewhat sincere..'

17. Edith And The Kingpin (The Hissing Of Summer Lawns)

'Edith in his bed
A plane in the rain is humming
The wires in the walls are humming
Some song- some mysterious song
Bars in her head
Being frantic and snowblind
Romantic and snowblind
She says- his crime belongs
Edith and the kingpin
Each with charm to sway
Are straing eye to eye
They dare not look away
You know they dare not look away.'

18. Passion Play- When All The Slaves Are Free (Night Ride Home)

'Magdalene is trembling
Like the washing on the line
Trembling and gleaming
Never before was a man so kind
Never so redeeming.
Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Now you tell me
Who're you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?

19. Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (Don Juan's Reckless Daughter)

'I come from open prarie
Given some wisdom and a lot of jive!
Last night the ghost of my old ideals
Reran on channel five
And it howled so spooky for its eagle soul
I nearly broke down and cried
But the split tongued spirit laughed at me
He said "Your serpent cannot be denied"'

20. Chinese Cafe/ Unchained Melody (Wild Things Run Fast)

'Christmas is sparkling
Out on Carol's lawn
This girl of my childhood games
Has kids nearly grown and gone
Grown so fast
Like the turn of a page
We look like our mothers did now
When we were those kid's age
Nothing lasts for long...'

1 comment:

Peter Mooney said...

I would have had "The last time I saw Richard" in there somewhere.