SOME THINGS JUST GET BETTER
WE WERE ACTUALLY RIGHT ABOUT A FEW THINGS
While Many Of Our Youthful
Enthusiasms Seem Lame, Now...
Last night on "Without A Trace," they used a Joni Mitchell song to close the show. Old one. Boy, did Joni sound great! It's nice to know I actually had SOME taste, when I was a kid. I LOVED Joni Mitchell. Not everybody did. Joni was a girl, for one thing. Girls weren't allowed to rock, much, in those days.
The ones who did were, and still remain, curiously, oddballs: Janis Joplin, Gracie Slick, Marianne Faithful, Joan Baez, a few others. Really hated, by some people. Regarded as groupies to their own, or other bands. Too soft, too sweet, too serious, too something. Oh, yeah, female. But I liked that, pervert that I was. Something about a woman's voice.
Especially a good songwriter. Sure, there's lots of them, now. But back then, it was pretty much just Joni. Album after album, she cut her own path through the musical woods. Most people couldn't follow her: Folk to country to rock to blues to jazz to classical to world to soul to spirituals to folk, with lots of side trips. Interesting girl, that Joni. Always wished I'd known her, personally. Intimately...
Something about a woman's beautiful voice. You have to go a while without hearing one at all, ever, to really appreciate it, I think. So different, from a man's voice: Even today, when men and women sound so much more alike than they used to, even young girls and boys...
You don't hear the high, breathy, Marilyn Monroe sort of feminine voice much, any more. Was it artificial, or is today's deeper female voice the put-on? Interesting to watch gender roles actually change, even physically, in one lifetime. Makes you wonder how much our evolution might be subject to social forces.
But I wasn't thinking about that, when I listened to Joni Mitchell's beautiful voice. Some words took on a whole new meaning, just because of the way she sang them. So rich, so full of emotion, so wise, so sensitive, so full of life, and joy, and innocense, and sadness, and experience.
Like Blake with a guitar: What she could do with our language. Even one word. This is to sing. Go listen. When she rhymes tomorrow and sorrow, see what you hear in her voice. When she sings the word "born," see what the word means to you. When she sings "older"... Well, wait till you're older.
JONI MITCHELL LINKS:
"Joni Mitchell Interview"
"The Joni Mitchell Homepage"
"PBS: A Living Language: Joni Mitchell"
"CBC: A Woman of Heart and Mind: The Life and Times of Joni Mitchell: Video"
"BBC -- Music -- Artist Profiles -- Joni Mitchell -- Listen"
"ALL MUSIC GUIDE: Biography & Discography"
"Buy Music Artist Direct"
"Buy Music Through Joni's Site"
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