A Consideration of Joni Mitchell On Her Birthday

Today, November 7, is Joni Mitchell’s birthday, and to celebrate, Alex Macpherson has written a cool tribute for The Guardian.

Macpherson’s essay begins:

When it comes to confidence in one’s own talents, few can touch Joni Mitchell. When asked about a new generation of folk singers in 1990, she responded: “I don’t hear much there, frankly. When it comes to knowing where to put the chords, how to tell a story and how to build to a chorus, most of them can’t touch me.”

There was an irony to her entirely justified ego, though. It is her insistence on undercutting truisms and mythologies that makes her commentary so biting and her confessionals so piercing. What compels Blue, Mitchell’s 1971 masterpiece, is not so much raw honesty as the scientific precision with which she dissects herself – setting what she wants to believe against what she actually believes. It’s fitting that the album ends in a cynic’s stalemate: on ‘The Last Time I Saw Richard,’ she crafts a conversation in which the narrator and her former friend are both correct about each other and also lying to themselves.

For more head to The Guardian.

Meanwhile, give “The Last Time I Saw Richard” a listen:

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael has had three novels published that comprise the "Freak Scene Dream trilogy": "True Love Scars," "The Flowers Lied" and "Untitled" which can be ordered here. His new book, "Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey," can be pre-ordered from HoZac Books. In November Backbeat Books will publish "Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg," which can be be pre-ordered here.

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