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Both Sides Now

Joni Mitchell

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Album Review

Ex-husband Larry Klein, who serves as co-producer and musical director, explains in his liner notes that Joni Mitchell intended to tell the story of a "modern" romantic relationship in the songs, most of which come from the '30s and '40s. If so, her concept of a modern relationship is very troubled — most of the selections are unhappy love songs. Vince Mendoza's arrangements — a third of them played by a gigantic 71-piece orchestra, a third by a regular-size orchestra, and a third by a swing-style big band — often suggest the oceanic sweep and serious, melancholy tone of film noir movie music. They also do a lot of Mitchell's work for her. As a singer, she has never had much projection or power, but she is a master of phrasing and tone. Mitchell often sounds like an alternate Billie Holiday, with the breathiness and note decay characteristic of later Holiday, if none of her delayed timing. Both Sides Now is not revelatory in a musical sense, but it does achieve its intention of reconceiving Joni Mitchell as an interpretive singer.

Customer Reviews

Three Songs

This album is worth having for three songs alone -'Answer Me', A Case of You' and 'Both Sides Now'. All guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine. The matured versions of the two self penned songs are all the better for the further experience of the writer and the singer - the voice is amazing, smoky, sensual, weary, inviting, lived in. She can't hit the higher notes like she used to but who cares - I think this is a more beautiful, reflective voice and what songs! Superb.

Social commentary to personal conflicts?

If Joni Mitchell's artistic history is one of social commentary and forthright political statements conveyed through a superior musical talent, then it's unsurprising that she lends her now mature and deliciously beguiling voice to an analysis of the trips, traps and trials of relationships with lovers. Both Sides Now has something for everyone; enough 'told you so' to teach even the most hardened serial love-loser and enough 'but that's love, honey' to justify staying together....no matter what! The luscious arrangements of these all-time classics task Joni with the delivery of a one-shot, perfect vocal every time; she does not disappoint. Whether you are young or old, gay or straight, black or white, in or out of love, wounded or just winded......Miss Mitchell has scored....for Both Sides! Enjoy.

Joni's other side

Having been a huge JM fan for years I was surprised how much I liked this album the first time I heard it, because it is so different to any of her other albums. I do not normally go for a "big sound" background, but classics like Both Sides Now and Stormy Weather suit the production perfectly and also capture the way Joni's voice has mellowed and matured over the years. No longer the rebel, the softening of the music reflects another fine chapter in the JM story and I am sure there are many more to come. Buy it and enjoy!

Biography

Born: 07 November 1943 in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century. Uncompromising and iconoclastic, Mitchell confounded expectations at every turn; restlessly innovative, her music evolved from deeply personal folk stylings into pop, jazz, avant-garde, and even world music, presaging the multicultural experimentation of the 1980s and 1990s by over a decade. Fiercely independent, her work steadfastly resisted the whims of both mainstream...
Full bio

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