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Turbulent Indigo

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Album Review

Joni Mitchell returned to the relatively spare style of albums like Hejira and her early folk collections on Turbulent Indigo, emphasizing her acoustic guitar strumming and singing on a series of songs that detail the political and social discontent she had previously explored on Dog Eat Dog and Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm. In the brief opener, "Sunny Sunday," a woman tries to shoot out a streetlight with a pistol and misses every night, a metaphor for the individual's futile struggle against civilization, and Mitchell repeats much the same message in songs like "Sex Kills," a generalized criticism of everything from lawyers to the hole in the ozone layer; "Turbulent Indigo," which describes the inability of people to understand artists; "Last Chance Lost," which treats romantic disappointment; and "Not to Blame," about spousal abuse. The low-key music and restrained vocals stand in contrast to the lyrics — over and over, Mitchell's imagery refers to guns and violence. Turbulent Indigo provides a disturbing view of modern life made all the more compelling by its calm presentation.

Biography

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

Genre: Rock

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

No female artist better typified the singer/songwriter movement of the '70s than Joni Mitchell, though her public image as the serious, sensitive woman with a guitar shortchanged her abilities, ambitions, and accomplishments. Mitchell's gift for writing personal, folk-inspired songs about the thorny side of life and love was inarguable (particularly on albums like 1970's Ladies of the Canyon and 1971's Blue), but Mitchell also brought the same smarts and eloquence to glossy pop on her commercial...
Full bio

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