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Turbulent Indigo

Joni Mitchell

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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: 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...
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