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For the Roses

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iTunes Review

Moving away from her folk beginnings, Joni Mitchell delved into fresh instrumental shades and new lyric themes on 1972's For The Roses. This album formed a bridge between the introverted, cathartic songs on Blue and the jazzily playful numbers on Court And Spark. Beyond this, For The Roses has its own distinctive sound, built around Mitchell's acoustic guitar and piano and augmented by sparingly-used woodwinds and electric instruments. Much of the subject matter is melancholy and ruminative, yet never bleak. "See You Sometime," "Woman Of Heart And Mind" and the title track contain some of her most cogent and visually-arresting lyrics. Musically, the album is just as rewarding — "Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire" has an eerie grace, while "Electricity" catches the nervous energy of thwarted love. Mitchell even managed to achieve a pop hit with the slyly seductive "You Turn Me On I'm A Radio." Mitchell's early-to-mid-'70s run of albums are deservedly considered classics of the singer/songwriter genre; For The Roses ranks among the best of the bunch.

Customer Reviews

WWJD (what would Joni do?)

Maybe it's an exaggeration to say Blue and Court and Spark aren't worth checking out, as another reviewer did, but it's no exaggeration to call this Joni's best album. The thing is, Blue sometimes strays into cliche, and Court and Spark can sometimes sound so polished it fails to ring true. The iTunes review calls this album transitional, and that sums it up: For the Roses retains the best musical elements of Blue--like its warm, unpolished sound--while the lyrics have all the maturity and poetry of C&S's. This album and Hejira are Joni's best. Terrific driving music, by the way.

My first exposure to the great Joni Mitchell

This is my favorite Joni Mitchell album. I had heard Joni's hits on the radio in 1974 but it was not until a friend turned me on to this earlier album that I fell in love with her words and music. I remember the first time I heard "See You Sometime" as if it was yesterday. At the time of this album's release, Joni was known for her unusual guitar tunings, but her piano playing is exquisite and soulful. The sparse production and mostly unadorned vocals make every song on this album sound as fresh today as when I first heard them 30 years ago. There is no filler here.

The soul is bared

This is a spectacular piece of poetry and music that has enriched my life since hearing it first in 1974. The description of desire and uncontrolled need in "Cold Blue Steel" really sums up the horrors of addiction, and the emotional isolation of "Lesson in Survival" still haunts me because I really know what Joni means. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, most likely you'll hear something that connects to your life.


Born: November 7, 1943 in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Pop

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...
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