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Turbulent Indigo

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Editors’ Notes

Both elegant and angry, Joni Mitchell's Turbulent Indigo (1994) proved to be her best-received release in at least a decade. The album marked a welcome return to the jazz-fusion of 1976's Hejira. Its sounds are liquid and insinuating — Larry Klein's swooning bass, Wayne Shorter's piping saxophone and Mitchell's atmospheric guitar melt over the tracks invitingly. After the music ensnares you, the lyrics prod at your conscience with a cruel edge. A profound discontent with the world flares up in songs like "Sunny Sunday," "Sex Kills" and "Borderline," conveyed in sophisticated verse. Mitchell details stories of sexual hypocrisy ("The MagdaleneLaundries") and domestic violence ("Not To Blame") with an understatement that only heightens their tragedy. Her smoke-seasoned vocals are laden with melancholy and touches of wry humor. There are lighter moments, such as the romantic sketch "Yvette In English" and the gently-grooving "How Do You Stop" (the only song here not written by Mitchell). Significantly, though, she closes with "The Sire Of Sorrow," adopting the persona of a suffering Job. Turbulent Indigo coalesces into something beautiful despite (or maybe because of) its sense of injustice. This Grammy-winning album is a serious-minded work of unflinching intelligence and seething emotion.

Customer Reviews

very rich

Most of Joni Mitchell's work from this era has not been instantly accessible. I shelved Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm, Night Ride Home, and Taming the Tiger and grew to understand and love the music over subsequent listenings. Turbulent Indigo, however, was clear to me from the first listen. The arrangements, the tone, the production, the songwriting, performance and singing are all perfect and so in character for Joni Mitchell. Borderline is "Best Joni Mitchell song ever" -- such a sharp, sharp song with a perfect balance of observation, commentary, and soft scolding over very visual, not overly moody arrangement. This song and this album have taught me a lot about myself. I'm surprised to find I'm the first reviewer for Turbulent Indigo. To me, this is one of the times where all of Joni Mitchell's ideas, experiments, collaborations and the chances she has taken work together perfectly.

Best Pop Album of 1994

Doesn't anyone remember Joni was awarded a Grammy for best Pop album as well as another for best packaging for this album?! A truly outstanding collection of Joni's work. Her social commentaries and criticisms are spot on. Anyone affected by HiV/AIDS cant help but appreciate her take on commercialism with "Sex Kills." She is able to bring all of Van Gogh's suffering and pain boiling to the surface with "Turbulent Indigo." Those poor catholic girls "sentenced to dreamless drudgery" in "The Magdalene Laundries" finally get their voices heard through Joni's song. "Borderline" is universal and relevant. I bleed too, every time I listen to "Not to Blame." The "beauty" is actress Daryl Hannah and the batterer is Jackson Browne. Shame on all who batter women. The lyrics will move you and the music is flawless. You will find yourself listening over and over again. The Grammy was well deserved and long overdue. All of Joni's albums are worth getting. She is truly one of the greatest artists of our lifetime.

Borderline timeless

From the first moment I listened to this song, its plaintive theme of youth lost struck me with awe and understanding. That was more than a decade and a half ago ..."I lay down golden in time...and woke up vanishing." Joni Mitchell's art is astounding...and from the very first...back in the 60s...I felt she was singing just for me...as we all must feel who appreciate her creativity and depth.

Biography

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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