.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/03ba18161cddc0bfae47cb5d31328ab0efcfefd7.jpg The Complete Geffen Recordings

Joni Mitchell

The Complete Geffen Recordings

Universal Distribution
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
September 24, 2003

The eighties weren't kind to Joni Mitchell, and the quintessential introspective singer-songwriter of the Sixties and Seventies disliked them right back. In the liner notes to this box set of her four albums released between 1982 and 1991, Mitchell writes, "To be in sync with the times, in my opinion, was to be degenerating both morally and artistically." Mitchell's Achilles' heel, a growing self-righteousness, begins to afflict her art. As she sings in "Man to Man," from 1982's Wild Things Run Fast, "I sure can be phony when I get scared."

During this unkind epoch, Mitchell is sometimes justifiably terrified.But mostly she's simply uneven. Wild is particularly inconsistent: "Chinese Cafe," a vivid adolescent snapshot that builds on the beauty of her Seventies jazziness, abruptly segues into the tacky faux-metal guitars and stiff, Police-inspired rhythms of "Be Cool." Dog Eat Dog employs synth pop's Thomas Dolby to help with the sonic toys of 1985, and many fans consider it misguided — although, in hindsight, its knowing fakeness puts her in the company of techno commentator Laurie Anderson. Her 1988 album Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm retreats from Dog's angularity, replacing risk with celebrity: Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, even Billy Idol. Night Ride Home, from 1991, is smoother still; here the previous era's excesses are stripped away to focus on Mitchell's strengths: sophisticated guitar tunings and harmonics. On gentle remembrances such as "Come In From the Cold," Mitchell comes home.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “You Oughta Know”

    Alanis Morissette | 1995

    This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com