January 27, 2012

Music break: Joni et cetera

I loved this when I was fifteen:

I think it's held up pretty well. But more than anything else from that time, I loved Joni Mitchell's album Blue.

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  1. "Hey farmer farmer
    Put away that D.D.T. now
    Give me spots on my apples
    But leave me the birds and the bees
    Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you've got
    Till it's gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot"

    Give her spots on her apples and 50 million African children dead of malaria (Please!), but she likes them birds and bees and never parks her car.

    No wonder the taxi took her old man away.

    1. I think what you're saying to Joni is shut up and sing.

      Then there's "All I Want," posted above. Tacked on to what was for me very evocative expressions of love --

      "I want to knit you a sweater,
      I want to write you a love letter
      I want to make you feel better"

      -- was the kicker, which I didn't quite understand at age 15 or 16, but that I knew was a foundational principle of the free love generation:

      "I want to make you feel free"

      It told us that love, no matter how domestic and committed it makes one feel (wanting to knit sweaters, even!) is subject to the call of "freedom." "Feeling free" comes first. We've seen how that has played out.

    2. Mitchell was a huge talent, and I don't blame anybody for liking her. I just wonder how things will pan out for her on Judgement Day.

      BIG YELLOW TAXI was her biggest hit, lots of radio play. Now, did it popularize the idea of DDT as a dirty word, or was it already so thought of in that way that she was just pushing a soothing button? I hope for her sake that her song was following the culture more than it was leading it - Rachel Carson's book wasn't all that widely read, so I wonder.

      I'm sure she had the best of intentions, like lots of people who've colluded in ripping apart poor American families by subsidizing fatherlessness with taxpayer money. I don't think good intentions will keep people from a thumbs-down on Judgement Day, though - God gave us brains to reason with.

      And you're right, she also confused license with freedom. Knitting sweaters for hubby and whitewashing the picket fence for wifey can set you free like no selfish pursuit can ever do.


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