Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now (Reprise)

Both Sides Now (Reprise)

Joni Mitchell

Both Sides Now (Reprise)

Most of the dozen tracks on Both Sides Now are bona fide classics by jazz or lounge standards, territory often traversed by aging Sixties and Seventies musicians. Like Joni Mitchell, who has not had to make an effort in a long time. As with her peers Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, she has a huge body of work and decades of well-earned notices on which she can and does coast. That said, Both Sides Now comes across dilletantish, which may be good enough for existing fans, but will not win new ones. Her voice was never as singularly lovely as contemporaries Joan Baez or Judy Collins, but it has matured from girlish warbling to a pleasantly cigarette-modulated alto that suits the material well in a piano bar kind of way. The new voice is appealing, but Mitchell doesn't have the lungs of a jazz vocalist (nor does she enunciate like one), producing mixed results. In "Sometimes I'm Happy," the phrase "I hate you" becomes "I hay chew." Still, she doesn't pretend to be Billie Holiday or even Diane Schuur, and it's to her credit that she recognizes those limitations by not straying far from the karaoke path. Among the respectable but unremarkable offerings of "You've Changed," "Stormy Weather," "Don't Worry About Me," and Rodgers and Hart's "I Wish I Were in Love Again," are jazzed-down arrangements of her own classics "Both Sides Now" and "A Case of You." Neither benefit by the reworking, and their limp presence is lost among truly beautiful songs like "You're My Thrill" and "Comes Love." Maybe that's the problem with Both Sides Now: Despite the London Symphony Orchestra on some cuts and a jazz band that features Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock on others, there is no sass, no bite, no jump, no jazz in Joni's jazz.

**

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Sheverb
Chapter One (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Dec. 14, 2018

Texas Platters
Kendall Beard
Here Comes Trouble (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Dec. 14, 2018

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle