Hark! The Pop Cash Register Rings

by Henry Edwards
New York Times
December 14, 1975

JONI MITCHELL: The Hissing of Summer Lawns: Asylum 7E-1051. This disk gives the dominant impression of being inhabited by women who are "paper wives" with "paper kids" who "paper the wall to keep their gut reactions hid"; who are also given rooms "full of Chippendale/That nobody sits in"; and are told by men that "We walked on the moon/You be polite." These women who mimic the "tenderness" of "sentimental movies" have also been conditioned by the movies to respond favorably to men speaking "Brando-like things."

Mitchell has refused to amplify these feminist perceptions with melody, and so they exist as nothing more or less than cocktail jazz-rock. Nebulous and pretentious, "The Hissing of Summer Lawns" eventually becomes numbing.


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