Fans accustomed to Joni's soaring soprano and the spare acoustic settings of her folk-rock albums are in for a shock. Here her voice has dropped an octave or so, and she sings 10 tunes from an earlier pop era (as well as two originals) as torch songs, in a husky, smoke-cured alto. With phrasing that evokes a latter-day Billie Holiday, Mitchell covers such Lady Day numbers as "You're My Thrill" and "You've Changed," a desolate love-gone-dry song made sweet by accompanist Wayne Shorter's tender saxophone. In places, however, the melodramatic, string-heavy orchestrations featured on tracks like "Stormy Weather" make the songwriter, long known for her sly deconstructions of pre-rock pop styles, sound more like the kind of ermine-and-pearls lounge crooners her parents might have swooned for. While just such an overripe arrangement makes a new version of her own 1971 impressionistic barroom blues "A Case of You" (from Blue) sound sentimental, the album highlight is a richly textured reinvention of the title tune, one of Mitchell's classic compositions. A pop hit for Judy Collins in 1968, the song is rendered here as a melancholy, middle-aged woman's rumination on the mysteries of love.
Bottom Line: Folk icon tries on a new old style.
This article has been viewed 1,994 times since being added on March 12, 2016.
Copyright protected material on this website is used in accordance with 'Fair Use', for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s). Please read Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.
Comment using your Facebook profile, or by registering at this site.
You must be registered and log in to add a permanently indexed comment.