THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS (Asylum), Joni Mitchell
Could a new Joni Mitchell Album really be anything less than extraordinaire!
Of course not.
This is Joni's first studio record in two years and, as if it needed to be confirmed, the new collection shows once again that her depths - both poetic and musical - are unfathomable.
Much of it is a gentle anti-suburbia protest. The title cut captures that personal emptiness which is always associated with suburban affluence: He gave her a room full of Chippendale, That nobody sits in, Still she stays with a love of some kind, It's the lady's choice, The hissing of summer lawns.
"Harry's House - Centerpiece", a Johnny Mandel/Joe Hendricks composition, again brings out the despair of the people "molded to middle-class circumstance": She is lost in House and Gardens, He's caught up in Chief of Staff.
Joni's love of France is shown again, too, with "In France They Kiss on Main Street", a spirited tribute in Free-Man-in-Paris style. Graham Nash, David Crosby and James Taylor do background vocals on this cut, and Jeff Baxter helps out on electric guitar.
Three songs stand out as typical Joni Mitchell melancholy sweet-rockers - "Edith and the Kingpin", "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow" and "Shades of Scarlet Conquering" (yes - O'Hara, with Magnolias and Southern charm); and two as unique in the rock spectrum - "The Jungle Line", featuring the warrior drums of someone named Burundi, and "Shadows and Light", choir-like, with all voices by Joni.
Drummer and (very) close friend John Guerin is back again, and co-wrote the title song. Larry Carlton does most of the lead guitar work and Joni plays acoustic guitar and piano.
And the cover itself is almost worth the price of the the [sic] record. Hailed as the album cover of the year, it was conceived and drawn by Joni herself. Together with the treasures inside - C'est magnifique!
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