The new album by Joni Mitchell, For the Roses (Asylum), shows a talented artist again opening up herself in her music. The album can best be summed up as excellent lyrics coupled with interesting music.
The best example of this combination is the song "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire" which musically uses the techniques of overplayed guitar work. The lyrics tell a vignette about heroin: "Red water in the bathroom sink / Fever and the scum brown bowl / Blue steel begging / But it's indistinct / Someone's Hi-Fi drumming Jelly Roll / Concrete concentration camp / Bashing in veins for peace." These excellent images, Joni's soaring voice, and the interesting music make this song superb.
In the song "Let the Wind Carry Me" Joni says that she is "a wild seed" so "let the wind carry me," as she remembers her childhood. Her piano work contributes much to the song, too.
In some songs of the album, it is evident that Joni is talking about one of her old loves, James Taylor, as in the title song of the album: "Remember the days when you used to sit / and make up your tunes for love / And pour your simple sorrow / To the sound hole and your knee / And now you're seen / on giant screens." She is saying that fame is worthless because it is fleeting, but nature is always there and is thus worthwhile.
"See You Sometime" says directly to Taylor: "But you know I'm not after / a piece of your fortune / and your fame / 'Cause I tasted mine / I'd just like to see you sometime."
For the Roses is another excellent album for Joni Mitchell. It is different from her last effort, Blue, in that it is not melancholy, but rather a statement of realistic facts and yearnings. For the Roses combines Joni Mitchell's fine lyrics, her excellent voice which seems to get better every album, and her good musicianship.
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