This is an album about time, the trouble with men (they just want to make tracks) and, mostly, love. Love longed for and enjoyed - "solid love," "precious, precious love," "real sweet love." The first song, Chinese Café, is a sad piano-based reflection on the coming of middle age, but, while acknowledging that the wild "birth of rock 'n' roll days" are past and done, Mitchell recalls lingering refrains, and the tune drifts into Unchained Melody, with its still-pertinent plea, "God speed your love to me." The last song is a paraphrase of Corinthians 1:13, which tells of the putting away of childish things, but, for the Bible's more social ideal of charity, Mitchell substitutes "the greatest beauty," love. While the lyrical themes are unified, the musical styles are diverse. The title cut opens with a rush of guitar chords that could have come from Joan Jett. Man to Man is a free-form samba, and (You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care, a Leiber and Stoller 1950s dance tune, and the exuberant Underneath the Streetlight are jukebox jivey. Similarly, the language is loose, less bookish than usual and typified by short vernacular phrases sqch as "We got a chance/Hot dog darlin'." Those who count on Mitchell for poetry may find this album undisciplined and slight. However, for those who can take inspiration from an intelligent woman accepting adulthood and continuing to believe in the power of rock 'n' roll and the possibility of love, "We got a chance/Hot dog darlin'" cannot be anything but a welcome encouragement.-DAVID LIVINGSTONE
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