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Taming the Tiger   Print

by Dave Veitch
Calgary Sun
September 28, 1998

Joni Mitchell: Mitchell is not a fan of Top-40 radio, apparently. "Every disc a poker chip / Every song just a one-night stand," she gripes on the title track of her first album in four years. Naturally, it's not kids' stuff. Certainly, songs don't get much more adult than Facelift, with its startlingly frank lyric about returning home for Christmas with her new boyfriend only to face her mother's consternation: "She put blame on him and shame on me / She made it all seem so tawdry ... For God's sake, I'm middle-aged, mama." Most of the other songs are just as personal, though less direct. Stay In Touch is likely about her recent reunion with the daughter she gave up for adoption, while Man From Mars and Love Puts On A New Face is imbued with all the longing and passion of a woman in the first flush of a new romance. Her music has ripened into something as smooth and potent as a fine red wine. Using a guitar synth, which gives the album a glossy yet organic feel, Mitchell arranges complex jazz chords into accessible melodies, topped off by the tootling of soprano saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Far from being a one-night stand, Taming the Tiger is an album with which you can have a long-term relationship. In stores Tuesday.

 

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