This song has everything you want from a Belle and Sebastian tune: jaunty acoustic guitar, strings, a trumpet solo, lyrics about a lovelorn loser. It also lets band member Stevie Jackson take over for Stuart Murdoch on vocals, which he does a couple of times per album with great results.
Joni Mitchell’s 15th studio album was her first to win a Grammy (though she had won twice before for performances of individual songs). 1994’s Turbulent Indigo picked up the award for Best Pop Album, besting Madonna, Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox and the Eagles.
This album feels like a throwback to Mitchell’s great 70s work, even if it never hits those highs. It sounds great and features some memorable tracks, especially in its superior first half.
In fact, 14 albums in, I’m currently ranking Night Ride Home among Mitchell’s top five. This is a beautiful, rich album steeped in nostalgia. And it finds Mitchell back in her comfort zone of piano and acoustic guitar, as the glitzy 80s production gives way to a much more palatable 90s sheen.
The third and final of these, 1988’s Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, closed out the decade on a slightly higher note than its two predecessors, but it is still a far cry from the heights of the early 70s. This is a decade best forgotten, with output only a superfan could love.
For the first time she shared production duties, with husband Larry Klein as well as Mike Shipley and Thomas Dolby. Dolby contributed synths and excessive sampling, doubling down on the New Wave sound that proved such a weird fit. Mitchell doesn’t play guitar on a single track.