Song of the Day #3,692: ‘All I Want’ – Joni Mitchell

It’s time for the latest installment of my Decades series, wherein I highlight the albums of a specific year in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. I last wrapped up the ‘zeroes’ by hitting 1970, 1980, 1990 and (earlier this year) 2000. Before that I did the ‘twos,’ starting with my birth year — 1972 — and jumping ahead from there.

Now I turn to the ‘ones’ and kick things off with 1971. As usual, I will count down my own favorite albums from that year before spending a week on widely acclaimed albums of the year with which I am unfamiliar.

Sometimes I have just five favorite albums from a given year, but it turns out 1971 was a banner year for popular music. I was able to pick ten with no problem.

At #10 is an unlikely choice for me, given my general ambivalence to Joni Mitchell. But I feel like I have to give Blue, her fourth and most celebrated album, its due.

I recently featured a track from Blue on Random Weekends and noted that I wasn’t very familiar with the album. I cranked it up to prepare for this week’s posts and was generally impressed. I’ve long had an aversion to Mitchell’s vocals, but they don’t bother me as much here as on other releases. In some places, they’re downright enjoyable.

Several songs on Blue, including ‘California,’ ‘Carey’ and today’s SOTD, are truly special. Those tracks and this album’s place in singer-songwriter history are enough to land it on my list.

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling
Traveling, traveling, traveling
Looking for something, what can it be
Oh, I hate you some, I hate you some, I love you some
Oh, I love you when I forget about me

[Verse 1]
I want to be strong, I want to laugh along
I want to belong to the living
Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive
I want to wreck my stockings in some jukebox dive
Do you want, do you want, do you want to dance with me, baby
Do you want to take a chance
On maybe finding some sweet romance with me, baby
Well, come on
All I really really want our love to do
Is to bring out the best in me and in you too
All I really really want our love to do
Is to bring out the best in me and in you
I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you
I want to renew you again and again
Applause, applause , life is our cause
When I think of your kisses, my mind see-saws
Do you see, do you see, do you see how you hurt me, baby
So I hurt you too
Then we both get so blue

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling
Looking for the key to set me free
Oh, the jealousy, the greed is the unraveling
It’s the unraveling
And it undoes all the joy that could be

[Verse 2]
I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun
Want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater
Want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better
I want to make you feel free
Want to make you feel free
I want to make you feel free

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,692: ‘All I Want’ – Joni Mitchell

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Glad to see you giving Mitchell more of a listen. As someone who can’t really take a voice like Rufus Wainwright’s or Bono’s in large doses, I certainly understand how dislike of a vocal quality can turn you off to an artist, but when the songwriting is really strong, it’s worth trying to acquire a taste for the artist’s vocals.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    This is nice enough but I prefer Bono 😊

  3. Andrea katz says:

    This song makes my soul sing and I love that Laura is equally enthralled. It is joy personified!

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