Song of the Day #4,613: ‘Woman of Heart and Mind’ – Joni Mitchell

A year after the stunning accomplishment of Blue, Joni Mitchell kept up the pace and released her fifth album in five years, 1972’s For the Roses.

This record marks a shift from the confident confessional pop music of Blue. It’s a much more leisurely and laid back album that at times feels like one long song with many movements, rather than a collection of individual tracks. The album shifts between piano and acoustic guitar, but in service of the same blissful vibe.

For the Roses produced only one hit, but it proved to be the biggest of Mitchell’s career to that point. ‘You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio’ was written in response to the record label asking for a hit, and it delivered. A bit of Dylan-esque folk pop, it manages to both stick out on this album and feel right at home.

For the Roses doesn’t jump out at you the way Blue does, but it’s nearly as effective. I’ve seen a lot of fans online naming this as their favorite Mitchell album, and I get it. As a bridge between the folk of her early albums and the jazz experimentation to come, this album occupies an effective sweet spot.

[Verse 1]
I am a woman of heart and mind
With time on her hands
No child to raise
You come to me like a little boy
And I give you my scorn and my praise
You think I’m like your mother
Or another lover or your sister
Or the queen of your dreams
Or just another silly girl
When love makes a fool of me

[Verse 2]
After the rush when you come back down
You’re always disappointed
Nothing seems to keep you high
Drive your bargains
Push your papers
Win your medals
Fuck your strangers
Don’t it leave you on the empty side
I’m looking for affection and respect
A little passion
And you want stimulation-nothing more
That’s what I think
But you know I’ll try to be there for you
When your spirits start to sink

[Verse 3]
All this talk about holiness now
It must be the start of the latest style
Is it all books and words
Or do you really feel it?
Do you really laugh?
Do you really care?
Do you really smile
When you smile?
You criticize and you flatter
You imitate the best
And the rest you memorize
You know the times you impress me most
Are the times when you don’t try
When you don’t even try

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,613: ‘Woman of Heart and Mind’ – Joni Mitchell

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I’ve never even heard or heard of this album, but I guess that’s what these deep dives are for. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

  2. Amy says:

    I, too, knew nothing about this album. I’m especially intrigued to learn about just how prolific Mitchell was during this period in her career. We were all rightly impressed when Taylor Swift turned out back-to-back albums during the pandemic. I wish I’d read some comparisons to this time period in Mitchell’s career, when she was clearly creating and releasing the music she wanted to share when and how she wanted to share it, something far more difficult to do back then. I’m also a sucker for a spite song to a record company making demands. 🙂

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