Song of the Day #4,624: ‘Good Friends’ – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell continued her ill-advised exploration of 80s pop with 1985’s Dog Eat Dog, an album considered her worst by many fans.

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.

Lyrically, Mitchell got away from her usual confessional style and turned her attention to world affairs. She attacks Ronald Reagan and corporate America, and even has a song titled ‘Ethiopia’ about that country’s famine. At times, Dog Eat Dog plays like a parody of an 80s protest album.

In a pattern I’ve noticed on a number of Mitchell’s albums, she leads off with the best track. Michael McDonald joins her on ‘Good Friends,’ a song that was accompanied by a cheesy animated video (in which Mitchell’s husband appears).

She seems happy. For the sake of her music, I hope that didn’t last.

I have to come and see you
maybe once or twice a year
I think nothing would suit me better
than some downtown atmosphere
In the dance halls and the galleries
Or betting in the OTB
Synchronized like magic
Good friends you and me

The sun goes down in Jersey
Rises over Little Italy
We could talk it up
‘Til the block gets up
Swapping stories
Sitting around in some all night zoo
Watching it run like a movie
Synchronized like magic
Good friends you and me

No hearts of gold
No nerves of steel
No blame for what we can
and cannot feel

But now it’s cloak and dagger
Walk on eggshells and analyze
Every particle of difference
Gets like mountains in our eyes
You say “You’re unscrupulous!”
You say “You’re naive!”
Synchronized like magic
Good friends you and me

No hearts of gold
No nerves of steel
No blame for what we can
and cannot feel

Sometimes change comes at you
like a broadside accident
There is chaos to the order
Random things you can’t prevent
There could be trouble around the corner
There could be beauty down the street
Synchronized like magic
Good friends you and me

No hearts of gold
No nerves of steel
No blame for what we can
and cannot feel
No nerves of steel
No hearts of gold
No blame for what we can and
can’t control

Good friends you and me
Good friends you and me

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,624: ‘Good Friends’ – Joni Mitchell

  1. Amy says:

    Yikes. Admittedly, I felt similarly when Taylor released Reputation and grew to love most of the songs on that album. Still, it’s a lot to swallow when a beloved singer songwriter turns her back on the style that made her beloved in the first place. Wonder what William Blake poem she thinks this is. 😜

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    So far, I’m feeling pretty good about jumping off the Joni Mitchell bandwagon at after Court and Spark. Despite my defense of the 80s yesterday, I know that decade caused stumbles from formerly great artists like Kenny Loggins, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, etc., but at least they scored hits and made money from those efforts. I didn’t even know Mitchell had waded in these waters and kinda wish I still didn’t know.

  3. andrea katz says:

    Nischt git (not good)

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