Song of the Day #4,630: ‘Man From Mars’ – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell released three albums in the 90s, matching her 80s output. The two decades’ worth of material combined falls short of the number of releases she managed in the 70s.

Whether it was her marriage, her increasing disillusionment with the recording industry, or just the creative slowdown that many artists experience as they get older, the quantity and quality of Mitchell’s work was just never the same after the 70s.

1998’s Taming the Tiger is the first Mitchell album of the 16 I’ve heard so far that bores me. It is similar in tone to its two worthy predecessors, but the songs aren’t as good, the performances aren’t as memorable.

An artist who broke ground from the minute she first strapped on a guitar here sounds like she’s in a rut.

As on many of Mitchell’s post-70s albums, the best songs here come at the beginning. Opener ‘Harlem in Havana’ is a playful jazz number about underage girls who sneak into a racy circus sideshow. And ‘Man From Mars’ is a lost-love lament that gets better when you learn it’s about her cat (who is also pictured on the album’s cover).

This song was written for the 1996 Allison Anders’ film Grace of My Heart, a movie that also featured soundtrack contribution from Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach.

Since I lost you
I can’t get through the day
Without at least one big boo-hoo
The pain won’t go away
What am I gonna do?
Man From Mars
This time you went too far

I fall apart
Everytime I think of you
Swallowed by the dark
There is no center to my life now
No grace in my heart
Man from Mars
This time you went too far

I call and call
The silence is so full of sounds
You’re in them all
I hear you in the water
And the wiring in the walls
Man from Mars
This time you went too far

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,630: ‘Man From Mars’ – Joni Mitchell

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Still feeling good about my decision to stop listening to Mitchell post Court and Spark.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Nice but certainly not compelling

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