I didn’t know what to expect when I embarked on this monthlong exploration of Joni Mitchell’s discography.
I knew no more than a handful of her songs very well and had zero knowledge of the ebbs and flows of her 40+ year career. I understood that she is an iconic singer-songwriter who inspired a generation of artists, but I didn’t know exactly how or why.
After dozens of hours listening to every one of Mitchell’s studio albums, I now have a pretty well-formed picture of her wild path. But I still don’t know exactly what to make of it. It is certainly a far more unpredictable and uneven journey than I imagined.
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.
Former Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker put out his country album Learn to Live in the middle of 2008, so it’s not really in the same category as the other albums I’m discussing this week (all of which had ’09 releases). But there’s no harm in getting it on record.
Rucker has had an impressive second act, landing this album and its first three singles at #1 on the country charts, no mean feat in general but even more impressive as he’s the first black man to make that kind of impact in country music since Charley Pride. I’m almost entirely unfamiliar with Pride, but a quick scan of his biography shows what great company Rucker is in.
Yesterday’s post might give the impression that music hasn’t played an important role in my relationship with my wife. That’s far from the case. So I’m dedicating the next five days to songs that are inexorably tied to our courtship.
Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Fear came out a year before I met Alex, but I’ll forever associate it with the summer of ’92.