Continuing my exploration of Joni Mitchell’s career, I’ve arrived at her sixth album, 1974’s classic Court and Spark. This remains Mitchell’s most popular album. It reached #1 in her native Canada and #2 in the United States.
This is also the first album where Mitchell utilizes the vocal tic that long turned me off of her music. On several of these tracks, she slides her voice in a way that reminds me of Dory’s whalespeak in Finding Nemo and totally loses me.
I have to admit, I feel a little bit guilty about this one. Joni Mitchell is a legend by any definition who has inspired countless artists over the years, including many I hold near and dear. She is a gifted poet and a peerless songwriter, nothing less than an American treasure.
But I just can’t stand listening to her. Both her voice and her manner of singing are off-putting to the point of annoyance.
I want to get past that, because lord knows I’ve scoffed at that argument for disliking Bob Dylan over the years. It seems like such a silly reason to avoid such a talent. But we’re talking about music here… you have to listen to it. And if the actual listening isn’t any fun, it kind of defeats the purpose.