Joni Mitchell
For the Roses


4.0
excellent

Review

by shibole USER (1 Reviews)
December 30th, 2014 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A wonderfully overlooked part of Joni's exquisite catalogue.

In 1972 Joni Mitchell released the follow up to her highly acclaimed "Blue". Blue is an album famed for its lyrical sincerity concerning issues deeply personal to Joni's life. On "For the Roses" Joni offers an emotionally much more subdued album. Lyrically her album deals with her cynical approach to the music industry ("For the Roses", "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio"), the ills of capitalism ("Banquet") as well as detaching herself and narrating others' stories ("Cold Steel and Blue Fire"). This creates an atmosphere that is perhaps more distant and not as accessible as Blue, but Joni's wonderful songcraft carries this extremely strong album nonetheless.

In particular the arrangements on the album are sublime. The aforementioned "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire" is a particular high. It features subdued guitar, bass and drums with a soprano saxophone wailing over the top - somewhat blurring the lines between cheese and tastefulness - with a funky wah-wah guitar lingering in the background. The song's climatic moments are underpinned with a wonderful synth glissando that gives the song an almost pornographic quality perfectly suited to the grimy heroin addiction over which Joni is lamenting. Many of the songs follow this restrained approach to arrangement, often with Joni playing guitar or piano and then accompanied with winds. In particular the arrangements on "Let the Wind Carry Me" and "Judgment of the Moon and Stars", with their extended structures and orchestral flourishes, foreshadow some of the expert orchestration to be found on Joni's subsequent works. As such I consider them to be some of the more expansive and stronger songs on the album

Joni's musicality on the album is of an exceptionally high quality. She explores interesting but subtle shifts of time throughout ("Banquet", "Blonde in the Bleachers"). Her use of rubato in "Lesson in Survival" is glorious. Her chord progressions are always interesting. Her guitar and piano playing sets the bar for singer-songwriters of today - clich├ęs and all. That's to say the oft-maligned left-hand bare-fifth piano arpeggios are perhaps a bit too present, but we can forgive here this one blemish.

In many ways, Joni Mitchell's 1972 album For the Roses gets overlooked by the towering presence of the two giants sitting either side in her discography. However the album provides some of Joni's most underrated work and is a worthy part of Joni's catalogue - especially as part of her staggering chain of achievements between 1971 and 1976.

Recommended tracks - "Cold blue steel and sweet fire"
"Let the wind carry me"
"Electricity"
"Judgment of the moon and stars (Ludwig's tune)"


user ratings (92)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
shibole
December 30th 2014


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First review - amazed sputnik doesn't have a review for this! any criticisms/feedback would be dandy.

menawati
December 30th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice job - need to revisit this record

NorthernSkylark
December 30th 2014


9037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah me too, this and summer lawns

Digging: Sufjan Stevens - Mystery of Love

menawati
December 30th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that one too, feel a joni binge coming on

shibole
December 30th 2014


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea, Summer Lawns is her true masterpiece in my opinion. Musically, it is absurdly complex while being beautiful/experimental/heartfelt.

NorthernSkylark
December 30th 2014


9037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

blue*

Ryus
December 30th 2014


16623 Comments


idk this might just be me but "wonderfully overlooked" is kind of weird phrasing

otherwise, great first review dude

NorthernSkylark
December 30th 2014


9037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds like something a hipster would say yeah, but then again

maybe he's just a jeepster for our love

JamieTwort
January 5th 2015


26988 Comments


Haven't heard this one but Blue is just the best thing ever.

NorthernSkylark
March 25th 2015


9037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but he's just a slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavee

to barangrill

NorthernSkylark
March 25th 2015


9037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

her vox is perfect on this album

doctorjimmy
January 22nd 2016


386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

excellent album, even if it has some filler on it that mar the experience a bit ;) nice write up, too

hamid95
August 18th 2017


597 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's been taking a while warming up to a more matured Joni, but the arrangements really are great on this. Lyrically I sometimes find it a bit lacking, though; especially with the motifs on "Electricity".



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