Review #110: Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell

Karla Clifton
3 min readJun 17, 2021

#110: Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell

The last time I reviewed a Joni album, I was a different person. I accused Joni Mitchell of having “peanut butter mouth.” I didn’t even mention two of the best songs on the album, “A Case of You” and “This Flight Tonight.”

Frankly, I didn’t understand it, I wasn’t ready for it, and I continue to feel guilt about it. It has made me aware of a phenomenon I’ve begun to call the Joni Mitchell Effect. It’s when I don’t connect with an artist or album the first few times I hear it, and then later on I start to become obsessed with that artist. It happened to me with Blue. Whenever I get sick of listening to yet another Top 500 album that I’ve never heard before, I throw on Blue.

Another example: After publishing my review of The Doors (#86), I watched Apocalypse Now. If you’ve seen that recently, you might remember that “The End” opens and closes the movie. I felt so differently about that album after seeing the movie! (I also learned that my mom did a synchronized swim routine to “Touch Me,” which is so cool I had to share.)

So now I’m nervous to share a negative opinion of any album at all, because who knows when this Joni Mitchell Effect will kick in. I said some pretty vicious things about Drake — will I be eating crow soon? It haunts me.

But anyway, I didn’t really care for this Joni Mitchell album, and if I need to rescind my opinion in a few months, so be it.


“Court and Spark” — Her voice goes so low here. Joni really does have the most impressive range ever.

“Help Me” — Really pretty.

“People’s Parties” — God, when I force myself to pay attention to her lyrics I really love these songs.

“The Same Situation” — In the Blue review I said, a little facetiously, that Joni “is the Anne Sexton of folk music.” I mean it earnestly this time!

“Down To You” — Love the unexpected harmonies at the end.

“Raised on Robbery” — I wasn’t ready for this! It’s a rock and roll song! Joni Mitchell says “son of a bitch!”

“Twisted” — This is a cover of a Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross song. No joke, Cheech and Chong sing on this song!


“Free Man In Paris” Apparently this song is about Dave Geffen, a record exec that was friends with her. I hope Joni didn’t buy any of this self-pity! David Crosby and Graham Nash did sing backing vocals on this, which is very cool.


Once again, I’m in the uncomfortable position of having to disrespect Joni Mitchell without really knowing what I’m talking about. I thought it was cool, but none of these songs blow me down the way that Blue blows me down now.

If I have to suggest another one, I’ll choose Mitski’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek, which is both the wildest indie record I’ve ever heard and a Simpsons’ reference.

Review #109: Transformer, Lou Reed

Review #111: Control, Janet Jackson