#133: Hejira, Joni Mitchell
We’re hitting our third Joni album. With four albums on the list, not five, she’s taking up a little less than one percent of the total albums. Still, four albums is quite a bit, so we’re going to approach every Joni album with a little bit of caution.
Joni found this word in a dictionary and liked it for both the meaning (refers to a journey) and the “hanging j,” like in Steely Dan’s Aja. She wrote all the music over “a series of road trips” that she took in the mid-seventies.
I love this album cover so much. Is the cloud positioned over her lungs intentionally, because she’s smoking?! Amazing.
“Coyote” — Thank God I’ve listened to so much jazz at this point; otherwise this whole album would have flown straight over my head.
“Amelia” — Like the hexagram of the heavens/ Like the strings of my guitar. The lyrics on this one are so much prettier than on Court and Spark.
“Furry Sings The Blues” — Neil Young plays harmonica on this! Also this is about a Memphis jazz player named Furry Lewis, who was VERY angry that Joni used his name on a song that he hated anyway, and wanted royalties.
“A Strange Boy” — These are such good story-songs — love the realization that she’s with someone childish.
“Hejira” — One of Joni’s musical inspirations on this album was bass player Jaco Pastorius, who plays a bunch of layered bass parts on several songs on this album. This is my favorite one that he’s on.
“Song for Sharon” — Went to Staten Island to buy myself a mandolin. Relatable.
“Black Crow” — Joni Mitchell and electric guitars are a pairing I didn’t know I needed.
“Refuge of the Road” — This one is written about a Buddhist commune in Colorado, where Joni Mitchell apparently kicked her cocaine addiction. Fascinating! Fun fact, that commune is controversial and has been accused of being a cult.
LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:
Nope, I loved all of these.
IS RS FULL OF IT?
Maybe I just didn’t understand Court and Spark, but I think this album is WAY better. It’s edgier, jazzier, and Cheech & Chong are nowhere to be seen.