Review #3: Blue, Joni Mitchell

Karla Clifton
3 min readJan 6, 2021

#3: Blue, Joni Mitchell

My favorite thing about music is that you always remember the first time you hear it. That’s the double-edged sword of this project: I’ll always associate certain albums with certain arduous parts of my road trip.

For instance, right around the start of Blue, I realized that there was too much snow on the hood of my car when my wiper fluid stopped working, as I drove on the snowy highway, my windshield growing opaque with grime. Then the windshield wiper on my passenger’s side fell off, lodging itself into the snow.

I pulled off the highway into a dirt-road town on the prairie to examine the issue, muddying my threadbare sneakers and sweats. Two pinpricks of blue pierced the mini snowbank. I scraped off all the snow as best I could, then tried to reattach the bit that had fallen off. But my hands are tiny, everything was covered in snow, and I had ten more hours on the road that day.

Finally I threw the remnants of the wiper into my car, made sure that the wiper fluid was freed from snow, and decided to keep plugging away. I didn’t need to see out that side of the windshield anyway. Surely this wouldn’t come back to haunt me later.

Anyway, Joni Mitchell was playing this whole time.


“Carey” — This is the first time on the album that I really jammed to. I’ll say it, though: Joni Mitchell has peanut butter mouth. Everything she says sounds like luxurious nonsense to me.

“California” — This was the song I liked most. RS talks about her “octave-leaping” voice, which is really the best way to put it.

“River” — There is a secret Christmas song on this Joni Mitchell album! If lines like I’m gonna make a lot of money and quit this crazy scene are allowed to be in Christmas songs.


“My Old Man” — Maybe I would have been more into this song if it was later on the album, but it’s song number two, and it takes me at least three Joni Mitchell songs to acclimate.

“Little Green” — Apparently this song has a lovely story behind it (it’s about the daughter Joni Mitchell gave up for adoption) so it’s too bad I hate it.


Yes. Yes, I’ll say it. This Joni Mitchell album is not the 3rd best album of ALL TIME. Yeah, yeah, it’s moving and rapturous and blah blah blah, Joni Mitchell is the Anne Sexton of folk music, she has the voice of an angel and an album cover straight from Picasso’s blue period. But honestly she’s a little slow for me. And anyway, the 3rd best album of all time is God Ween Satan: The Oneness, by Ween, an album which didn’t make RS’s precious list at all.

Review #2: Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys

Review #4: Songs In The Key Of Life, Stevie Wonder