Monday, May 2, 2011

Flower Girl

People either love her or hate her. Or, that's how I've noticed it usually goes. Her being Joni Mitchell, the famed 1970s Canadian songstress who captivated the world with her flower-child folk and dreamy choral croons. During an age of both classic electric-driven rock and spacey folk tunes - Mitchell still managed to bring something unique to the table with her. A collection of honest and experimental albums that felt and sounded like everything an artist should be - musically curious and riveting, a painter on the side and an assertively influential female voice behind the sound.

Judging from that description, I guess you can tell that I am on the "loving her" side of this spectrum. And, I really feel strongly about the greatness of this song. "The Last Time I Saw Richard", a classic Mitchell piece as heard on her timelessly famous album Blue (1971), is supposedly written about her tempestuous and short marriage to Chuck Mitchell, of whom she refers to as Richard throughout the song. Mitchell's coined flowing and harmonic piano is both dark and sweet, rising and falling - always drawing you a little closer to the story. Her hurried narrative is scattered, high-pitched and plummeting at the same time.  The recollection is sung in an acrobatic and falsetto manner - a perfectly chaotic voice while she vents and sorts through the encounter in her own head, through the song.

"Richard, you haven't really changed, I said/ It's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head/ You got tombs in your eyes, but the songs you punched are dreaming/ Listen, they sing of love so sweet, love so sweet/ When you gonna get yourself back on your feet?"


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