I am revisiting Joni. which means: listening to Blue nonstop, listening to Clouds occasionally, reading that fabulous Zadie Smith article that sums up what hearing Joni brings:
This is the effect that listening to Joni Mitchell has on me these days: uncontrollable tears. An emotional overcoming, disconcertingly distant from happiness, more like joy—if joy is the recognition of an almost intolerable beauty. It’s not a very civilized emotion. I can’t listen to Joni Mitchell in a room with other people, or on an iPod, walking the streets. Too risky. I can never guarantee that I’m going to be able to get through the song without being made transparent—to anybody and everything, to the whole world. A mortifying sense of porousness.
I now can hear Joni without crying. I can hear it in an state of awe and amusement without the sadness – not always, but most times. and I believe that’s progress. slow steps. I’ve been months away from Joni, and I missed her, but I also knew that I would not be able to listen to her without thinking of my past relationship – what I needed was some distance from various things, including her.
here are some random thoughts on three of her songs I’ve been hearing the most lately:
A Case of You was our song. nowadays, I can listen to my favorite lyric part of it [You said, “Love is touching souls” / Surely you touched mine / ‘Cause part of you pours out of me / In these lines from time to time] with a mixed feeling of bliss and relief – an enchantment I previously only felt when thinking of us and immediately connected to the song. when I could not feel both of these things for us, I couldn’t listen to the song either. now, thankfully, I can feel other kinds of bliss and relief.
Both Sides Now is a tune I’ve grown into, especially now, because to me its message is that we don’t know anything (whether it’s referring to clouds or love, depending if it’s the 1969 or 2000 version). I guess if it was a different time, I would see it as a sad song – “why bother?”. Nowadays, however, I feel it’s a positive message, one that says nothing is constant/lasts forever. And that’s a good thing: the bad goes away, the good goes too, but in order to better things come – “something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day”.
All I Want is my favorite Joni song (if I HAD to pick a favorite). The thing about this one is that, for me, it describes everything I look for in a relationship (romantic or not). It’s about growing together, being strong, laughing, belonging, feeling alive, dancing. “All I really really want our love to do is to bring the best in me and in you too”. But most of all “want to be the one that you want to see” – because in order to have a relationship with anyone, you have to really see them for who they are and who they are trying to be. This is what Joni has always given me.