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Joni Mitchell – Hejira (1976)

November 9, 2015


exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

Into the Black Artist #1: Venom

Into the Black Artist #2: Joni Mitchell
(qualifies with the Hejira track, Black Crow)


[Album 434/1001]

Take Your Kid to Work Day.

One of the greatest days of the year, perhaps the greatest, for teachers like me with all grade 9 classes.Hejira_cover

Instead of a day of lessons, Wednesday, November 4th was a glorious day of marking/organizing/planning/report cards/photocopying/cleaning/all the other tasks for which there’s never enough time.

All with Joni Mitchell’s Hejira playing on repeat in the background.


I have little to no idea as to what Joni’s singing about.

There’s something about her wandering delivery, I can’t seem to keep focused on the lyrics.

There’s one moment that stood out (A Strange Boy felt like a Law & Order theme template) but otherwise the album drifted along smoothly.

I’m likely missing out somewhat, as I gather her lyrics are worth hearing; strangely, I feel if I started working hard to listen for more meaning, it would take away from my wholly positive (if not wholly complete) listening experience.

Given its key role in helping me catch up on administrative tasks this week, in my books, Hejira is now firmly entrenched as the sound of getting things done.

And that sounds good to me.

From → 1970s

  1. Good on you for giving this a go! I totally hear you about the lyrics – I tune her out too! haha BAD CANADIANS! Now myself, I’ve never heard this record – I can’t get past Blue, so I haven’t branched out.

    • It happens!
      I wouldn’t recommend reading any interview transcripts as an effort to increase Joni appreciation – in Neil Strauss’ Everybody Loves You When Your Dead, she came across as less than humble!
      I did like Blue though – I’ve got a couple more chances to become more enamoured, she’s got 4 on the 1001!

  2. Court and Spark is a good album of hers. Haven’t heard this one…

    • That’s one of the others on the list! As is hissing of the summer lawns

      • Well it’s available on YouTube in its entirety when you want to listen to it. 🙂

  3. Glad Joni is reported to be feeling better lately!

  4. I love her voice. Sometimes the voice is another instrument. Nice post.

    • I like that idea of the voice as an instrument – I was talking to a friend who joined a new group and I asked, are you a 4 piece? He said, no, guitar, bass, drums, me on vocals.
      That’s 4 pieces, your voice counts in my books!

  5. Other I than Blue, I don’t know anything of Joni’s. I find it hard to tune in to her lyrics – too easily distracted and it all sounded like one very long track. An experience I’ve had when also listening to Jackson Browne!

    • Well said – haven’t heard any Jackson Browne yet, I’m interested to see if I have a similar experience there too!

      • I think For Everyman is a good starting point – an accessible album and certainly the one I’ve enjoyed most.

  6. Haven’t listened to this one in a while, but I think I’ve cracked the way Joni “should” be listened and absorbed, as I had to do a couple of years ago for something. It’s pleasant as background, but I feel you really have to sit with the words at least once or twice. It penetrates your mind quite differently from someone like Bob Dylan, because it’s more mood, more what’s meant between the lines, than the lines themselves. I’m not saying there isn’t that sort of suggestion in Dylan. There’s plenty there, but Joni’s mistress of emotional subtlety and exploration at the same time. Post finding out what she’s singing about, it’s highly conducive to being played in the background (and I mean that with a lot of respect) and she, as an artist, grows on you. Though I don’t think I’ll ever stop being afraid of her.

    • That’s intriguing, I’ve heard that with guitar players (it’s the unplayed notes between the notes that matter) I hadn’t thought of it from the vocalist. I’ve still got Court & Spark to go from the 1001, I’ll try approaching Joni through that lens, I appreciate the suggestion Amrita!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Elvis Presley & Public Enemy – From Elvis in Memphis (1969) and Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (1991) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (1985) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. Joni Mitchell – Court & Spark (1974) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. 1976 | 1001albumsin10years

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