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Music / Blue (Joni Mitchell Album)

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Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on...

Blue is an acclaimed album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, released in 1971 through Reprise Records. It was both a critical and commercial success.

The album was based on her feelings surroundings her break-up with her longtime boyfriend Graham Nash and with James Taylor soon afterwards. In a case of What Could Have Been, two older songs were removed just before its production: "Urge for Going" and "Hunter (The Good Samaritan)", so that they could be replaced by two newer numbers, "All I Want" and "The Last Time I Saw Richard".

Songs from Blue have been covered by artists as diverse as Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Nazareth (yes, those guys from "Love Hurts"), Herbie Hancock, K.D. Lang, Lara Fabian, Tom Barman (dEUS), Sarah Mclachlan, Linda Ronstadt, Blind Guardian, Travis, James Taylor and even Prince.


Side One

  1. "All I Want" (3:32)
  2. "My Old Man" (3:33)
  3. "Little Green" (3:25)
  4. "Carey" (3:00)
  5. "Blue" (3:00)

Side Two

  1. "California" (3:48)
  2. "This Flight Tonight" (2:50)
  3. "River" (4:00)
  4. "A Case of You" (4:20)
  5. "The Last Time I Saw Richard" (4:13)

Blue Tropes:

  • Anti-Christmas Song: "River", despite being one of these and really only mentioning the holiday in passing, has become somewhat of a modern Christmas standard and has been covered often.
  • Bathtub Bonding: "All I Want"
    I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you, I want to renew you again and again
  • Color Motif: Blue expresses "feeling blue". This also explains the color on the album cover.
  • Concept Album: All songs deal with feelings of loss and breakup.
  • Everybody Is Single: "My Old Man".
    We don't need no piece of paper from the city hall keeping us tied and true
  • Face on the Cover: Joni's face in close-up.
  • Foster Kid: "Little Green" is about a daughter Mitchell gave up for adoption in 1965, when she was too poor to financially take care of her. Only in 1993 did the public learn that this story actually happened to her. And for those wondering, mother and child were eventually reunited.
  • Hates Being Alone: A large theme.
  • Home Sweet Home: "California": in which Joni travels to several places on Earth and longs to go back to California. "This Flight Tonight" expresses her regret as she leaves her lover on a flight and wishes to return.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: "Carey" is a "mean old daddy" but Joni thinks he's "out of sight" anyway.
  • One-Man Song: "Carey", "My Old Man".
  • One-Word Title: "Carey", "Blue" and "River".
  • Product Placement:
    • "California".
    There were lots of pretty people there/ reading Rolling Stone, reading "Vogue"
    • "The Last Time I Saw Richard".
    He put a quarter in the Wurlitzer and he pushed
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mitchell provides a shout-out to John Lennon in the following line from California: "Sitting in a park in Paris, France. Reading the news and it sure looks bad. They won't give peace a chance."
    • The line "acid, booze and ass, needles guns and grass, lots of laughs" from the title track was sampled for a bonus track by Mac Dre on his album The Genie of the Lamp (2004).
  • Speak of the Devil: "A Case Of You"
    I'm frightened by the devil
  • Wham Line: "A Case Of You"
    I met a woman
    She had a mouth like yours
    She knew your life
    She knew your devils and your deeds
    And she said
    "Go to him, stay with him if you can
    But be prepared to bleed"
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final lines of "The Last Time I Saw Richard" describe what happened to Richard since her last meeting with him.