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Music / Hejira

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I'm porous with travel fever/But you know I'm so glad to be on my own/Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger/Can set up trembling in my bones.
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Hejira, released in 1976, is Joni Mitchell's eighth studio album. Mitchell wrote the majority of the songs on a car trip from Maine to Los Angeles. Like her other albums that she released after 1974's Court And Spark in the '70s, it got mixed reviews on release but in the years since it has become recognized as one of Mitchell's highlights.

In the concert documentary The Last Waltz, Mitchell sings opening track "Coyote" with The Band.

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Tracklist

Side One
  1. "Coyote" (5:01)
  2. "Amelia" (6:01)
  3. "Furry Sings the Blues" (5:07)
  4. "A Strange Boy" (4:15)
  5. "Hejira" (6:42)
Side Two
  1. "Song for Sharon" (8:40)
  2. "Black Crow" (4:22)
  3. "Blue Motel Room" (5:04)
  4. "Refuge of the Roads" (6:42)

Refuge of the Tropes:

  • Call-Back: "Furry Sings The Blues" references "Big Yellow Taxi":
    History falls to parking lots and shopping malls
  • Driven to Suicide: From "Song for Sharon":
    A woman I know just drowned herself
    The well was deep and muddy
    She was just shaking off futility
    Or punishing somebody.
  • Epic Rocking: "Song for Sharon" runs 8-9 minutes.
  • Face on the Cover: Mitchell faces the camera on an icy backdrop, a picture of a road projected on her coat.
  • Manchild: "A Strange Boy":
    What a strange boy
    He still lives with his family
    Even the war and the navy
    Could not bring him to maturity.
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  • Nice Hat: Joni wears a beret on the cover.
  • One-Man Song: "Coyote", "Furry Sings the Blues", "A Strange Boy".
  • One-Woman Song: "Amelia", "Song for Sharon"
  • Singer Namedrop: "Blue Motel Room"
    I hope you'll be thinking of me
    Because I'll be thinking of you
    While I'm traveling home alone
    Tell those girls that you've got Joni
    She's coming back home.
  • Special Guest:
    • Weather Report bassist Jaco Pastorius plays bass on four tracks.
    • Neil Young provides the harmonica on "Furry Sings the Blues".
  • Those Wily Coyotes: Joni's lover on "Coyote" is nicknamed "coyote" because of his trickster/fool tendencies.
  • Wanderlust Song: Much of the album - whose title comes from the Arabic word for "journey" - is given over to songs about travel. That said, feelings of homesickness arise on songs like "Black Crow" and "Blue Motel Room".
  • The X of Y: "Refuge of the Roads"
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