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YMMV / Joni Mitchell

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  • Anvilicious: A frequent complaint against her is that in The '80s her political and Protest Songs fell victim to this.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Pretty much everything she had done between 1968 - 1976. The fans have also voted Hejira as one of her best album on Mitchell's official website, second only to Blue.
    • The Shadows and Light live album, due to its backing band that includes Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, and others.
  • Broken Base: Fans of her earlier, folkier work vs. her later, jazzier albums. Her 1975-79 albums are hugely divisive.
  • Covered Up: Many of her songs are more commonly remembered by their covered versions.
    • Judy Collins' cover of "Both Sides, Now" was a top 10 hit in 1967.
    • Counting Crows' cover of "Big Yellow Taxi" is still making the rounds on in-store and public radio.
    • "Woodstock" is arguably better known for its rock-flavored cover version by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young than Joni's version.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Fans do not take kindly to the misconception that she's a folk singer.
  • Gateway Series: She's one for female singer-songwriters. Her mid-late '70s period is also a gateway for jazz music, due to her having worked with a number of contemporary jazz musicians, including Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorious, Wayne Shorter and others.
  • Never Live It Down: Her perception as a "confessional" singer-songwriter is based on the highly personal songs she wrote for Blue, a style she abandoned pretty quickly.
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  • Sampled Up: Before Counting Crows had a hit with their cover of "Big Yellow Taxi", the original version was sampled prominently by Janet Jackson for her single "Got 'til It's Gone." Joni receives a "featuring" credit on the song because of it.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: She could easily be mistaken for the wave of Canadian adult alternative female singer-songwriters that popped up in the '90s had she not done it over 20 years before them. A lot of these artists did acknowledge the debt they owed to her. Mitchell was also a lot more musically adventurous than the likes of Alanis Morissette and Sarah McLachlan.
  • Signature Song: "Big Yellow Taxi". The only song most casual listeners can name offhand. Though the heartbreaking use of her newer version of "Both Sides Now" in Love Actually raised its profile quite a bit.
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  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Her albums from the second half of the '70s, in spades. That Don Juan's Reckless Daughter is Björk's favorite album tells you all you need to know about it.
  • Values Dissonance: The cover of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter shows Mitchell in blackface and as a man. The back cover depicts her as a Native American. This would be unthinkable today.
  • Vindicated by History: Her mid-late '70s albums, including The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter and Mingus, alienated her pop fanbase and were trashed by critics, but are now regarded as classics over the years. Björk cited Don Juan's Reckless Daughter as her favorite album. Fans voted Hejira as her second best album on Mitchell's official website.


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