Joni Mitchell 'Shine' review

Joni Mitchell - Shine

Joni Mitchell's latest album 'Shine' has thankfully fallen into my hands and I've been taking my time, savoring her songs for this review. 'Shine' is an emotional album. The lyrics and the messages within may be harsh for the optimistic listener, but as a Joni Mitchell fan, it's fortunate to be able to join her on her lyrical and instrumental journey in the year 2007.

'Shine' opens with "One Week Last Summer", a gorgeous instrumental track that includes a wonderfully mixed piano, sax solo and full harmonies sure to make mouths water. I wondered why she may have chosen to open the album with an instrumental song, but after digging around found the explanation on her website.

On "This Place", the sweet cries of a pedal steel guitar, one of my favorite instruments, is a welcome addition to Joni Mitchell's eclectic use of instrumentation. It intertwines with the sadness of the lyrics, about the beauty and the destruction of "this land".

I can see how difficult it would be for Joni Mitchell not to write about what's going on around her in today's world. "If I Had A Heart" is a song that songwriters are made for. Mitchell sings about the state of the planet with a message of despair.

One thing I really love about Joni Mitchell's singing is not only her recognizable voice, but it's her phrasing within a song. She has one of the most percussive voices out there and "Hana" is a perfect example of trademark Joni along with calypso beats and harmonies.

Her voice in "Bad Dreams Are Good" is reminiscent of Billie Holiday and throughout the album I had thoughts of Joan Armatrading. It's great to hear the new version of "Big Yellow Taxi" which, once again, features her brilliant vocal phrasing along with beautiful harmonies, a cool rhythmic guitar and sparse, staccato instruments.

'Shine' is a daring and honest piece of art produced and shared by Joni Mitchell. Whether the lyrics are read alone or along with the album, her talent shines through as a true poet, singer, musician and storyteller.

Buy Joni Mitchell - 'Shine' on

'Shine' lyrics on Joni Mitchell's website
Joni Mitchell Official Website

By: Jenny May - Band Weblogs

Related: Watch Joni Mitchell performing "California" on the BBC
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About Jenny May

Jenny May is the founder of Band Weblogs. Based in Oxford, England (originally from New England), Band Weblogs was created in 2005. With a passion for music, Jenny May has performed with bands in the US and the UK, her music has appeared in films, she was a vocal coach for the Yamaha Rock School and has worked on music projects with musicians such as Jon Fishman (Phish), Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots) and Cisco Adler (Shwayze). Jenny is currently writing music commentary and reviews for Band Weblogs and writing, recording and performing music with songwriter and musician Dave Tommo.
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2 Responses to Joni Mitchell 'Shine' review

  1. Steve says:

    I think I need more time to take this one in. I'm a big fan of Joni Mitchell, but I wish she'd just leave those annoying brass outburst off the record!

  2. Patrick says:

    I love much of Joni's work over the years. I can't believe, yesterday on, they had this thing about older artists, which had some deplorable comments about Joni Mitchell as well as Elton John, Keith Richards, etc. Something to the extent that she hadn't made a good record in 30 years or something. Someone needs to slap some sense into these people.

    I am glad Joni did go on making records. I would not have liked being deprived of songs like "Passion Play", "Come in from the Cold", "Two Grey Rooms" (i love this one), "Sunny Sunday", and the list goes on. I love those songs. Some songs are sad, others are more contemplative and mystical. Try to find an honest and real sad song these days! I love the fact that she is real and sings about what is real to her.

    Thank you, Joni. "Shine", the song, reminds me a lot of "Taming the Tiger", which is a style I like. I'm not a fan of jazz, and so even though Joni does have a lot of jazz influence, I like it more when she waxes a little more symphonic or expansively feeling type of making music and singing. To me it is like the jazziness sometimes takes away from the deep feeling that a poetic story teller sometimes comes to. This is why I like songs like Grey Rooms which are more calm and less 'spikey'. But that is of course just me. She can be such a soothing story teller, and I love that about her.

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