Song Of The Day 4/23/2016: Joni Mitchell – “Cactus Tree”

The Randomizer – This was the last song The Randomizer picked for this suddenly fractured week, in exercises conducted last Sunday. At first I was going to postpone this one as well in light of Prince's passing and the remaining thoughts I'm trying to put down for Part 2. But Joni Mitchell was one of Prince's favorite artists -- in fact I think she's the artist he cited in interviews (and "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker") more than any other. Given that last year at this time we were all terrified over the potential of losing Joni herself, this SOTD sort of felt like coming full circle. Well, seeing how this blog operates, it's more like full ellipse.

I find it hard to talk about Joni Mitchell. My friend Sean wrote a very strong book about her album Court and Spark. But for me her music was so personal, even on albums other than the very confessional Blue, that in talking about what she revealed so fearlessly, I'm afraid of divulging more about myself and the friends that I connect her music with, who I remain somewhat protective about in public spaces. And there's a lot of us who feel emotionally protective about Joni as well, though even a casual survey of her entire career would reveal that she wasn't to be trifled with. There was a point it was clear she didn't suffer fools gladly. Of course we can wonder if that's because that crystal-cutting voice from the late '60s and early '70s had absorbed a lot of pain directly via the suffering of fools, and by the time Hejira rolled around she just didn't have anymore available headspace for the SOB's. I'm afraid by talking too much about certain Joni songs -- hell, by even identifying what those songs are -- I'd give too much away. I'd have to explain. That's how much I fall into the experience of a Joni song whenever I hear one. Its truths are like suction.

"Cactus Tree" wasn't a song I was overly familiar with so I think we're safe here. And of course it's beautiful. I'd better stop there.

Popular Recent Posts