As a long time Joni Mitchell fan ( I first saw her in 1967) it's always hard to pick the "Best" album but I find myself playing "Hejira" more than the rest. It came out in 1976 and was recorded quite well, as a matter of fact I use two tracks, Song For Sharon and Amelia to evaluate equipment changes in my system. There is wonderful delicate guitar playing on both tracks as well as Joni's beautiful clear voice that changes into smokey blues on other tracks. The remastered HDCD is quite good but the lp is King or in this case, Queen. Joni Mitchell is an artist, songwriter, musician, poet and arguably one of the best.
I have a thing about playing Hejira, I play it during the first snowfall of the year. Somehow seems appropriate. I have the Nautilus "Court and Spark" also my favorite. Hejira and Court and Spart are my two favorites. I have a Japanese pressing of Hejira, too bad MFSL didn't do a vinyl pressing of it.
Hejira, Blue and her first, the underappreciated Song to a Seagull. I've always thought of Court and Spark as her pop sellout album. Agree with Rec about Song to Sharon as a system eval favorite. And I think it's her greatest song, too.
Wonderful Joni Mitchell fans. But it took until the 12th post to get the real jewel of her crown: For The Roses. Thanks to Musicslug for opening the door.
Kind of agree on Court and Spark -- a bit sellout but really entertaining. Blue is in a class by itself but not at the level of For the Roses. As for Hissing of Summer Lawns -- solid but not on the top tier.
For the Roses -- contents: Neil Young angst (Blonde in the Bleachers); fame angst (Judgment of Moon and Stars; more romance angst (Woman of Heart and Mind) and some truly edgy stuff (Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire). I realize I'm in a minority here but the lyrics and chord work of this album are worth taking the time to really listen to.
Anway, JM2C. If you have to listen to in on digital -- find yourself an HDCD decoder and the HDCD version. Otherwise -- vinyl all the way.
Fathom7, The "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire" on Miles of Aisles is one of my favorites. "For The Roses" is like "Blue": stripped down, clean, almost forcing you to really listen to what she has to say in those lyrics of hers. Joni Mitchell is a poet for the ages...
BTW: Vocally off of the For the Roses album she poses some real interesting challenges to the crossovers in any speaker you wish to audition. There is also that wonderful potential to demonstrate what "digititis" is when components and cables reveal too much of what the digital realm hath wrought. That's why I use this album (aside from the fact that I know what it's supposed to sound like off vinyl) for all equipment auditions. When it comes off right, the experience for me is literally a "hair on the back of your neck standing" experience.
Thanks folks. I already had Court & Spark and love it. Last night I picked up Hejira for $6.99 new for a remastered copy at the local shop I usually go to. Would have got Miles of Aisles too but forgot my 20% coupon at home. Thanks all. By the way I just love Hejira! Sound is fantastic.
One of my favorite artists of all time. +1 on "Urge for Going" what a great song! Recent LP reissues sound very good so highly recommended. I'd suggest starting with "Clouds" and exploring the arc of her career. She is one of those artists who evolve in such a compelling way. As for favorites, so hard to choose but...
For the Roses: Only title not reissued on LP for some reason. Would love to get this on vinyl. The CD remaster is good though (Joe Gastwirt I think?)
Blue: Very close second. Amazing music--dark, dark, dark.
Court and Spark: Lyrically maybe the strongest of her work. "Peoples Parties" just says it all about the LA scene.
HIssing of Summer Lawns: Some clunkers mixed in with others that have a tremendous vibe. Great bass guitar as well.