Wondering what to get yourself for Christmas this year? If you love music, then you should help yourself to this box-set of Joni Mitchell’s first ten studio albums at the frankly ridiculous price of £20.99 [at amazon.co.uk] or the slightly higher but still crazy $44.39 [at amazon.com].
I have no idea how long this price will last, but £2.09 each for some of the most startling albums ever recorded is just insane. I already own legitimate copies of half of these, but I just ordered the set anyway.
I’ve not written about Joni anywhere near as much as I ought to have. I listed her Hejira (one of the albums included in the box-set) among my top ten for 2011, but there I hardly praised it as it deserves. In fact it’s a quite unique blend of folk, jazz, confessional singer-songwriter and what can only be described as impressionism — a coherent but haunting whole that is much more than the sum of its parts. [Update: I later wrote about it in much more detail.]
And then there is Blue — an album I’ve been listening to for more than a decade, but which suddenly grabbed me by the throat earlier this year so that I hardly listened to anything else for a solid fortnight. The songs burrow into the mind, leaving scars — not just for the musicianship, but for the searing combination of honesty and ambiguity. This is music that lays utterly bare the soul of someone who doesn’t quite know what she wants.
Highly, highly recommended.