Feature

Joni Mitchell

Shine (Hear Music)

The world has gone to hell, and Joni Mitchell is ticked off, said Allison Stewart in The Washington Post. The flaxen-haired songstress has never had a problem expressing her mind. She left the music industry on a bitter note in the late ’90s, referring to it as a “cesspool” of “pornographic pigs.” On Shine, her first recording of new material in nearly a decade, Mitchell takes aim at just about everything: overpopulation, traffic jams, cell phones, global warming, and Las Vegas (to name a few). All her griping turns the album into a “lumbering, fun-killing indictment” that “depresses more than enlightens” her audience. Too preoccupied and enraged with the current state of society, Mitchell winds up bullying and bawling out her own fans. Only when she settles down and stops pointing fingers does Shine become a “frequently lovely sounding meditation on the world’s ugliness,” said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. Shine is a protest record of sorts, but not of the get up, stand up kind. Mitchell tempers her anger with her weathered vocals, deepened and strained by years of smoking. Her delicate yet effective arrangements showcase the musical skills she has acquired throughout her career, said Ann Powers in the Los Angeles Times. But they “encourage contemplation, not marching in the streets.”

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