Friday, February 1, 2008

Joni Mitchell - 'Both Sides Now'

I've known of Joni Mitchell for a long time. Who hasn't.

But I've only appreciated her real greatness lately - I think it's caught in her new 'Both Sides Now', one of my now all-time favorite songs.

It's her unmannered directness that makes such powerful expression - in some way, nothing gets in the way of her communicating the meanings of words. Joni is only concerned with the ideas in the lyrics - rather than the song being a vehicle to display the ego of a star. She has something of real and permanent value to say.

Both Sides Now

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and they snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
And you leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions that I recall
I really don't know love
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

Oh but now old friends they are acting strange
And they shake their heads and they tell me that I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

It's life's illusions that I recall
I really don't know life
I really don't know life at all

I love the unaffectedness of Joni's interaction with the audience at the end of the performance! It has the intimacy of equal friendship - and it really touched me.

Particularly after the humility of the song's meanings - the realization of one's limited understandings of life, even after having a lifetime of experience.

A true artist.


  1. I just fucking LOVE this blog!

  2. Yes, Nick, you have a wonderful blog. Thanks for more goosebumps.

  3. hey greg, i find the more i listen to joni mitchell the better i appreciate her - she is so true and honest in making meaning to me. endlessly beautiful!

  4. hey anon, glad you like it. take care. nick

  5. This Joni Mitchell video did it... You are my favorite blog dude... Everything about your blog is interesting..! intellectually and visually... ;-) thanks! Keep up the good work!

  6. hey, bonjour claude

    great to hear from you

    joni mitchell blows me away - for the reasons i put in the post

    thanks very much for the appreciation

    a bientot