Both Sides Now, from contemporary musical great, Joni Mitchell, features her sultry, jazzy, dramatic renditions of love songs from the 1920s to the 1970s.
Taking its title from one of Joni Mitchell's best-known songs, this atmospheric album traces the arc of a relationship: from first excited flush, through resigned closure, to the next real thing. Two of the tracks are re-recordings of early Mitchell songs--the title track and the lesser-known "A Case Of You", but otherwise the tales are told in the words of others. The self-painted cover gives a clue to the album's mood: lush and lavish, with a 70-piece orchestra accompanying songs popularised by Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. This is Joni Mitchell as torch singer, with well-chosen songs ("Stormy Weather", "Don't Go To Strangers", "Answer Me My Love") brightly arranged and beautifully sung. But from a singer whose reputation as one of rock's most respected songwriters was established by early, folk-influenced albums such as Clouds and Blue and the crowd-pleasing Court And Spark, the lack of new material on Both Sides Now is inevitably disappointing. --Patrick Humphries