Dame Joni entered a new phase with "Court and Spark". Self designed album sleeves and deep, confessional lyrics were already a stalwart, but additional elements were added to the mix on this effort. Jazz pop inflections, musical departures that Mitch was eager to explore, flavor this offering, her most popular of this era.
As society spiraled down from idealistic utopia to self conscious anaylsis, Joni never failed to deliver. " Help Me" the only single of her career to break the top ten, sets the tone for the album's concept, the power of love verses the desire for freedom. " Free Man in Paris" is an interesting spin on the musings of David Geffen, perhaps the most ambitious start-up mogul to ever enter the industry.
"People's Parties" could be a snap shot from most social scenes. Excellent. "Same Situation" and " Down to you" seem to be the beginning and conclusion of the same book; doubt at the beginning of a relationship, confirmation in the end that all things are passing. The musical bridge in "Down to You" is amazing for what it says without the words; listen carefully and you'll hear the rise of anticipation, the fall of disappointment, and, finally, tentative optimism tempered with a dose of melancholy.
"Just Like This Train" is a simple song with a loaded message. Jealousy colors the best of love with a very unattractive green. "Twisted" is just the right ironic bit of humor needed to encapsulate, and lighten, the collection of songs. "Court and Spark" has been outstripped by " Blue" as the years passed, but the relevance of this recording is still fresh today.