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The Hissing Of Summer Lawns

54 customer reviews

Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Biography

When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century. Uncompromising and iconoclastic, Mitchell confounded expectations at every turn; restlessly innovative, her music evolved from deeply personal folk stylings into pop, jazz, avant-garde, and even world music, presaging the multicultural experimentation of the ... Read more in Amazon's Joni Mitchell Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The Hissing Of Summer Lawns + Hejira + Court And Spark
Price For All Three: £17.19

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Oct. 1987)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asylum Records
  • ASIN: B0000262T9
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,115 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

CD

Amazon.co.uk

Court and Spark had earned Joni Mitchell mainstream pop acceptance but its underlying spirit of discovery pushed her to risk new-found success with this edgier, experimental sequel released in 1975. Although the session crew is largely the same, and sleek jazz elements again abound, these songs find her introducing Burundi drums (on "The Jungle Line"), layering magisterial but forbidding vocal harmonies ("Shadows and Light") and casting rueful shadows across the sun-dazed Southern California of the title song. Her daring promptly earned critical scorn and halted her commercial expansion, but the album's confident eclecticism and dark beauty have outlived that reception; from the safety of hindsight, Hissing was a promise to stay hungry and creatively adventurous, a promise kept then and now. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Felicia Davis-burden VINE VOICE on 6 July 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is Joni's expert analysis of LA life, as both observer and ambilvalent participant. A masterpiece it definitely is.

I must disagree with those who have said that 'Jungle Line' is sub-standard, weak or horrid. It is a wonderful portrayal of innocense newly lost on arrival in the 'jungle' of LA. The metaphor of Rouseau's art and the sounds of burundi drums, Moog synth and Joni's voice and guitar, work hypnotically together to break up the smooth veneer of the album as a whole (representing the smooth veneer of LA itself!) exposing the lusting and dangerous 'belly of the beast'. I actually see 'Jungle Line' as one of Joni's finest tracks.

'Edith and the King Pin' is a fine study of how an LA millionaire builds up his charmed hareem, seducing with jewels, champagne and drugs, choosing his women like Rouseau would his shades of paint. Another beautifully detailed highlight.

This is one of Joni's masterpieces. Along with Hejira, Blue and Court & Spark, Summer Lawns represents her artistic maturing and daring as a writer. A fabulous collection
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Nocode on 5 Feb. 2006
Format: Audio CD
While Hejira is my favourite Joni album this record is fighting it out with 'For the Roses' for second place. The record generally has quite a laid back feel to it. The opener takes up from where 'Court and Spark' left off, after that however the album becomes more adventurous without compromising on melody. Some have cticised the 'the jungle line.' True it isn't in keeping with the rest of the album and for that reason it perhaps disrupts the record's rhythm. Yet it is undeniably innovative. Other tracks, especially 'Harry's House/Centrepiece' incorporate overt forays into jazz. All in all this is an essential and original album.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey M. Black on 14 Sept. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Joni fans tend to divide between those those that prefer the naked confessional of 'Blue' and those that regard the jazzy trio of mid-70s albums that comprise 'Court & Spark', 'The Hissing of Summer Lawns' and 'Hejira' to be her creative peak. I'm in the latter category.

I first heard this album in a musical instrument shop. they were playing 'Harry's House' and the line "A helicopter lands on the Pan-Am roof like a dragonfly on a tomb" caused me to ask the staff what it was. Joni's lyrics are cinematic - like little movie pitches - and beautifully evocative of that period. That track and the album's title investigate the dark side of the suburban dream, set to cool jazzy accompaniment that will make everything else you listen to sound crude.

Elsewhere 'The Jungle Line' discovers Burundi drums a good five years before Adam Ant. 'Edith and The Kingpin' has luscious orchestration that seems to literally seduce you and the multi-layered harmonies of 'Shadows & Light' indicate an artist that is at the peak of her game.

The fact that this got lukewarm reviews on its release either shows how clueless some journalists can be or demonstrates how far ahead Joni was. An astonishingly good album.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Edwards on 1 Oct. 2007
Format: Audio CD
Along with the more obvious Blue, this is Joni's most career defining record. Whilst the former perfected her internal, almost confessional work, The Hissing of Summer Lawns epitomises her role as observer, or even satirist, and her musicianship. Broadly speaking it is a concept album that juxtaposes the human, the animal, and the spiritual in a dense series of portraits of - mostly - Californian life. Think of David Lynch movies and you get a little bit of an idea - the title refers to the hiss of sprinklers on grass, the keeping up of appearances, repressing of darker desires... you get the picture. Elsewhere she explores drug cultures and exploitation (The Jungle Line and Edith & The Kingpin), suburban desperation (the title track, Harry's House) and ruminates on what it all means (the two closers). Throughout her lyricism, once sparse and raw, is lush and layered with imagery - Shades of Scarlett Conquering (a sharp look at a young socialite) both sounds like something from Hollywood's golden age and looks/reads like it e.g. "with her impossibly gentle hands and her blood red fingernails". The depth of playing with a small team of musicians and engineer Henry Lewy never falters - varyingly paced with layers of latin, jazz, and african influences co-existing alongside Joni's own keyboard and guitar work. It's an album that rewards almost constant playing year on year, never failing to reveal more light, more shade. Not only important for Mitchell but a landmark in modern music.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. JAMES on 18 April 2001
Format: Audio CD
Never far from my turntable tape or disc player - I keep the original gatefold for the languid photo of Joni and her integral artwork, though the vinyl itself (victim of the mid-seventies shortage and massive overplaying) sounds chafed and distant. The lyrics are diverse, complex and often obscure but will remain with you forever, opening gradually with repeated plays and experience. The tunes are always more than just that, from the optimism of the heady opener through to the album's dour and sardonic close. Yep, Joni does it for me!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "yellowfeather" on 21 Jan. 2000
Format: Audio CD
How can this piece of work possibly be allowed to go unheard? By turns romantic and savage, Mitchell's observations are wrapped in some of the most stunningly arranged sounds you will ever hear. All the tracks are standout; I couldn't even attempt to pick a favourite.
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