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An Unbelieveably Perfect Album
on 8 April 2007
'Court And Spark' belongs to an exclusive club of albums that are as close to perfect as you're ever likely to find. Just like Carole King's 'Tapestry', with 'Court And Spark' it really is difficult to find anything that could be deemed insubstantial or filler.
Of course this takes great songwriting skills which Joni has managed to provide successfully over the years but the arrangements, musicianship and production also have to be spot on - which they are here, right down to the finest detail.
At this point in time Joni was working on a much larger canvas than in previous years and with the introduction of jazz elements to her folk sound (courtesy of Tom Scott) Joni recorded what is perhaps her most sophisticated album to date. A great many of the songs deal with the stresses of stardom ('Free Man In Paris') and personal relationships ('Court And Spark' the title track, 'Help Me', 'Same Situation','Down To You' amongst others). Her vocals on every track are also exquisite.
To those unfamiliar with much of Joni's work, compared with contempories like James Taylor and Carole King she lacks a little of their melodic traits although this is not altogether a bad thing. Her songs often stretches musical boundaries to a much greater degree with various textures and experimental flavouring. This can sometimes result in an album like 'Court And Spark' seeming a little disjointed on a first listen yet the true beauty of these songs soon shine through after repeated listens and they manage to stay in the conscience of the listener over a greater period of time. Joni also places greater emphasis on her often poetic and occasionally opaque lyric writing.
Ultimately, 'Court And Spark' is an album that many of Joni's contempories can only dream of.
It really is hard to find an album which sounds so complete as this.