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9
3.9 out of 5 stars
Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
DREAMY, ATMOSPHERIC SONGS
This atmospheric album contains several gems, like My Secret Place, a duet with Peter Gabriel. Lakota is a political protest song with a lovely Native American feel, and on Dancin' Clown, Billy Idol and Tom Petty help out on vocals. I don't know if it's mean as a comment on dance culture, but it's an uptempo love song with a catchy tune and contains the phrase "cherchez la femme" which may or may not be a reference to the song by Dr Buzzard's Savannah Band. If so, it's very gentle, inlike for example Frank Zappa's funny but acerbic Dancin' Fool. Cool Water is a dreamy poetic piece with Willie Nelson adding vocals. The lilting, swaying Beat Of Black Wings is ominous and disturbing as it probes the psyche of a disillusioned veteran - a line from the lyric gives the album its title: ""I'm just a chalk mark in a rainstorm." One of my favorites is The Reocurring Dream - a criticism of advertising and shallow materialism that Bongwater's Ann Magnuson explores so delightfully on Bongwater's work - with its interesting arrangement. Chalk Mark concludes with A Bird That Whistles, her gentle interpretation of the traditional Corrina, Corrina. This is a brilliant album that contains some of her most compelling songs.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2001
Hard to believe that the album is now over 12 years old. Reminiscent of "Hejira" in some tracks, but has the best Vietnam aftermath track I know in "The Beat of Black Wings", from where the album title comes (and what a great title). The weakest track would be "Dancing Clown", which seemed intended for single release.
One of her strongest - perhaps not quite "Hejira", but with enough content elsewhere to make it worthwhile - but then Mitchell is always worthwhile.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This album from 1988 has a very cosmoplitan feel for Joni has assembled for this album a diverse cast of players, which includes "Don Henley",Willie Nelson",sax player "Wayne Shorter" and "Benjamin Orr" from the Cars.
Instead of "Thomas Dolby" producing, whose cluttered production buried her previous recording "Dog eat Dog" her ex "Larry Klein" (really great bass player)is in the directors chair. From the superb opening track a duet with "Peter Gabriel" you know this is going to be an audio treat,using a multi-tracked vocal for Ms Michell, this technique turns this track into a haunting song.
This multi-tracked vocal effect is used to great effect throughout the album creating an eerie, echoing quality. This is best exemplified on the centrepiece of the whole album "The Beat of Black wings" where the layered harmonies induce an almost hypnotic melancholy and huge shafts of synthesizer sound wash over its gentle percussive roll, in other words "awesome".
Another stand out track is "The Tea Leaf Prophecy" with guest back ground vocals from "Princes" one time band members "Wendy Melvoin" and "Lisa Coleman".
The track that suffers from lack of quility control is the throw away "Dancin' Clown" which sounds like it was put together on a rainy afternoon.
"Joni" has put together an album which still retains her wit,lyrical sense and intelligence that charaterizes all her work, best album from her in the 80's...
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on 7 November 2014
A much better album than most of her later offerings.
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on 26 February 2015
Not as good as her other albums sadly.
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on 13 June 2015
🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2014
Competant Jonie, very listenable but perhaps not one of her poetic better albums
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Here Joni's creative embers are glowing brightly again. Her languid voice is accorded poetic justice by the sparse backing on themes eternal - religious symbolism surfaces in Passion Play and Slouching Towards Bethlehem (an adaptation of a Yeats poem). The topic of growing old, gracefully treated in Nothing Can Be Done and Come In From The Cold, is brilliantly balanced by the teenage romance of Ray's Dad's Cadillac, in which Joni puts one over Rickie Lee Jones, one of her imitators. Savour these lines: "Ray's dad teaches maths/I'm a dunce, a decimal in his class/When it comes to mathematics/I get static in the attic." Well, this is music - not maths - and Joni get four out of five for composition and performance.
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2003
After Hejira, Turbulent Indigo and the Hissing of Summer Lawns this was a big miss. Maybe one or two get past the test but theres simply too many voices on too many songs. Joni sings best on her own. These are poppy, simplistic and not what I expected at all. It spoils my Joni Mitchell collection ...
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