7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Return To Form For Joni,
This review is from: Night Ride Home (Audio CD)
Perhaps I was biased towards this album by the birth of my son in 1991, but I used to sing these songs repeatedly to him in every effort to lull him towards sleep. For me, it's one of the top 5 album releases of that decade, the others being 'Time Out Of Mind' by Bob Dylan, 'The Future' by Leonard Cohen, 'Nevermind' by Nirvana (also to show I'm not just some old fart stuck in the past), and best of all the greatest, most complete debut of all time: the evergreen 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley. 'Night Ride Home' is chock-full of great songs: from the brilliant opener (the title track) to the fine fine single release 'Coming In From The Cold' it almost purports to be Joni's finest hour, but I feel, personally, that the album slopes off a bit there. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of Mitchell's jazzier escapades, and I have listened to the bulk of her work in search of that greatness that others tell me is there in her earlier works, but 'Ladies Of The Canyon' just for instance leaves me cold. I much prefer the poppier efforts of 'Clouds' and parts of 'The Hissing Of Summer Lawns' (esp. 'The Jungle Line' and 'In France They Kiss On Main Street') so when I originally bought NRH I couldn't believe how bowled over I was. The arrangements are, for the most part, light, loose, and uncluttered: 'Passion Play' (or 'The Magdalene Laundries' as rechristened by The Chieftains) has to be one of the finest songs ever written, and 'Coming In From The Cold' her best ever single, though I wouldn't have imagined for one minute that it could have ever made a dent in the top 40 here or Stateside. Doubtless, more ardent admirers of Mitchell's music will disagree with me, but if I ever want or need to hear a Joni Mitchell album I would choose this one every time.