Having read a review by a music critic of this I felt compelled to write one. As is so often, I find I do not agree with a critic. They seemed to have a problem with Joni selecting the tracks herself with a claim that she wanted to prove her later music was as good as the earlier songs.
To my ears this track is a good selection of Joni Mitchell's music over the years. It may help that I am more familiar with some of her albums of the 1980s and 1990s.
The compilation does not have "hits" such as In France They Kiss on Main Street" and "Freeman in Paris" but it does have poignant songs including "Passion Play" (slavery), "The Beat of Black Wings" (war veterans), "The Magdalene Diaries" (young pregnant girls in catholic homes), "Impossible Dreamer", "Sex Kills" and "The Reoccurring Dream" (consumerism gone mad).
Along with these later tracks there is also "Hejira", "A Case of You" and even a track from "Mingus" (one album that seemed to far out for me back in 1979).
Overall, a generally listenable but sometimes challenging collection. It certainly does not get stuck in one musical rut.
I love Joni Mitchell more than any other female singer-songwriters - period! She is probably the most important female composer since ... I don't when ... ever!
In some ways, the "Hits" album is a strange name for an album from an artist who had comparatively few hit, but when you read the list of tracks, they are all brilliant. On "Misses", it is almost the same. Joni has always known how to write a tune and some words, but to take a selection of 14 songs from all her albums must have been a very onerous task. Did she do it or someone else? From the words in the booklet, it was definitely her - and the choice of material (mostly from later albums) is pretty much spot on. For me, there is no bad track. I was never keen on "Mingus", but "The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey" is my favourite track on the album.
On this collection, I have a soft spot for opener "Passion Play (When All The Slaves Are Free)", "The Beat Of Black Wings", "Dog Eat Dog" and "The Magdalene Laundries"; but, if I'm honest, there is not a bad track on this. Of course, others will wonder certain other tracks are not here, but there are some other (more recent) compilations by Joni which fit others' bills.
So, for this album, bask in Joni's superlative voice, her guitar and dulcimer playing and understand the fact that the subject matter for each song is wonderfully different and that Joni is in a class of her own.
Then, remember to go out and buy all her other albums (if you haven't already done so) and celebrate her 70th - yes 70th - birthday in November 2013.
In spite of its relatively negative title, "Misses" is an extremely worthwhile companion set to the "Hits" compilation. Particularly for someone like me, whose interest in Joni Mitchell's work is starting to end with "Hejira".
"Misses" represents an interesting trawl through Ms Mitchell's later work, and includes very few selections from any of the albums before "Hejira". The material was actually much better than i might have imagined, even though my favourite track on "Misses" remains the fabulous "Harry's House/Centerpiece" from the superlative "Hissing Of Summer Lawns" album.
Definitely worthy of closer inspection, so long as the price is right.
Released simultaneously with "Hits", rather than that compilations' concentration on early period singles "Misses" instead deals with principally late period album tracks, with just three of the 14 tracks from before 1974, giving an overview into Joni's deeper catalogue. Everything here has been personally selected by Joni with the emphasis on personal - there's no attempt to represent every album, it's just her favourite tracks which produces an excellent if eclectic running order. What this compilation shows is that Mitchell's later period contains many great song which equal her supposed early 70's heyday.
My personal choice for her best late period album "Night Ride Home" is represented by the first two tracks 'Passion Play' and 'Nothing Can Be Done', both strong works, before a shift back 20 years to famous "Blue" track 'A Case Of You'. A couple more tracks from the Geffen era follow with one of the highlights from "Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm" 'The Beat Of Black Wings', and the title track from "Dog Eat Dog". Stylistically this album rings the changes, with Mitchell's jazz period represented by "Mingus" track 'The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey', the title track from "Herjira" and 'Harry's House/Centrepiece' from "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns". These are all standout tracks from their parent albums. Her Rock period largely equates to her time with Geffen, which is also well represented. A good compilation for either those who only know Mitchell's earlier, perhaps more famous work or those looking for a good introduction to her deeper catalogue.