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4.8 out of 5 stars
119
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 12 January 2004
At some point in her life Joni Mitchell went travelling, not only physically but away from her musical roots and out into a brave new territiory all her own.
'Hejira' is steeped in roads, big skies and movement. Alternately snowbound and desert dry, the songs are richly melodic, if at first a touch oblique.
It's Joni's finest set of lyrics too, creating striking images and capturing the bliss of independance and the loneliness of regret.
All this is highlighted by the mournful, swooping soulful fretless bass of that other great musical nomad, the very great and late lamented Jaco Pastorius. It was a musical marriage made in a wilderness.
One of those CDs that defines the word 'essential'.
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on 10 November 2016
she should get the nobel prize like dylan!
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on 30 August 2017
Excellent
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on 7 September 2017
good old tunes from the past.
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on 27 March 2017
Fast delivery and great product. Of course it is. It's Joni Mitchell.
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on 26 July 2017
As ever Joni does her thing
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on 23 December 2008
I know this is a HUGE thing to say, and totally understand all those of you who'll label me a delusional old hippy for even saying there CAN be such a thing, but yeah, I gotta say it; all things considered, this is THE BEST ALBUM [of literally 1000's] I've everv heard. Nuff said.
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Joni has never bettered this. Writing while travelling, Joni ruminates on life as a travelling musician and as a woman, finding and sometimes leaving rather than losing love. This is art turning personal and deeply affecting.

It took me a long time to get round to this album, and now I'm scolding myself for wasting time! The addictive moods, daring musicianship and sublime poetry have conspired to make this, at last, my favourite Mitchell album.

For me, the highlights are the almost deslolate yet warm 'Amelia', and the long but deliciously detailed study of women's choices between making a family or a career, 'Song For Sharon'. I defy any woman to listen to these and not find herself connecting with Joni's ambilvalence and/or defiance!

A wonderful career high, and a major acheivement by anyone's standards.
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on 27 April 2017
Great!
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on 4 January 2013
I am basing my views on this review on all of Joni's albums from Blue to Hejira, the latter which I believe to be Mitchell's most ambitious work yet. When I first listened to Hejira I will admit I was kind of underwhelmed, but willing to give the album a chance and I am glad I did because now the whole album stands out and each track shines strongly with none really surpassing the other in greatness with the exception perhaps of A Song For Sharon.

The feel of the album is quite mellow, with the songs following no set structure, which allows Joni to really show off her best storytelling lyrics yet. Joni's voice is also more mature here and less high pitched than on her earlier works; she has much more control and to me, this album demonstrates some of her best and certainly mature vocals. The instrumentation is centred around jangly guitars and there are no piano led songs to be found. Each of the songs seem to flow along together very smoothly, most of them with fading outros which really helps give the feel of travelling along winding, ceasless roads and feeling melancholy and reflective. Such feelings are abundant in this album in particular though it is much more subtle than on albums such as Blue.

Subtlety is really what makes this album works and I believe that it is listening to the subtle instrumentation in the free-form song structures that really brings the album to life. Hejira is a high-point for Joni not just vocally and lyrically but also musically. Every song on here has a great backing courtesy of Mitchell and her band, who aren't afraid to create some challenging soundscapes that demand attention. This is an album that requires focus and understanding due to it's lack of superficial hooks and melodies that Joni used on albums like Court and Spark and even Hissng of Summer Lawns to an extent.

I don't think you can really review the songs individually because this is the kind of album that really has to be viewed as a whole, which was probably why it yeilded no singles. Still, many regard A Song For Sharon as the album's centerpiece and rightly so. Joni's backing vocals are haunting, the story is beautiful and the hint of subtle jazz makes it as catchy and smooth as any hook-riddled pop tune, although this has none in the traditional sense. Black Crow is another standout, being the only out-right rock orientated track on the song, useful because it stops the flow of the album from becoming too monotonous, especially because none of the tracks fall below the four minute mark and the majority are above five. My personal favourites are Blue Motel Room, a Jazz-inspired track that has so much cool and mellow beauty that I find myself constantly returning to it. Finally, the title track itself maintains for me, one of the best intros with those wonderfully jangling guitars and another great story from Mitchell.

Having said all of this, Hejira is perhaps not the type of album for a casual Joni Mitchell fan or someone who hasn't got any of her albums. For those people, Court and Spark may be a better start, or Blue perhaps. Those who prefer her more experimental phase that began with Summer Lawns will possibly find this a more appealing listen. It is unfortunate that Joni is not particularly remembered for these later 70's works because these albums, Hejira and particular showcase a much more mature singer with her strongest lyrics and some really challenging instrumentation to back it all up. I just hope Juan Juan's Reckless Daughter is just as good.
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