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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 April 2017
Turbulent Indigo marked Joni Mitchell's return to Reprise Records and along with it's Geffen predecessor Night Ride Home (which to my mind just edges it) this is Mitchell's strongest late period work. The Rock theme has disappeared, instead there's a return to beautiful guitar-led songs featuring strong lyrics and supporting backing from a tight band that remains in the background. There are echoes of Mitchell's folk and jazz origins throughout. Larry Klein plays delicate Bass throughout, and Wayne Shorter adds Soprano Sax to five of the tracks highlighting it's jazz-tinged nature, but often there are no or minimal drums, reminiscent of Hejira, which this album resembles at times and which is a huge plus.

It's hard to pick a standout track because the whole works so well as a journey, just like Hejira. If I had to pick just one track it would be 'The Magdalene Laundries', with Mitchell commenting here on the tragedy of nuns - supposedly kind hearted souls revealing a shocking disregard for 'fallen women'. Mitchell raises her familiar hackles against the pace of 'progress' and the ills of the modern world ('Sex Kills'); and domestic violence ('Not To Blame') - injustice is often called out in her later work. There's plenty about her other major subject too - Love, but here with a twist as it appears to be lost love that raises it's head in 'How Do You Stop', 'Last Chance Lost' and 'The Sire Of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song)' perhaps reflecting her personal relationship with Klein.

This is a major, late period work from Mitchell, always fascinating, always beautifully set with deep lyrics and her own unique guitar tunings to the fore. Klein and Shorter add a lot here. Buy with confidence.
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on 3 August 2013
I'm still a relative newcomer to Joni, I fell in love with blue and have enjoyed her following 3 albums and clouds however i never felt any of these other works quite matched blue because the Melodies were too often difficult as were the lyrics (court and spark is an exception to this) and also the vocals seemed perhaps older and wiser, but never as honest as blue. I've Been told Hejira is a great work so I'm gonna check that one out. Turbulent Indigo is a complete return to melody, lyrics and genuine vocals. every track has magnificent melody and lyrics although the tone is fairly fresh as Joni often hits on protest (sex kills, turbulent indigo) and the suffering of others (sunny Sunday, Magdalene Laundries, sire of sorrow, not to blame). Joni's voice has aged perfectly too, it's full of experience, the perfect example being how do you stop, bringing something to the table that James Brown missed, a real sadness at human incapability but also joy in the addition of the lines "how do you stop the ripening corn? how do you stop a baby being born?" at what we can achieve despite our Downfalls. For Me turbulent indigo is the closest joni's ever got to matching blue and in ways its an even more compelling listen than blue, it is an absolute essential in the joni catalogue
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on 26 October 2016
Only now discovering Joni's later (i.e. post 1975!) work. So glad I finally caught up. Her talent cannot be overestimated, it's astounding. She's a giant amongst midgets. And what a painter, too!
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on 25 September 2015
I'm not going to give a critique of every track as others have done on here, yet this is album of which I was unaware. Another Joni masterpiece and I find myself asking how did RollingStones readers not place her TOP of their poll? Mr Dylan is good but, in my opinion, Joni is better.
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on 6 June 2002
After listening to six of Joni Mitchell's albums from the 1970s (all of them absolute classics), Turbulent Indigo provides a great refreshment. The songs are still in the same folk-rock mould of her earlier work, but various touches give it a more modern feel and the inclusion of soprano sax on almost every track adds texture to the music as well as portraying Joni's ongoing love for jazz music.
Sunny Sunday is a pleasant opener that leads into the protesting Sex Kills. This song features electric guitars and other touches that make it into the album's rockiest song--and the protesting attitude comes across on the chorus ("the gas leaks, the oil spills, sex sells everything and sex kills") but these words are by no means the least dramatic here.
How Do You Stop is a brilliant ballad featuring Seal and is one of the album's highlights (although not written by Joni herself). The title track is the oddest piece but still a great song. Last Chance Lost is another slice of melodic pop, Joni rediscovering her higher range in amongst the deep vocals she uses for most of this album. The Magdalene Laundries is a sad and beautiful ballad, while the following Not To Blame is about an abusive relationship. After these songs, you can't help wondering why Joni is so miserable and reflective - at least she's not dead! The Magdalene Laundries and Not To Blame are two particularly depressing ballads while Last Chance Lost's title gives it all away. Sex Kills is a major protest and Turbulent Indigo explores the world of art. Only Sunny Sunday can claim to be a 'happy' song.
Borderline is about how everything seems to have a borderline on it nowadays, not moving away from the protesting attitude of Sex Kills. Yvette In English is another major standout, written with David Crosby while the closer The Sire Of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song) is a wonderful epic about sadness and fear (again).
Turbulent Indigo is mainly all about the depressing feelings in life and how to deal with them. The lyrics are sublime as with all of Joni's other songs, and the music reminds you of some of her older work while still retaining a modern feel. The songs are basically among the strongest she has ever constructed and Turbulent Indigo can safely stand alongside albums like For The Roses and Hejira (although I can't see the resemblance between this and the latter album even though many talk about it!).
Buy Joni's great album from 1994 and just enjoy it - let it work its magic on you. PS: Take a peek at the inside artwork - these paintings are among Joni's best!
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on 19 July 2017
A very good album full of great songs. I really enjoy this album
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on 11 April 2006
The closing song on this album may be the greatest achievement of Mitchell's career. 'The Sire of Sorrow' takes the most interesting tale of the old testament - the only book to really challenge God - and completely reworks it into a contemporary setting that lashes out with bitterness and angst. Added to this, is the compelling music which builds to epic proportions, like thick paint on Van Gogh's canvas. It is beyond pop music, even by Mitchell's standards and makes you realise the genius of the woman. None of her contemporaries (Dylan and Cohen included) could ever reach these heights and as a climax to a fairly disturbing look at the mess we now seem to be in, Mitchell transcends her own legend. Blue and Hejira were certainly landmark albums, but for my money Turbulent Indigo (three decades later)is her final triumph.Lyrically and musically it all falls into place in a bundle of songs which express their views in the way Picasso's Guernica does - chopped imagery of injustice, brutality and greed leading a culture to the brink. Mitchell still manages humour and love like the early days, but these songs are no longer watercolours. They are a dense pallete of oils, flung onto the page with alarm bells added. The greatest of her masterpieces.
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on 23 November 2017
I am a Joni Mitchell fan, but this does nothing for me. It sounds over produced, with skilled session musicians going through the motions, but little in the way of interesting melodies and rhythms. It is polished, and lacks soul. Her voice has aged, but that's not a bad thing, it can sound quite nice. Overall the album is boring, dull, and disappointing.
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on 24 January 2003
This is an album that shines even from a sparkling repertoire of albums. The title Turbulent Indigo, fits the style of the album beautifully, with each of the songs written in a sort of existentialist, poetic way that is deceptively accessible and tuneful. The title track along with the observant Sex Kills and the heartfelt Magdelene Laundries, especially distinguish themselves. This timeless album is a reminder of why singer-songwriters are called 'artists'.
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on 3 December 2015
I think I prefer her earlier music.
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