Joni Mitchell reached her commercial high point with Court and Spark, a remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz which stands as her best-selling work to date. While as unified and insightful as Blue, the album – a concept record exploring the roles of honesty and trust in relationships, romantic and otherwise – moves away from confessional songwriting into evocative character studies: the hit "Free Man in Paris," written about David Geffen, is a not-so-subtle dig at the machinations of the music industry, while "Raised on Robbery" offers an acutely funny look at the predatory environment of the singles bar scene. Much of Court and Spark is devoted to wary love songs: both the title cut and "Help Me," the record's most successful single, carefully measure the risks of romance, while "People's Parties" and "The Same Situation" are fraught with worry and self-doubt (standing in direct opposition to the music, which is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last).
4-CDs sporting Joni's complete recordings for Geffen during the '80s, including all four albums ( Wild Things Run Fast, Dog Eat Dog, Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm and Night Ride Home ) she recorded for the label plus some tasty rarities like a couple of demos, Two Grey Rooms and Good Friends , and a cover of Bob Dylan's It's All Over Now, Baby Blue that was recorded for the Night Ride Home sessions…
Joni Mitchell has had one of the most peculiar career arcs in the history of popular music. Since her first stint as a superstar in the making – from about 1967 to 1975 – her overall creative catalog of complex, challenging, ever-changing music has gone more or less unnoticed by the masses. Of course, this has been done by mutual agreement between artist and audience. Mitchell has no desire to pander (when she's slipped and tried, the results have been very mixed – 1985's poorly received Dog Eat Dog, for example) and the vast majority of the pop music buying public don't want to think when they listen to favored acts.
Critical Equation is Dr. Dog's first proper full-length of new material in five years and is out April 27th through Thirty Tigers.