Joni Mitchell

Turbulent Indigo

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AllMusic Review by

Joni Mitchell returned to the relatively spare style of albums like Hejira and her early folk collections on Turbulent Indigo, emphasizing her acoustic guitar strumming and singing on a series of songs that detail the political and social discontent she had previously explored on Dog Eat Dog and Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm. In the brief opener, "Sunny Sunday," a woman tries to shoot out a streetlight with a pistol and misses every night, a metaphor for the individual's futile struggle against civilization, and Mitchell repeats much the same message in songs like "Sex Kills," a generalized criticism of everything from lawyers to the hole in the ozone layer; "Turbulent Indigo," which describes the inability of people to understand artists; "Last Chance Lost," which treats romantic disappointment; and "Not to Blame," about spousal abuse. The low-key music and restrained vocals stand in contrast to the lyrics -- over and over, Mitchell's imagery refers to guns and violence. Turbulent Indigo provides a disturbing view of modern life made all the more compelling by its calm presentation.

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