A few days ago when I sat down to reply to my BOTB comments, I read this one from Sheboyganboy Six;
BOTB: I love this song, and I love Joni Mitchell. (I never cared for Joan Collins, or her version.) I suspect this will be a massive blowout in favor of the one everyone knows… though I see it has started to turn around, at least a little bit.
Joni Mitchell was always one of my very favorites. She is a tremendous songwriter - one of the best. I was always amazed at her insight into the introspective side of humanity. (She missed, I think, on the brutal side of our personalities - The Who filled that musical role for me.) There was a period when I listened to her all the time. I think my favorite songs she wrote are “For Free” and “Conversation”… back-to-back numbers on her Ladies of the Canyon album. And the entire Court and Spark album is a top five favorite LP of all time.
I love both versions of this song. The writing shows incredible depth of soul for someone so young. The early version feels like a young person who has learned a lesson about love; it is a bit bouncy and upbeat, emoting the feeling of someone who has felt the pangs and swings of a lost romance… but who still has a life ahead of her to figure it out and find more romance.
The second, as an old woman in 2000: the same words, but it has a VERY different feeling and interpretation. It is slow and ponderous on the surface, but one needs to give the version a chance. It is very moving. It has a depth that I feel a connection with - as someone with some extra candles on the cake. She sings as an old person who is looking back with tremendous introspection nearer then end of her life, and has realized the import of things taken for granted in youth. Things we often never figure out. Things we realize later we missed and will never find again.
In the Youtube comment section “Ray C” says:
“This rendition is beyond music, Joni sang with her life and the joys, and fears, and tears, and hopes, and despairs, and dreams, and all the bittersweets. I first heard the original song when I was a young lad who tries to find the meaning of life. So many years later, I hear this song and I recalled all the illusions in the past, I realized that I still don't know life at all.”
I love them both, but I REALLY love the second version.
To which I replied;
I saved my reply to your comment for last, because there was a lot I wanted to say, but now the big thunderstorms that are rumbling through Tahoe today are closing back in, so I need to shut down my computer. I promise to be back shortly with a reply to your comment with some secrets to disclose.
Unfortunately, in typical FAE fashion, I never got back. The thunderstorms just kept coming and I saw a chicken running around somewhere among the boxes still stacked in my house. So, today as my RESULTS post, I would like to reply to Mr. Sheboyganboy Six.
I love this song and I love this BATTLE.
I admit that I am not an ‘over the top’ fan of Joni Mitchell. Every single one of her albums reside in my house, but my general apathy about her may stem from some immature jealousy of her as one of my husbands was so enamored with Joni, that I got sick at the mention of her name or music. With some time and maturity I will concede that the woman was a terrific songwriter, if more than a bit odd, personally. I also must say that I never cared for that almost sickeningly sweet soprano that she and other ‘folk type’ singers were so popular for. Give me the deep rich tones of Mary Travis.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me explain why I love this BATTLE. The mere idea of having the same artist pitted against themselves separated by a few decades in intriguing to me. Someone else (I think it was Cherdo) did this as a BOTB tribute when David Bowie died. It was also a good BATTLE and really got my interest. The changes in a person’s voice as they age, the emphasis they put on different words as they sing, and the overall texture of the song make it a worthy opponent for itself. In the case of ‘Both Sides Now’, you also have to consider the meaning of the lyrics.
Many of you commented that you did not like the fact that the second (older Joni) version was soooo slow. Well, I have to give you that. It was slowed down to the timing more of a funeral dirge than the light happy sound of the earlier (younger Joni) version, but it gave us more time to really consider the lyrics and let their meaning sink in. It was, at least in my mind, symbolic of the slowing every creature endures with age.
I cast my vote for the older 2000 version of Joni singing/talking her way through ‘Both Sides Now’. As someone who has an equally larger number of candles on her birthday cakes, not to mention is the mother of two grown daughters and has five grandchildren in that mix (yeah, I’m hoping that at least up until now, I still had some of your fooled into thinking I was a much younger FAE), I can relate. I too, have looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow I manage to have faith in all the tomorrows to come, even though they be much less than those that have past.
Although I may not be a stellar fan of Ms. Mitchell’s performance art, or her personal choices, I give the woman credit as a tremendous songwriter and lyricist, she truly is a poet in her heart. Also, she was the only woman performer singled out in one of my very favorite concert performances of all time; The Last Waltz'. I have come to enjoy many of her songs. I believe my two favorite albums are ‘Court and Spark’ and ‘Hejira’ (Journey). Some really good stuffs on those. My favorite song is 'Coyote'. Yeah, a strange choice, but then 'you know me'.
So, before I close with the final tally, I want to give a great big THANK YOU to YOU Mr. Sheboyganboy Six for this suggestions. This BATTLE was truly one of my favorites, and I probably would not have come up with it on my own.
The final tally:
Joni 1969 15 votes
Joni 2000 10 votes (including mine)
Thank you all for coming by and casing a vote. Again, I really enjoyed this BATTLE and loved your comments. I wasn’t on the winning side again, but no matter, it’s all good fun. I was encouraged to see that there were some of you who got the same feelings as I listening to an older more mature Joni.
CONGRATULATIONS to all of you who slugged it out through the A to Z and made it to the end. Give yourself a pat on the back and permission to take a break until the 15th of May, when I’ll be back with another BATTLE for you.
Next I need to reply to those of you gracious enough to visit my IWSG post and leave a comment.
Until next time…Happy Trails!
Here's that favorite of mine; 'Coyote'!