Album #338 – The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Album #338

The Hissing of Summer Lawns marks Joni Mitchell’s shift from doing her own brand of pop music to experimental music and jazz. The thing that I loved about this album, more than anything, was the increasing presence of the Joni Mitchell harmonies. These four part harmony overdubs, that she is so famous for, are on every track. I love that about her sound more than anything else. The lyrics on this album were all over the place, as were the musical sounds. It was jazz one minute, experimental the next with flourishes of classical and swing music to boot. Mitchell did have that much leverage at this point in her career. She was free to do as she pleased and that right was fought for by Mitchell. That is what I admire most about this album. Musically, it can sometimes be a mess but, it is what the songwriter and artist wanted and that is what matters on this album. Highlights include: In France They Kiss On Main Street, The Jungle Line (one of the first songs to use a sample; Mitchell sampled a field recording of African drumming), Edith and The Kingpin, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Harry’s House/Centerpiece and Shadows and Light. Overall, I give The Hissing of Summer Lawns, 4 out of 5.

Next: Nighthawks at The Diner by Tom Waits

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