Album Review: “Court and Spark” By Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell live in 1970 - Character Driven / Youtube
The sixth album under her belt, Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell, had the singer-songwriter incorporated jazz and pop influences into her native folk style, making a valiant effort to bring a new sound into her fold. Its consistency has been the subject of high praise throughout the years, some even considering it as a concept album due to Mitchell’s somber take on love and relationships.
The title track opens the album is emotionally-contained, a slow and simmering track with some strong accents in the mix. Next is “Help Me”, a pop ballad with great musicality and a profound lyrical theme. Following it is “Free Man In Paris”, an acoustic-driven track complemented by a shuffle beat with major chords weaving in and out of the progression. “People’s Parties” is some sort of a filler with its recurring verses and ties into the first side’s closer, “Same Situation”, a carefully-crafted track with emotive guitar parts and melancholic melodies.
“Car On A Hill” starts off with a funk arrangement until it goes a bit experimental as the song concludes, while “Down To You” is full-on modulation that loses a bit of its charm the longer it goes. “Just Like This Train” rains positive energy with its acoustic composition and refers to relationships in its lyrical analogy. “Raised On Robbery” is the one true rocker of this album, which had the help of The Band’s Robbie Robertson on lead guitars, while “Trouble Child” is soft rock at its finest. Closing the album is “Twisted”, a humorous jab at the main character’s idiosyncrasies.
Court and Spark became a stepping stone into Mitchell’s foray into jazz-rock territory and a success at that. And while her subsequent efforts didn’t get much attention as this one, it became an avenue to continue her interests in the said genre.