Joni Mitchell’s Top 10 Albums

Joni Mitchell’s Top 10 Albums (in order)

  1. Blue (1971) — I think every track on this album is a bril­liant, hence why my playlist below of my favorite Joni songs is, like, half Blue and half every other album she wrote (lol). This album is an ALBUM in every sense of the word: com­pletely wor­thy of being played from begin­ning to end for the full expe­ri­ence, but also a remark­able set of indi­vid­ual vignettes that play as sin­gles as well. My favorites? “Lit­tle Green,” “Carey,” “My Old Man,” “All I Want,” “A Case Of You,” “Blue,” “California”.….okay, okay that’s 7 of the 10 tracks…I’ll stop.
  2. Miles of Aisles (1974) — This is a dou­ble live album from a per­for­mance in L.A. on the Court & Spark tour. To me, this album is quite sim­ply the great­est live album ever recorded [a looooong sec­ond to Erykah Badu’s live album]. I give this pres­ti­gious title to Miles of Aisles because Joni rein­ter­prets her own songs with new arrange­ments. It’s so lively and fiery and fun to lis­ten to, but it’s also com­pletely remark­able that she was able to actu­ally rein­vent her cat­a­logue like that. The honky­tonk funky re-do of “Big Yel­low Taxi” is SO GOOD, but the same can be said for every sin­gle other track!
  3. Misses (1996) — Released on the same date as her great­est hits album, this compilation’s tracks were cho­sen by Mitchell her­self, and her selec­tions con­cen­trate on her lesser known, more exper­i­men­tal work (jazz-influenced record­ings from the late 1970’s and elec­tronic music from the 1980s). Wikipedia says that Mitchell agreed to a request from her record com­pany to release a great­est hits album on the con­di­tion that she would also be allowed to release Misses. I can’t decide if I like it bet­ter than Hits. And don’t you love those album cov­ers (pic­tures above!)? She’s a genius! I remem­ber when I first saw these album cov­ers in col­lege, I was like “she’s an artist, through and through”…only years later when I started get­ting into biogra­phies and discogra­phies and research­ing artists did I really fully find out to what extent she was a com­plete artist, work­ing to cre­ate all of her album cov­ers and liner notes, and of course becom­ing a painter later in her career.
  4. Hits (1996) — Joni’s great­est hits release in 1996 was, quite sim­ply, remark­able. I know I prob­a­bly shouldn’t have a great­est hits album on a list like this, but most of her stu­dio albums (with the obvi­ous excep­tion of Blue), have a few great tracks, but aren’t 100%, and a great­est hits is quite sim­ply a great way to break into Joni. It was my first Joni album, and led to great things and super­fan­dom, so it comes highly recommended!!
  5. Court & Spark (1974) — My #1 Joni song when I was in col­lege was “Help Me” from this album. I also love love love “Court & Spark,” “Down To You,” “People’s Par­ties,” “Same Sit­u­a­tion,” “Free Man in Paris”.
  6. Ladies of The Canyon (1970) — So many great tracks on this album! “The Cir­cle Game” is my favorite, but of course you’ve also got “Wood­stock,” “Big Yel­low Taxi,” and “The Arrangement”.
  7. Clouds (1969) — “Chelsea Morn­ing” and “Both Sides Now” are my favorites from this album.
  8. For The Roses (1974) — “Ban­quet,” “For The Roses,” and the amaz­ing and fun “You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio”.
  9. Night Ride Home (1991)- “Pas­sion Play (When All The Slaves Are Free) is by far the best track,” but “Come In From The Cold” and “Noth­ing Can Be Done” are good too!
  10. Hejira (1976) — I’m such a huge fan of “Coy­ote” that this album stands on that track alone. In gen­eral, I’m not a fan of Joni’s elec­tronic and jazz-experiment years (mid-1970’s to present).

3 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    Prob­a­bly a func­tion of my age (at least in part), but I would put #‘s 5, 6 and 7 at #2–4 — and #6 would be my #2. But that’s just me.

    • Yeah, Ladies Of The Canyon should have been higher, though I don’t think higher than her sick sick sick incred­i­ble live album Miles of Aisles.…I did not do right by Ladies Of The Canyon here. I should never pub­lish an entry at midnight!

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