Picks and Pans Review: Turbulent Indigo

updated 10/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Joni Mitchell

Over the years, Joni Mitchell has tackled nearly every musical genre: She has been a lovelorn folkie on Blue (1971); an esoteric easy-listening warbler on The Hissing of Summer Lawns ('75); a jazz-fusionist on Mingus ('79); and a political synth-popster on Dog Eat Dog ('85). On her 17th album, Turbulent Indigo, rather than setting out in yet another new direction, the Canadian songbird simply mingles past styles with a newfound clarity and candor. "Sunny Sunday" offers delicate Blue-era acoustic strumming, while "Yvette in English" and the title song recall the tuneful, impressionistic mood of Mitchell's late 70s albums. Though a few of her titles are as opaque as ever—"Magdalene Laundries" and "The Sire of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song)," for example—her lyrics aren't. "Sex Kills" thrives on musical tension and one powerful couplet: "Sex sells everything/ And sex kills." Airy, yet tightly-structured tunes like "How Do You Stop" (on which Mitchell sounds strikingly Chrissie Hynde-esque) and "Last Chance Lost" offer a welcome respite from the meandering tendencies of Mitchell's previous work. Such enchanting moments make Indigo a highlight in Mitchell's brilliant career. (Reprise)

From Our Partners