Why Do We Love Joni Mitchell the Way We Do?

Nick Coleman at Literary Hub:

Mitchell settled in the imaginations of pop listeners in the early 70s. In the UK, “Big Yellow Taxi” was a biggish hit in the summer of 1970, its glassily sardonic reflections upon humanity’s relationship with the environment marking out the flaxen-haired Scando-Canadian hippie-chick who sang it as a poster girl for a certain kind of wholesome big-R Romanticism. She was fey, frowning, Nordically bony, the perfect package for the deal: a one-take archetype. What the songs didn’t articulate and the voice didn’t swoop upon like a slender bird, the hair flowed over in a river of molten gold. Like nature busily abhorring a vacuum, Mitchell flooded space that ought perhaps to have been filled by an array of other women before her: the role of thoughtful, poetically articulate, unsentimental, insubordinate, self-expressive female countercultural pop icon. It was a tough job and maybe Mitchell didn’t ask for it, but she certainly got it and then did it with never less than questioning commitment.

more here.