Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now
Not your typically saccharine album of standards
Do not be put off by the knowledge that this is mostly an album of standards. Joni Mitchell doing standards is not the same as Rod Stewart or Michael McDonald taking on the songbooks. And although it featured in the movie Love, Actually, it's not the treacly treat that movie was. For Both Sides Now, Mitchell joined forces with the London Symphony Orchestra to come up with this plush, smoky set, not recommended listening if you've been having too many bad days. "You're My Thrill" is ostensibly a happy song about liking someone a whole lot, but Mitchell sings it with an emphasis on all that one risks when in love: "Here's my heart on a silver platter." Yikes. The album ends with the song that a twentysomething Mitchell once sang with such flowery beauty, "Both Sides Now." But the pathos, and all the years of living audible in her voice, have changed its features, making it something handsome and sage.