Night Ride Home

Night Ride Home

On 1991’s Night Ride Home, Joni Mitchell returned to the jazz-rock sound of ‘70s albums like Hejira and Mingus. In contrast to the synthesizer-dominated tracks on her ‘80s releases, this work has a more open, organic feel, defined by Mitchell’s supple guitar and Larry Klein’s empathetic bass. Night Ride Home is notable as well for its melodic content — these songs are among the most tuneful Mitchell had written in years. But what lingers most are the lyrics. By turns regretful, nostalgic and searing, they explore inner landscapes within the context of their times. In stinging language, Mitchell traces the course of betrayal in “The Windfall” and “Nothing Can Be Done.” A flirtatious spirit sparks “The Only Joy In Town,” and recollections of teenaged passion light up “Ray’s Dad’s Cadillac.” “Come in From The Cold” surveys the mores of lovemaking since the ‘50s with a wry sort of longing. Mitchell reaches a particular peak with “Cherokee Louise,” one of the most compassionate character sketches she’s ever recorded. Pleasing on its surface, Night Ride Home contains a wealth of subtleties that invite repeated discovery.

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