Taming The Tiger

Joni Mitchell

Reprise Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: JB

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/13/1999

The synthesizers are so warm. I've never heard such warm synthesizers outside a Hammond organ. It's euphoric in a fuzzy impression of hearth, good friends and wine in "My Best To You", it's the brief and otherworldly edge of twilight in "Man From Mars", it's the smoky colors and Billie Holiday in "Harlem In Havana". Her voice is so blues. It's the "kiss my ass" anger in "Lead Balloon", underflowing and sweet in "The Crazy Cries Of Love", understanding-exasperated-loving (somehow at the same time) in "Face Lift".bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

Definitely not your generic folk (and folk is getting generic... what a paradox!). There are some songs where I thought "What? She did that? She's allowed to do that?", especially when she deliberately cancels entire beats in some bars, "bunking" them to the next one. Other times she has this enviable indifference when she borrows what she wants from different genres to produce her own sound. I feel jealous, because I'm shallow that way, and respectful because her talent is so there underneath the pie crust layer.

So some of the stuff is obviously a little too 70's. "No Apologies" disdains that "lawyers and loan sharks/are laying America to waste" and that our ecosystem is failing, while in "Face Lift" she talks about getting flack for "shacking up." But the title track Taming The Tiger lives in the current like no other track I've heard lately. "I'm a runaway from the record biz/From the hoods in the hood/And the whinny white kids/Boring!" Exactly. Squeeze in David Morales somewhere and I'll be yours forever.

Who should get this album? Aside from folk fans, I propose it to blues and Enya fans. It's an album worth the money and indulging oneself in. It's one of those albums one can fall asleep to. And as if it matters, it's practically on the best albums of the year list on every critical publication (including the Vault's own). You'll never want to go back to "genuine junkfood for juveniles."

Rating: A-

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© 1999 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.