Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way
But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all
(excerpt of Joni Mitchell’s lyrics for Both Sides Now, full lyrics here)
Some songs, some records, some voices stay, and I listen, again and again. Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now is one of these albums. And her song Both Sides Now is one of these songs. It is so rare that music and lyrics are both so personal and in perfect union as I find is the case with Joni Mitchell’s work.
On the record, Wayne Shorter, one of my favourite musicians, plays haunting improvisations, always at the core of the song. And then there’s the arranging of Vince Mendoza. The entire album is fantastic. There’s You’re My Thrill. There is Comes Love. And there is You’ve Changed. She’s killing it, really.
There’s a beautiful live version, too.
And there are many live versions from much earlier.
To see how a song can evolve, have its own life almost, is so beautiful. And to listen again and again to Joni Mitchell singing it makes me happy. And sad. And helps me to live.