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Fri Sep 30, 2022, 01:14 PM

 

Luckiest Music Generation: Joni Mitchell, Help Me

My son and I like to play a game we call "Music of Your Life." The idea is to pick a kind of song that was popular when you were a certain age. "Best Instrumental Hit Song When Age 8." That sort of thing. One of the challenges we had was, "Popular Song You Liked More When You were Older." I didn't even have to think about which one would qualify. I knew, right away.

Joni Mitchell released "Help Me" when I was 11 or 12, and, while I sort of liked it at the time, it was a bit beyond my ability to "get" at that age, lyrically and musically. I got both when I hit my 20s, and it's been a favorite ever since:



She's one of my son's favorite "oldie" musicians. Something about "crazy awesome" guitar tunings that he's been hunting down to try. I have no idea what that's about, but I'm glad he likes her music as much as I do.

He's also the inspiration for the thread title, after he declared my generation the luckiest for the sheer quality and diversity of music that we had at our fingertips, simply by turning on the radio. He even declared us "spoiled" for having access to so much great music that we had the luxury of hating "Torn Between Two Lovers" as the "Worst #1 Song When I Was 15."

Which I stand by, to this day.

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Reply Luckiest Music Generation: Joni Mitchell, Help Me (Original post)
Genki Hikari Sep 2022 OP
dweller Sep 2022 #1
thucythucy Sep 2022 #4
dweller Sep 2022 #5
thucythucy Sep 2022 #2
Genki Hikari Sep 2022 #7
catbyte Sep 2022 #3
Genki Hikari Sep 2022 #6
catbyte Sep 2022 #8
Genki Hikari Sep 2022 #9

Response to Genki Hikari (Original post)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 01:36 PM

1. Her open tunings are fun to play

once you figured them out. Back when I was playing I figured out a couple, and they were essential to playing Joniís tunes. I remember she used open G , D and I think E, which is used in this tune.

https://m.


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Response to dweller (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 01:42 PM

4. I love that album:


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Response to thucythucy (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 01:55 PM

5. Me too

It was the one JM songbook I bought, and was introduced to open tunings.

✌🏻

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Response to Genki Hikari (Original post)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 01:40 PM

2. Those "crazy awesome guitar tunings"

your son is eager to explore I suspect is a reference to how Mitchell tunes her guitar to various chords other than the standard tuning with E on top and bottom strings. Tuning a guitar this way changes everything--fingerings are totally different, and strumming open chords gives you that airy, kind of melancholy sound Mitchell so often uses in her songs.

The story I heard is that she began doing this because she lacks the hand strength to play in the common tuning. She had polio as a child, which left her with weaker upper body strength.

I think my favorite album is "Blue" but that's today. "For the Roses" is also up there, as well as "Court and Spark."

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 02:07 PM

7. Thanks for trying to explain it to me

 

My son tried to explain it, too, but it's stuff I can sort of get...but not really. He had to sit down with his guitars, all of them tuned a bit differently, to let me hear for myself how different they sounded to each other. That's about as far as I could get without my brain melting.

So I take your word for it creating a different sound. And his.

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Response to Genki Hikari (Original post)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 01:40 PM

3. He's not wrong, lol. I was born in 1955 so I got to experience the best of the best.

It's so much fun to watch young people react to the music I took for granted. There's a YouTube channel, Andy and Alex and they're really fun. They're musicians themselves so they really appreciate the talent and their insights are bang on. Watching them react for the first time to a song I've heard for 50 years makes me appreciate it all over again.

Btw, I HATED that song, too, and still hate it to this day. Also "Having My Baby" by Paul Anka.

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Response to catbyte (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 02:04 PM

6. What shocked me

 

Was that he not only didn't hate Torn Between Two Lovers, but declared it better than 90% of Top 40 since the early 90s. I didn't believe him, until he started showing me videos of Billboard's Top 100 of successive years--it kept getting worse and worse. Just awful stuff. And I was trying to find the good, because I'm an ornery cuss. If you tell me something is bad out of hand, I will go out of my way to find something good about it.

But it wasn't good.

I'll admit I'm an idiot who doesn't understand things like key changes or modulation or chord progressions, but I do know when something doesn't sound, "right." My son the music whiz tried to explain why my ears weren't deceiving me, but it went over my head. He finally said, "It doesn't sound right to you because so much of it is flat-out crappy songwriting."

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Response to Genki Hikari (Reply #6)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 02:16 PM

8. I can't dissect a piece of music either but I know what I like.

I thought I was just getting old and crabby in a "YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!" sort of way when it comes to today's music sounding alike and annoying, but there are a surprising number of young people who feel the same so maybe I'm not too far gone.

I hate "sappy" songs and "Torn Between Two Lovers" is the epitome of it. I'm not a metalhead, but yuck, I despise that song!

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Response to catbyte (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 30, 2022, 02:19 PM

9. Anka was always kinda weird

 

He seemed to write a lot of squicky gooey songs, like Having My Baby or Puppy Love. Gave me the creeps.

I liked Diana, though, mainly for that short, but soaring chorus. That wasn't bad stuff at all.

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