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Music Geek Track of the Day: ‘California’ By Joni Mitchell

Music Geek Track of the Day: ‘California’ By Joni Mitchell

Some days are filled with great news, and in the words of Joni Mitchell, other days you are “reading the news and it sure looks bad.” For a moment today, it looked like one of the latter, as rumors that Mitchell had fallen into an unresponsive coma spread quickly around the internet. Thankfully, it turns out that TMZ got the story wrong, and that Mitchell, according to her official website, is still expected to make a full recovery after being found unconscious in her home about a month ago.

I originally chose the song “Blue” when rumors started to circulate and was relieved to be able to change my song selection when the news turned out to be untrue. Sure, there is also melancholy in the song “California”, but more important is the comfort in the idea of returning home to see the people you dig and sharing stories about all your travels, wherever they may have taken you.

One of my all time favorite Mitchell lyrics occurs in this song in the form of an impossibly vivid and succinct vignette: “I met a redneck on a Grecian isle, who did the goat dance very well. He gave me back my smile, but he kept my camera to sell.”

God, what I would give to write like that.

In half of a stanza, Mitchell captures the worthwhile investment in optimism, though we are all subject to equally erratic vicissitudes. She may have lost her camera to a redneck thief on that Grecian isle, but he gave her something way more valuable in return. That image of her smiling for the first time in a while as the sun brushes her cheeks is what I will think about as she continues to recover. Get well soon, Jonie.

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