|1. Tin Angel|
|2. Chelsea Morning|
|3. I Don't Know Where I Stand|
|4. That Song About The Midway|
|5. Roses Blue|
|6. The Gallery|
|7. I Think I Understand|
|8. Songs To Aging Children Come|
|9. The Fiddle And The Drum|
|10. Both Sides Now|
'Clouds' is, in my estimation, a weak link in Joni Mitchell's early works, but that criticism must be tempered by the recognition that 'Ladies of the Canyon', 'Blue', and 'For the Roses' are all classics of the era. It should also be noted that the album does include what may well be Joni's finest composition, 'Both Sides, Now', which is to Mitchell what 'Like a Rolling Stone' or 'Blowin' In the Wind' is to Bob Dylan: a defining composition. Judy Collins, whose status as a performer was advanced well beyond Mitchell's at the time, turned 'Both Sides, Now' into a Top Ten hit, but despite her undeniable vocal talents the charting version has nothing on the take Mitchell offers here. Interestingly Collins also took another of Mitchell's songs from this disc, 'Chelsea Morning', and parlayed it into another hit song.
Sad to say, most of the rest of 'Clouds' does not live up to these two quality tracks. The one exception is the a capella 'The Fiddle and the Drum'.Read more ›
Clouds, on the other hand, introduced a more wide-open Joni, her soaring soprano far freer than on the debut, with simpler song and lyrical structure and a mountain-spring-water-purity to the recording after Dave Crosby's muddy castle-fortress echo. Once again, the arrangements consist mainly of singer and guitar, although her voice is doubled and trebled more often, and the playing is closer to campfire strumming than on Song to a Seagull. The songs on Clouds convey a lush romanticism made heartbreaking and wistful by tales of love that is at turns found, lost, uncertain, or doomed. The album also unveils her own interpretations of several of her standards - "Tin Angel," "Chelsea Morning," "I Don't Know Where I Stand," "Both Sides Now." The playing and lyrics are Joni at her most straightforward, and her voice is at its gorgeous best on some of the tracks.
Although I love this album, I would rank it below several of her other pre-"Don Juan" discs - it is certainly my least favorite of her first period (the straightforward acoustic period, coinciding with her first four albums). It doesn't have the curious charm of the debut or the soul-deep passion of Blue.Read more ›