Joni Mitchell — Both Sides Now
I discovered this album through Miley Cyrus’ Instagram. Most people probably recognise it from Love Actually where Emma Thompson’s character gets it for Christmas, discovers her husband has another woman and promptly disappears upstairs to listen to the title track and cry. Not the best advertising for this extraordinary piece. I told my Dad how I wanted to get it on Vinyl and he was like ‘Urg, but think of Love Actually, it’s so depressing’. Point proven. Anyway, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed at 3am on New Year’s Day and Miley had posted a picture of the album cover and the song ‘I wish I were in love again’.
I love that song. I love that sentiment. So I listened to it. Then I listened to Both Sides Now. Then I listened to the entire album and was amazed at it’s wholeness. The way it follows a relationship’s beginning and end so effortlessly. Joni’s voice has always been mournful and I love how it runs through even the hopeful songs because so often the greatest loves come from the greatest pains and even then, they might not make it.
Thanks to Joni, I find myself gulping on the bus, relieved that someone has written music that aligns with my heart. Even in the nucleus of a good relationship, it takes time to process the past. Love gets more confusing the more you open your heart. That’s what this album teaches me: the complexity of love and the way it never allows you to feel simply.
Love is complicated but it’s also simple. That’s the paradox. That’s what Joni expresses. How easy it is to be thrilled, how quickly we can become disillusioned, jealous and anxious and how desperately we continue to love even when our hearts are a broken mess on the floor.