Saturday, August 8, 2009


Today I spent the afternoon with three of my favorite ladies: Joni Mitchell (via her 1994 album Turbulent Indigo), Alison Moyet (via 2002's Hometime) and Rickie Lee Jones (via 1993's Traffic From Paradise).

Hometime made it onto my Friday soundtrack by default. I've been listening to Alison's grand 2008 opus, The Turn, for the better part of a week, and it was time to give it a rest. But I still wanted more Alison, and that's where Hometime came in. Rickie Lee Jones doesn't make guest appearances on my daily playlist nearly enough, but she's perfect for a day like today when I'm almost blue but not quite wallowing in melancholy.

And Joni. Well, it's been years since I listened to Turbulent Indigo front to back, but circa 1993-1994, along with Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and token male Babyface's For The Cool In You, it pretty much dominated my days and nights. "And the gas leaks, and the oil spills, and sex sells everything. Sex kills!" Joni sings on song 2, "Sex Kills" (see her doing it live below). My boyfriend at the time once pointed out that "gas leaks" and "oil spills" could both be taken either as nouns or as subject-verbs, rendering the song even more brilliantly multi-dimensional. I nodded in agreement, and played it again.

Listening to Joni sing about life (the dead-right socio-political observations of the aforementioned "Sex Kills"), love (her cover of James Brown's "How Do You Stop?," featuring then-pop superstar Seal on harmony) and pain ("Not To Blame," a song rumored to have been directed at Jackson Browne, who had been accused of physically abusing his then-girlfriend Daryl Hannah), my mind got to wondering. Why don't more young gay men (especially here in Buenos Aires) open their minds and ears, shake up their steady pop musical diets, and obsess over someone other than Britney, Madonna and GaGa? Most of my peers probably know Joni (if they know her at all) from the sample of "Big Yellow Taxi" on Janet Jackson's "Got Till It's Gone" single. But listen up, guys: You are what you eat as much as you are what you listen to. Now open up and say... Ahh!

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