Sunday, September 19, 2010

For The Birds: Song To A Seagull

Joni Mitchell: Song To A Seagull


Birds can go where we cannot, and most of us envision the open endless aether as pure somehow. It's no wonder their winged journey through the sky seems much like escape to our literate, flightless race; no wonder so many birdsongs pay jealous tribute to flight, both literal and metaphoric.

Here, as in so many other songs about birds, our patron saint Joni projects her debut dreams into the air, giving them the feathers that she herself has shed, adapting instead to the hard concrete life of the city only to find that her life, like the seaside, has become deserted and unfit for survival - except for the seagulls, ever out of reach and alive, like her heart, overhead.

Yes, I know Darius posted the song last year, but I figure any chance to bring the woman whose lyrics form our mandate forward is a bonus. And yes, it's a bit overwrought, and a bit formulaic - Joni wouldn't truly master the confessional lens that made her so celebrated for a few albums yet - but this title track from her debut certainly hints of the mastery to come.

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