Speaking of Wintertime, another album that always calls to me when the skies turn grey and the temperature drops is Joni Mitchell's Blue -- maybe because the song "River" is the best Christmas-themed song ever, maybe because the chill in the air always makes me feel more introspective, maybe because it's one of the best albums through and through...I inevitably put it on the turntable as the holidays approach.
Each song is a confession, a poem, a truth. Although I love the whole record, side two is really where my heart lies, starting with "California" and running through "Last Time I Saw Richard." All in all, the tracks capture the whole heady feeling of falling in love-- the anticipation and longing, the obsessive and insatiable qualities of it all. "River" is a break from that falling, looking back on a relationship failure with loss and regret. After jumping right back into love with "A Case of You," side two then winds down with "Last Time I Saw Richard," a song about the bitterness of one who has found and lost love and understands its mechanics, countered by the unstoppable dreamy hope of a romantic still searching. Even though this album is celebrated by music fans world-wide and has been for decades, I somehow always feel like it was written just for me every time I put it on. That's how the best albums always feel, I think.
Even though the December sky has turned grey, I can still see touches of blue out there.