Dr. Carolyn Kelley
Men; What’re They Good For?
Joni Mitchell is a talented lyricist to say the least, and her sixth album “Court and Spark” is testimony to her whimsical way with words. The album gets personal, lending insight into the rocky roads of Mitchell’s past relationships, her insecurities with love, and, above all, the deeply rooted trust issues she has with men. The man she molds throughout the album is distant and unfaithful, shallow and overly critical; he is a man who keeps Mitchell at a distance, which in turn keeps Mitchell fleeing from the prison gates of love. In songs like “Court and Spark”, “Help Me” and “Car on a Hill” listeners ...view middle of the document...
Stereotypically, a gypsy is not a person you would trust with your money, let alone your heart.
“Help Me” is another song that shows Mitchell mistrusts men because it is in their nature to be unfaithful. Mitchell repeats that she is in trouble because she is falling in love again with a man that cannot be trusted; “Cause you’re a rambler, and a gambler, and a sweet talking ladies man. And you love your loving, but not like you love your freedom.”(Mitchell, “Help Me.” Verse 1, Lines 7-10) Her guard is up because she knows men like this one and has most likely been with one in her past. Thus, she is aware that his appeal might be misleading since he is a “sweet talking ladies man” and therefore enjoys his freedom to flirt with as many ladies as he pleases. Consequently, Mitchell slyly asks, “You dance with the lady with the hole in her stocking, didn’t it feel good.”(Mitchell, “Help Me.” Verse 3, Lines 5-7) Her question is rhetorical because she is sure he loves the self-determining life of being single. Mitchell is not surprised that a man with a tongue as slick as a snake will also wrap himself around the body of another woman. With knowledge to the nature of this ‘bad boy’, she cannot, and will not, trust him, and so she laments for help to keep from falling into a lonely love.
“Car on a Hill” is yet another song in Mitchell’s soundtrack that depicts an unfaithful man who has left her waiting in vain. Waiting in vain for three hours to be exact. You can sense Mitchell’s fear that he has found another ‘friend’ in her lyrics, “He makes friends easy, he’s not like me, I watch for judgment anxiously. Now where in the city can that boy be?”(Mitchell, “Car on a Hill.” Verse 2, Lines 1-5) Though their relationship is one most likely based on sex, throughout the song, Mitchell is coming to the difficult realization that they have no potential for romantic commitment and he has stood her up for someone else. “You know he seemed so righteous at the start when there’s so much laughter, when there’s so much spark, when there’s so much sweetness in the dark”(Mitchell, “Car on a Hill.” Verse 4, Lines 1-4) He seems honest at the beginning of the relationship because things are easy and fun, but with the passing of time it is proved to Mitchell that he was never looking for anything serious. The ‘spark’ in their relationship has fizzled for him and, thus, he is ready to move on in search for the freshness of a new fling.
Joni Mitchell believes that men are shallow when it comes to women. She paints a picture of a man who is mainly concerned with sex and superficial about a woman’s looks in the fourth song of her album, “People’s Parties.” Mitchell writes, “Photo Beauty gets...