New Release: Joni Mitchell, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced

Monday, November 24, 2014
New Release: Joni Mitchell, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced

When Joni Mitchell hit the big 7-1 back on November 7, we put together a playlist in celebration of the famed Canadian singer-songwriter, talked a bit about her life and times and general awesomeness, and oh so casually mentioned how we were only a few short weeks away from the release of a new four-disc box set bearing “about as Mitchell-esque a title as you could hope for.” Well, the wait is over: Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to be Danced is now in stores…and, c’mon, were we right about that title, or were we right?

As our press release for the collection revealed, the collection was first conceived as the music to a ballet about love, but after spending 18 months trying to distill everything she’d written about love—and the lack of it—down to a single disc, Mitchell opted to abandon the ballet. “I wanted the music to feel like a total work—a new work,” she explains in the liner notes to the set. “No matter what I did, though, at that length, it remained merely a collection of songs.”

Rather than give up, she kept on sequencing and re-sequencing the material, eventually hitting creative paydirt. “I am a painter who writes songs,” she writes. “My songs are very visual. The words create scenes… What I have done here is to gather some of these scenes (like a documentary filmmaker) and by juxtaposition, edit them into a whole new work.”

And what a work it is, one which isn’t just limited to the music: in addition to the 53 songs, which Mitchell has organized into different thematic acts, the package also includes a book which features 54 lyrical poems, six new paintings, and an autobiographical text which allows listeners to peer into her recording process.

Putting Love Has Many Faces together felt decidedly cinematic to Mitchell, which is only fair when one considers the epic life she’s lived. “I had forty years of footage to review,” she writes. “Then, suddenly, scenes began to hook up. Then series began to form. Instead of it being an emotional roller coaster ride as it was before—crammed into one disc—themes began to develop. Moods sustained. I was getting there…When this long editorial process (two years) finally came to rest, I had four ballets or a four-act ballet—a quartet. I also had a box set.”

And now you have one, too.

Here’s the track listing, so you can see the diversity of the selections and the unique manner in which they’re ordered, but rest assured that you won’t be able to experience the full effect of Love Has Many Faces without listening to it yourself from start to finish.

Disc 1
1. "In France They Kiss On Main Street"
2. "Ray's Dad's Cadillac"
3. "You Turn Me On I’m A Radio"
4. "Harlem In Havana"
5. "Car On a Hill"
6. "Dancin Clown"
7. "River"
8. "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody"
9. "Harry's House/Centerpiece"
10. "Shades of Scarlett Conquering"
11. "Number One"
12. "The Windfall (Everything For Nothing)"
13. "Come In From the Cold"

Disc 2
1. "Court and Spark"
2. "No Apologies"
3. "Trouble Child"
4. "Not to Blame"
5. "Nothing Can Be Done"
6. "Comes Love"
7. "Moon At the Window"
8. "Blue"
9. "Tax Free"
10. "The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey"
11. "Hana"
12. "Hejira"
13. "Stay In Touch"
14. "Night Ride Home"

Disc 3
1. "You're My Thrill"
2. "The Crazy Cries of Love"
3. "Love Puts On a New Face"
4. "Borderline"
5. "A Strange Boy"
6. "You Dream Flat Tires"
7. "Love"
8. "All I Want"
9. "Be Cool"
10. "Yvette In English"
11. "Just Like This Train"
12. "Carey"
13. "The Only Joy In Town"

Disc 4
1. "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"
2. "Two Grey Rooms"
3. "God Must Be a Boogie Man"
4. "Down To You"
5. "A Case of You"
6. "The Last Time I Saw Richard"
7. "Raised on Robbery"
8. "Sweet Sucker Dance"
9. "Lakota"
10. "Cool Water"
11. "Amelia"
12. "Both Sides Now"
13. "My Best To You"