Like many people, Blue (1971) is my favorite album of Joni Mitchell. It’s a work of art from beginning to end, and never fails to move me.
But I think the best three song sequence she every laid down is the final three songs of her 1970 album Ladies of the Canyon.
10. Big Yellow Taxi
12. The Circle Game
These three songs, taken individually, belong on any greatest hits list. Together, they are a towering statement of protest, perspective, and individual power.
Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot…
We are stardust, we are golden.
We are billion-year-old carbon.
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden…
And the seasons go ’round and ’round,
And the painted ponies go up and down.
We’re captive on the carousel of time.
We can’t return, we can only look
Behind from where we came,
And go ’round and ’round and ’round
in the Circle Game…
In word and tune, a perfect and powerful journey.
It merits a listen today.