An album note of a considerable length, this is an interesting autobiographical writing that provides readers with personal experiences and muse in Joni Mitchell’s musical life in relation to her works. The writing mostly is about her processes of making music (ones that are included in the album, obviously), freely trying new ideas using various sound sources, meeting new people who like and hate her music, and interacting with them, sometimes with ease, or with difficulties. The language used is largely plain, and there are many short, simple sentences along with frequent quotes, giving the note an almost speech-like tone which one can relaxedly enjoy. Therefore, considering the significance of the album as “a remastered collection of her greatest hits” (NME News Desk, 2014), readers – many of whom would be her fans – would find this a great accompaniment to the music, from which they can know more about background stories behind compositions, and about Joni as a person as well as an artist.
Storytelling being the main constituent, “the goal is not… to ‘sell’ their musical product’ for this liner note (Biron, 2011: 6). Rather, according to Biron’s typology of liner literature (2011: 9). it is to be considered expository, for neither does she try to describe technical elements used in the music, nor is she being didactic to make readers accept her ideas. As noted in the same article, “written language must inevitably fall short… of capturing the essence of music (it can never actually be what it is describing)” (Biron, 2011: 3-4). Thus, assuming many of the readers would be people with no profound musical education, such approach to writing liner notes can be effective in enhancing listening experiences without necessarily involving complicated understanding processes.
An engaging read it is, transitions from a story of one song (or person) to another sometimes seemed abrupt and confusing to follow, especially without knowing well about Joni Mitchell and her songs. What can be also responsible for this is the lack of clear signposts – the only visible ones being capitalised titles which appear rather randomly anywhere in paragraphs – while the note being lengthy. Nonetheless, it seems obvious from comments on the webpage that it successfully pleases Joni Mitchell fans with no trouble.
Biron, Dean. L. “Writing and Music: Album Liner Notes.” PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies 8, no. 1 (2011) http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/portal/issue/view/119
Heselgrave, Douglas. “Joni Mitchell gets it right with her third career-spanning compilation.” Paste, December 30, 2014. https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/12/joni-mitchell-love-has-many-faces-review.html
Mitchell, Joni. “Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced. Album Notes.” Joni Mitchell official website. November 24, 2014. http://jonimitchell.com/music/album.cfm?id=33
NME News Desk. “‘Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced’ will come out in November.” New Music Express. Oct 15, 2014. http://www.nme.com/news/music/joni-mitchell-9-1238741