Joni Mitchell

30 of the Most Californian Albums Ever Made

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The defining musical style of the state of California largely depends on who you ask and what their allegiances are. Is it the West Coast hip-hop that came out of South Central LA in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which blended racial consciousness and gangsta rap in a way that’s never quite been duplicated since? Is it the SoCal punk scene, from X to Black Flag to the pop- and ska-tinged punk that dominated the ’90s? How about the Laurel Canyon sound that blended folk and rock, and spawned some of the greatest albums of the early ’70s? Or the classic rock of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury in the ’60s, as led by the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane? Or maybe it was the dripping-with-excess hard rock and hair metal scene that took shape on the Sunset Strip throughout the 1980s. And what about The Beach Boys and the generations of surf-pop imitators they spawned? When we heard that Best Coast was releasing an album called California Nights this week, we got to thinking: What’s the quintessential California sound? Our list of quintessential California albums is an attempt — or 30 — to answer that …Read More

Why We Love Joan Didion and Joni Mitchell as Iconography

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The idea of Joan Didion-as-symbol has been floating around in the ether lately. It’s quick cultural shorthand to say that, particularly if you are a middle-class white girl with writerly aspirations, you have good taste in writing, which in the case of “Joan Didion” may also translate to, “I have good taste/I could work for Vogue/I could see the dim future of a rotten decade and take to my bed for days, an aura around my head.”
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The 50 Greatest Crush Songs Ever

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This week, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O releases her debut solo album, and it happens to have a very specific theme that caught our attention here at Flavorwire HQ: songs about crushes. But Karen O’s oftentimes sad, solemn songs only represent one side of the experience of having a crush. So we got to thinking: what songs about longing stick with us after the thrill of the chase turns into something deeper? Which serve as a salve when you find out that your crush isn’t mutual? What about the ones that give you the nerve to try and steal your crush away from someone else? Or how those that capture the thrilling promise of something new? All of these oh-so-complicated scenarios are represented here, in our unranked list of the 50 greatest crush songs ever …Read More

Sing It, Sister: How Pop Music Can Heal a Heartbreak

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I didn’t “get” Taylor Swift, really, until I had suffered an overwhelming amount of heartbreak. Last summer, I spent a few weekends in Westerly, Rhode Island, where my fiancé’s friend owned a home. The buzz there over Memorial Day was all about Taylor Swift, who had bought a multimillion-dollar home in Watch Hill, right off the main strip that ran through town. Everyone I heard talking about Taylor Swift seemed to be annoyed at her presence, which was, basically, just as a specter. I never had much of an opinion about her, because, other than the few upbeat songs of hers I’d heard on the radio, I hadn’t devoted much time to her. Then my fiancé broke up with me, and that’s when I listened to “Dear John” for the first time.
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