Girls Like Us: The Women of the 70s Rate (#13: You said you loved me, or were you just being kind?) | Page 28 | The Popjustice Forum

Girls Like Us: The Women of the 70s Rate (#13: You said you loved me, or were you just being kind?)

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Lila, Jun 10, 2019.


Which is your favourite album here?

  1. Blue - Joni Mitchell

    12 vote(s)
  2. Between the Lines - Janis Ian

    4 vote(s)
  3. New York Tendaberry - Laura Nyro

    1 vote(s)
  4. Tapestry - Carole King

    7 vote(s)
  1. So, Carole is up for a cull again. But what are we losing?



    So Far Away

    Highest scorers: 10 x 3 (@pop3blow2, @KamikazeHeart, @Lila)
    Lowest scorers: 6 x 1 (@Filippa)
    Thread title lyrics: Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell

    From one song about travel to another, as we sadly lose my favourite song on Tapestry and Carole is knocked down to just four songs. I love this, and I mean I really do love it. It captures everything I love most about this album, namely the way she expresses so simply and wonderfully the most crushing emotions and the most heady of heights. She combines both of them in this one song, dwelling on both the pain of missing someone and the sheer delight being close to them can bring. It's the agony and the ecstasy of love wrapped into a chorus and a verse; missing someone is painful but it's a worthwhile sort of suffering because it always brings you closer to them again. There's a reason "parting is such sweet sorrow" is such a famous Shakespearean line as, like all of his best, it's true. Saying goodbye can be as awful as the deepest wounds, but it's a melancholy that is tinged with the happiness of having been with them and the hope that you will one day again.

    So many songs about travelling are about looking for something, or running away from it. I'm thinking of Hejira, Joni's greatest album and my all time favourite, and the way it elevates driving to a form of meditation, suggesting that the only way we can reflect, and perhaps be redeemed, is alone with the open air and the blue highways. But there is no spirituality in the act itself for Carole. It is about the destination and that alone, as we just saw with her land of honey in Way Over Yonder. Travelling is a burden, not a blessing, something that closes the mind rather than opens out. Hejira of course came five years after the Joni album we're rating here, but it's still a dichotomy that highlights neatly the differences between the women, especially since Blue itself still features travel as a mode of meditation and self-discovery. The remarkable thing about Tapestry is that it is a record with an enormous amount of self-knowledge. Carole comes to us confident, not questioning what there is but in fact telling us, sharing what she has already found in the hope that it will help us as much as it helps her. For a woman with a life already lived there is nothing to be gained from moving around because home is quite literally where the heart is and there can be no greater domesticity than being content with yourself. The love she has to give comes from the love she already has for herself (not to paraphrase RuPaul...) and there is no higher purpose or greater answer she needs to seek. It is remarkable then that she makes a song with such a straightforward message sound so beautifully poetic. I'm sad to have to say goodbye, but all partings have a silver lining and the one to be found here is that it exists in the first place.

    The lowest score I have commentary for is @Trouble in Paradise's (8): "A classic with a timeless message but also a bit too on the nose (and I’m sorry, too overplayed) to stand with the highest highs of this rate." I'm glad you appreciate it enough to still give it a generally high score. Giving the same is @abael (8), who seems slightly more positive: "It may just be nostalgia, but the next room over instrumentation these 70s tracks had seemed to always give tracks more emotional impact." I know exactly what you mean.

    After his last score, @Maki (8.25) has decided to be a bit more generous: "This grew on me. At first it sounded a bit boring, but I eventually got to really like the melody and lyrics. The outro is beautiful, too." Shockingly, this is @Music Is Life's (8.5) lowest score in the rate: "I really like this, especially the production, with that piano."

    I'll cede to @pop3blow2 (10) who once again proves his superlative taste: "Probably my favorite song on an album full of songs I love. So there’s that. The melody here is something I went back to again & again when I was learning how to write songs. It’s such a sad song… mainly due to her lyric choices & passionate vocal. The production flourishes on here on some of my fave on the album…. like the flute outro & the little ‘traveling around’ vocal bridge."

  2. Ugh.

    This is actually more painful than a few of the Laura & Carly losses. 'So Far Away' is just so beautiful. Should be a top 10, fore sure. To not make the top 20... well, that's disappointing.

    The blow only lightly softened by @Lila including 'Wichita Lineman' in the reveal... since it's among the best songs I've ever heard in my life.
  3. Disastrous.
    ohnostalgia, Maki, Lila and 2 others like this.
  4. Wow I underscored this! I also thought it was a lock for the Top 10!
    ohnostalgia, Maki, Lila and 1 other person like this.
  5. These two eliminations are very surprising for completely different reasons.

    "Way Over Yonder" has always sounded like a song that's going to be (undeservingly) among the first 10 eliminations, because of how unremarkable sounded to me, compared to the majority of the songs here. Yet, here it is, almost reaching top 20! I'm also surprised that I'm the lowest scorer. That type of bluesy, laid back style isn't something that I thought would do well here at all, let alone make it pass the half of the eliminations.
    Now I think I slightly underscored "Way Over Yonder", it's a really pleasent listen, perhaps it goes on for too long for me to enjoy it more. Still surprised - super weird song+elimination combo!

    In the completely other hand, "So Far Away" not making top 20 at least is totally unexpected - I though it had it on lock.
    Even though I'm not mad about the elimination itself, it should've been around for a little while.
    Another surprise is that @Music Is Life gave his lowest score to that song.
    And I was sure that the second Carole elimination would be "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" for some reason, the other four always sounded superior.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  6. Before You Got A Friend?
  7. How awful. On the other hand, any guilt for having a lower average score compared to other voters is long gone. Carole left with 4 tracks remaining before top 20 is already tragic, but I see it could have been much worse.
    Lila likes this.
  8. Ddd in case anyone got a notification then you saw nothing and I definitely didn't post the elimination early
    Music Is Life likes this.
  9. After a brief malfunction, here we are.



    To Bobby

    Highest scorers: 10 x 3 (@soratami, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Music Is Life)
    Lowest scorers: 4 x 1 (@ohnostalgia)
    My score: 8.5
    Thread title lyrics: The Times They Are A-Changin' - Bob Dylan

    Apart from @ohnostalgia, everyone really liked this and I couldn't have been more glad. It's one of my favourite Joan songs and the huge gap since we last saw her has been so satisfying. I'm glad she's getting her dues as a songwriter, even if it is only here. Once again though, only getting three 10s prevented it from going into the top 20 and that's something we're going to keep seeing in the next few eliminations. At this point, everything left is excellent and so averages are much more dependent on an absence of high scores rather than the presence of low ones.

    As I mentioned all that time ago in my FYC post for Joan, all three of her songs here are about Bob Dylan. It wasn't an intentional thing, but I do like the little narrative all three form when they're listened to together. This is the first piece of that triptych, which ends, as we've already seen, with a general message of forgiveness in Winds of the Old Days. This is the beginning though and the wound is still fresh, inflicted by not only his past romantic treatment of her, which will become more obvious when we reach Diamonds & Rust, but by his political abdication. Throughout the 60s, Bob was the quintessential folk singer, engaging in political action and writing the kind of protest songs that typified the era but after a motorcycle accident in 1966, he largely withdrew from public life and dove head first into country music and a couple of notoriously bad records. I won't bore you all with the details given I know this forum's general stance on Bob but this newfound reclusion naturally included a withdrawal from politics, which, for many of his comrades, was a profound betrayal given the climate. The movement against the Vietnam War had only been growing since 1964 and to abandon the pre-eminent cause of the era was unforgivable for many, including Joan.

    To Bobby was notably written for her incredible 1972 album Come From the Shadows, six years after Bob had left politics behind. Perhaps it took that long for her to gather her thoughts; possibly more likely is that, at the tail end of the war, she wanted the man who had been with her at the start to re-emerge. Joan's interest in Vietnam and the plight of the people there never wavered and this is perhaps the key criticism of Bob contained within the song. Her words are not overtly harsh (in fact, they're the opposite, given she's pleading for his return to both the cause and possibly to her) but there's a hint of passive aggression there, something heightened by the sparsity of the arrangement and the particular coolness of her vocals. There's an obvious guilt trip in invoking the children of Vietnam (especially only three years after the My Lai massacre) which I suppose is questionably tasteful, but I think that to Joan, Bob's involvement was almost as vital as the war itself, perhaps because she was worried about him. There is an undercurrent of love there, something that will come up again in Diamonds & Rust, and she maybe saw the War as a way to revitalise him as much as he could do the same for the cause. She pulls no punches in declaring what he did a vivid mistake, but her concern is there in the lyrics: "You cast aside the cursed crown and put your magic into a sound / that made me think your heart was aching or even broken". It's hard to stop caring for the people you really loved sometimes and, as we well know, she never really did. But that's for another time....

    @Filippa (9) has a useful question, so let's start with her: "Does she address Bob Dylan and does she really criticise him?" I hope I answered you! Hold the front page, @abael (7) and I are in agreement again: "Beautiful but chilling song, Joan's vocals complement the track well." @pop3blow2 (8.7) has also come over all i_have_questions.mp3: "So, I think I always though this was about Bobby Kennedy, but after reading your write-ups… that’s not correct, right? Well…. I still like it regardless." I don't know if there was a relationship between Joan and Bobby but it'd be interesting to find out. Let's close with @Maki (9.5), who seems to love it: "I adore her voice; it sounds so clear and wise. This song is lovely, too, especially the verses, so I wish that the chorus had something more to it. And that middle-8 is amazing, even haunting - wow!"

  10. Morning gals.



    When the Party's Over

    Highest scorers: 10 x 3 (@Filippa, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Music Is Life)
    Lowest scorers: 6 x 1 (@abael)
    My score: 6.5
    Thread title lyrics: Yesterday Once More - Carpenters

    In hindsight, I think I significantly underscored this. It's never been a favourite on the album but it's not my least favourite either and I think it's a really great introduction to what is about to follow. If I'd have given it a 7, it would have broken the tie and leapfrogged over it's compatriot as well as the song at #20. Maybe I was just in a bad mood when I scored it: it is, by quite some distance, the happiest song on the album and that kind of playful jauntiness is not usually what I come to Janis to hear. It's a bit of a red herring as an opener, even as I think it eases the listener in to what is to follow. If you come expecting more gentle, easy-listening folk, you're about to be sorely disappointed.

    There's a very lovely metaphor at the heart of this that I think runs through the entirety of the album and cuts to the very core of it's philosophy, even if it's later expressed in radically different ways. To Janis, life is a song and dance. When you're in control, when you have the ability and indeed power of the invitation, you have the benefit of carelessness. But as we come to see, for women, and especially queer women, that in itself is a rarity. More often than not the band is playing it's last hurrah, as in Between the Lines, or the fairytale falls apart, like in Lover's Lullaby. It's not surprise that a songwriter envisions the world musically, but it's use across the album as a recurring motif feels rarely mentioned. There are plenty of imagined worlds in all four of the main albums here, but Janis' are always rooted in song, as though she can't daydream without it. Think of the bar singer in Bright Lights and Promises, staying at her job even after all her dreams are faded, perhaps because she loves it, perhaps because she's never known anything else. All those stencils are here in this opener, right down to that very first line: "Would you like to learn to sing? Would you like to sing my song?" I think it's no coincidence that Janis opens her most successful and famous album with a request to join her on some kind of musical journey through the darkest crevices of her life; being a singer lifted her out of herself, to an extent, and gave her the opportunities she had, so why not make it explicit? Music did the same for all of the women here, of course, but it's almost never made plain like it is here.

    Sometimes I worry I get a little too abstract in these write-ups but there are so many aspects of them that still feel lost due to a lack of care and attention, especially in the cases of Janis and Laura. Maybe this seems like a reach but people have spent so much time giving far greater thought to much worse albums. I'm glad I can do it for a great one.

    @abael (6) is up to their old tricks again, although their score is far off my own: "Chill, but an unremarkable opener." @pop3blow2 (9) makes a point I'm not entirely sure I agree with: "Production wise, this sounds so much more current than it’s release year. Interesting." I somehow think this sounds a lot older than some of the more baroque compositions on the album.

    Over to the stans, @Maki (7.25) is a fan as always, although has a little caveat: "The opener already shows how amazing the production and arrangement are, compared to the other albums, very detailed (for example, in this song, the castanets after she says 'tango' and at certain points), almost 'polished', yet the rawness of music and vocals is well preserved. There is certain warmth in this track, especially, and it is probably the only shimmery and 'happy' song on the album. It's laid-back and quite good. However, it's not one of my favorites from this album." High scorer @Filippa (10) keeps it short and sweet: "Wonderful, soft melody. Love it." Poor @Music Is Life (10) is going to be disappointed: "What a great opener. I love the production, and her voice is just perfect. And the lyrics – yes. So basically, yes to all of this. It’s amazing and an 11 contender." At least your actual 11 is safe and sound.

  11. This feels like the right time for “To Bobby” but “Diamonds and Rust” better not go anywhere anytime soon! I am surprised at that being our Janis loss but I guess her album has finally started to get on par with the rest (RIP Laura’s album though)
    Maki and Lila like this.
  12. What just misses out on the top 20?




    Highest scorers: 10 x 4 (@pop3blow2, @ohnostalgia, @Trouble in Paradise, @Remorque)
    Lowest scorers: 4 x 1 (@abael)
    My score: 9.5
    Thread title lyrics: Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon) - The Mamas & The Papas

    Order is restored as @abael and I are once again at diametric opposites of the scoring system for this, the second of Joni's two bops. Just like Carey, this is summer in a song and I find it irresistible. I agree that this is the superior of the two as well, so well done us for managing to get one thing right in this rate?

    This is really a very straightforward song about the end of the travels that took Joni to Greece and the Mediterranean. Cary once again gets a shoutout, appearing in the second verse:

    I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
    Who did the goat dance very well
    He gave me back my smile
    But he kept my camera to sell
    Oh the rogue, the red, red rogue
    He cooked good omelets and stews
    And I might have stayed on with him there
    But my heart cried out for you, California

    This is about endings rather than beginnings though, and for once it's something worth celebrating. In an album, and really a rate, largely devoid of overt sentimentality, Joni is unblushing in her wide-eyed appreciation of the state she has come to know as home. She even manages to get a joke out of it, saying she'll be so delighted to get home she'd even kiss a policeman, also known as a "sunset pig" (almost everyone in this rate was very much politically right-on). It's a welcome reprieve from the sometimes overwhelming sadness of Blue as an album and yet I've felt as though it loses any of the personal details that make it such a great record in doing so. It's proof that you don't have to be sufering to make great art and you can sing as much about the pleasures of home as you can of heartbreak and loss. Home is maybe the most personal thing we have and the relationships it anchors the most important thing in our lives; by dedicating a song to the unending allure of them both Joni very neatly reminds both us and herself that the best healing can rarely be done alone.

    Commentary was sadly a little scarce for this :( but @abael (4) is back on their bullshit: "Even considering the minimal style at the time, this is too empty and disconnected." Joining them is @Maki (6.25), who calls the side of the record that contains A Case Of You, River and The Last Time I Saw Richard (RIP) 'weak': "The weaker side of the album begins with what sounds like the lesser version of "Carey". It's good and nothing more."

    Displaying some good taste is the ever reliable @Music Is Life (9.5): "Mmmmm guitar and a great melody. How is it possible that a song can bop a bit when there’s only a guitar in the production? Oh, cause guitar are amazing, that’s why. Oh and great songwriting helps. And great lyrics. And a good singer delivering some solid vocals. Ugh this is so good." Yas stan a bit. Closing us out is @pop3blow2 (10) with a little paean of his own to the Sunshine State: "So, I love songs about California. I know It’s probably a completely surface level generic topic to be interested in, but I just do. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been there & it is so mythologized in modern history. Because of that mythology if you’re a great songwriter, you tap into great symbolism as jumping off point. Joni does here, wonderfully."

  13. TOP 20

    TAPESTRY [4/12]

    I Feel the Earth Move
    It’s Too Late
    You’ve Got a Friend
    (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

    BLUE [5/10]

    All I Want
    Little Green
    A Case of You


    At Seventeen
    In the Winter
    Between the Lines

    EXTRAS [8/22]

    You’re So Vain
    Diamonds and Rust
    Rainy Days and Mondays
    Hurting Each Other
    Heart Like A Wheel
    Down to Zero
    Killing Me Softly With His Song​
  14. Karen sailing into the top 20 unscathed and Joni having the most songs left of the main entries?
  15. I do feel as though the ship has been generally righted at this point.
  16. What a kii if Karen ends up with the most songs in the top 10.
  17. [​IMG]
  18. I suppose I better start writing up commentary for one Karen track before the rate goes sideways again. California leaving feels like a bad omen.
  19. Gawd, if you'd told me that some of the results for this rate would be tougher to digest for me than the one I'm hosting for one of my favorite people ever... I wouldn't have believed you.

    Trying to pick my fave song off of a classic like Blue is difficult. While 'River' or 'Case Of You' is what my brain tells me my fave is, the song I go back to the most is 'California'. So, is it my favorite on Blue? I'm not entirely sure, but it's what I use the most.... and it's a fave song about California from someone with loves an abnormally high amount of songs about that state.
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