The first track on Blue. It is so Joni — from the lyrics to the melody, to the structure and the instrumental technique. It sets the stage for a gorgeous stream of emotion that flows through the grooves on this record.
“All I Want” is the epitome of a love song. An intimate glimpse into Joni Mitchell’s romantic world, then occupied by James Taylor. Like much of her work, the lyrics are irresistible and relatable. She manages to uncover the complex layers between two lovers entangled.
The see-saw of thoughts and feelings is what connected me with this song. Her cathartic emotional outburst, “I hate you some, I love you some,” is subtly expressed in every verse.
She paints pictures of being madly in love with crushingly fond moments. She expresses her honest commitment to this person. There are moments of insecurity, but the song genuinely celebrates romance. “All I really want to do…” is being sung from a place of unabashed desire.
Or perhaps it was written as a lament? Her needs aren’t being met, and she’s trying to reconcile. She’s trying to understand why there is so much love and hurt at the same time. This time “All I really want…” is more of an ask. She wishes they could bring out the best in each other, but she doesn’t know if that is the case.
Love in its purest form is the hardest thing to let go of when you are faced with its darker sides. All we want is to bring out the best in each other, but unfortunately, sometimes we don’t. It’s the beauty of love that keeps us coming back. But how do we know if it’s worth it?
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to write about Joni Mitchell’s music. She is one of my favourite artists and inspired me to start writing music many years ago. Thank you, Joni, for everything you created.