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Joni Mitchell

Shine (Hear Music)

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Coming out of hiding after her 2002 tirade against the music industry, Joni Mitchell has teamed up with Starbucks' Hear Music label for Shine. Way to stick it to the man, Joni!

The album begins with "One Week Last Summer," a tired number filled with faux-jazz riffs before Mitchell starts "singing." Inspired by the war in Iraq and various environmental issues, Mitchell continues her tradition of speaking out through song. Unfortunately, speaking is all she really does. Mitchell talks throughout most of Shine, leaving listeners who long for piercing notes and delicate folk with preachy lyrics that end up sounding like a bad medley of Michael Moore films.

She updates the classic "Big Yellow Taxi." But it was given better treatments by Bob Dylan, the Counting Crows with Vanessa Carlton, Amy Grant (yes, Amy Grant), and even as a sample in Q-Tip and Janet Jackson's "Got 'til It's Gone." But by far the biggest bummer on the album comes on the title track, in which Mitchell embarrasses herself with lyrics like "Shine on another asshole, passing on the right!" over a track comparable to the dripping water and wind chimes that keep you tense at a cheap day-spa.

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