Most female singer-guitarists in folk and pop genres … are primarily interpreters of songs others—usually men—write. The Canadian Joni Mitchell, often grouped with them, is exceptional however not so much because she is her own composer and lyricist, but because of the persistence with which she has, at her most characteristic, pursued through five record albums the sexual theme she treats with sophistication surprising in a mass artist. Love songs are nothing new, but the love-hate song is probably Mitchell's invention….
Mitchell celebrates the moral virtue of strength—or, rather the collection of qualities once referred to as "character"; her parallel virtue as composer is tight, economic...
(The entire section is 811 words.)