Lovesong du jour: Both Sides, Now

Een van de vroege meesterwerkjes van Joni Mitchell, geschreven toen ze net 23 jaar oud was. Joni schreef de song na het lezen van Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King: “I was reading Saul Bellow’s “Henderson the Rain King” on a plane and early in the book Henderson the Rain King is also up in a plane. He’s on his way to Africa and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song. I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did”. 

In 2000 nam Joni de song opnieuw op, dit keer met een strijkersarrangement. Het is heel smaakvol gedaan – het leverde arrangeur Vince Mendoza een Grammy Award op voor Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) – maar ik geef de voorkeur aan het origineel. Mitchell was in 1968 ook aanmerkelijk beter bij stem dan in 2000.

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air,
And feather canyons everywhere,
I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun,
They rain and they snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow
It’s clouds’ illusions I recall;
I really don’t know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels,
The dizzy dancing way you feel,
As every fairy tale comes real,
I’ve looked at love that way.
But now it’s just another show,
You leave ‘em laughing when you go.
And if you care, don’t let them know,
Don’t give yourself away.

I’ve looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall;
I really don’t know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud,
To say I love you right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds,
I’ve looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange,
They shake their heads and they tell me that I’ve changed.
Well something’s lost but something’s gained,
In living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall;
I really don’t know life at all

Uitgelichte afbeelding: By Asylum Records – Billboard, page 1, 15 November 1975, Public Domain,