Joni Mitchell – ” River ” 50th Anniversary 

Posted: December 23, 2021 in MUSIC

“We needed a sad Christmas song, didn’t we? In the ‘bah humbug’ of it all?” Joni Mitchell asked NPR in 2014 while talking about her melancholic Christmas staple, “River,” off her seminal 1971 album, “Blue“.

Now fifty years later, Mitchell has paired the break-up song, said to be about her relationship with Graham Nash, with a beautifully wistful animated video — the song’s first ever official one.

Created by director Matvey Rezanov and Skazka Studios, the “River” video uses animated watercolour painting to “capture the song’s lonesome mood while paying tribute to Mitchell’s prolific creativity as a painter,” as the press release described. Its black-and-white palette perfectly captures the feeling of holiday heartbreak, with the pops of colour at the very end signalling a small slice of hope.

Mitchell was also celebrated earlier this month at the 44th annual Kennedy Centre Honours, where Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and jazz musician Herbie Hancock (an oft collaborator of Mitchell’s) paid tribute with an affecting cover of “Both Sides Now,” originally from the singer’s 1969 album, “Clouds“.

Mitchell’s box set, “Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)”, has also recently been nominated for a 2022 Grammy Award for best historical album, marking her 17th Grammy nomination to date. Two nights before the Grammys take place, Mitchell will again be honoured, this time as MusiCares’ 2022 Person of the Year during a tribute at the Los Angeles Convention Centre on Jan. 29.

The animated watercolour painting lends the perfect melancholic mood to the untraditional Christmas song

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