It's Down To You, Joni Mitchell

For me, Joni Mitchell still stands as the greatest of the singer-songwriters.  The depth of her melodies, her mastery of songcraft, and the fearless, sometimes brutal honesty of her lyrics set her apart.  I picked this song out of her dozens of greats to start this conversation about songs and songwriting because I feel it speaks to the moment.  And to the SongMine. With the death of the Hitocracy and the Webiscite in ascendance, it really does come down to you. You have the tools to reach the world.  What are you going to say?

This song is musically exquisite.  It's from the Court and Spark album. Dig it out and give it a listen. Or, go to iTunes and download a copy of the song. Support artists on the Webiscite!  Check out this video and then enjoy the January 2008 interview with Joni on Charlie Rose--following the lyrics... 

(By the way, in the middle section of this song, I've always wondered--Did Joni Mitchell herself, at the height of her fame, go down to the "pickup station" and get drunk and go home with strange new flesh to lay down an impression of her loneliness?  Or is she just projecting the likely lifestyle of her listener?  I'm told by those who could be expected to know that there's nothing in the area of sexual adventursim Joni didn't indulge in at that time. What do you think?)

DOWN TO YOU © Joni Mitchell

Everything comes and goes
Marked by lovers and styles of clothes
Things that you held high
And told yourself were true
Lost or changing as the days come down to you
Down to you
Constant stranger
Youre a kind person
Youre a cold person too
Its down to you
It all comes down to you

You go down to the pick up station
Craving warmth and beauty
You settle for less than fascination
A few drinks later youre not so choosy
When the closing lights strip off the shadows
On this strange new flesh youve found
Clutching the night to you like a fig leaf
You hurry
To the blackness
And the blankets
To lay down an impression
And your loneliness

In the morning there are lovers in the street
They look so high
You brush against a stranger
And you both apologize
Old friends seem indifferent
You must have brought that on
Old bonds have broken down
Love is gone
Ooh, love is gone
Written on your spirit this sad song
Love is gone

Everything comes and goes
Pleasure moves on too early
And trouble leaves too slow
Just when you're thinking
Youve finally got it made
Bad news comes knocking
At your garden gate
Knocking for you
Constant stranger
You're a brute-youre an angel
You can crawl-you can fly too
Its down to you
It all comes down to you