Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me” (1974)

I was driving home from a class the other night, and the car had the Sirius XM ’70’s station. One of the songs was “Help Me”, from Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark album–perhaps the one, big, commercial success that Joni had.

I am a bit too young for the seventies music. Maybe I was 9 when the thing came out. (Quick lookup, yes, January 1974—just nine.) But to me, maybe because I was listening to this music as a child, the ’70’s songs just seem better. Eighties music follows a formula. Most everything after that sounds like someone did it already. Even, some songs, somebody did.

There was more creativity then. The Beatles came on the scene, with a handfull of other rock groups, and were doing different things. A lot of the artist work was hit-or-miss. A lot was the product of an unmoored generation, very much like the one of young people now. I think that youthful energy and chaos has a creative element. I used to talk to Kurosaki about that idea from time to time, when I was in Tokyo. There is an abundance of that same energy among the young people there, but so many of them always have an eye on what the other people are thinking, rather than just expressing.

When you are too worried about what it looks like or sounds like, you lose some artistic edge.

Is it just me, or were the lyrics of ’70’s era music more about me and you? And not just me. And not just you? For being the Me Generation, there is a lot of “We” message in the songs of that era. And more suggestion, and less demand.

Those years were their own age of anxiety, much like today. There was a lot of creativity in it, even so.

[Update 1/28/12: Joni live, from back in the day, on You Tube: