Blue as the auditory equivalent to Joan Didion's book of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem: a quite, intelligent sort of beauty in its lyrics and music. Plus it contain the only "holiday" song I come close to liking, "River"
Truth is, if I listen to Joni Mitchell too long she ruins me for other artists. In an interview with Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone, she said "The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either"
I'm always happy when I find a Joni cover that does justice to her original. Jay Brannan's version of "All I Want" is full of reverence and heart: