Song of the Week: “Electricity” by Joni Mitchell

Appropriately, I’d just spent an afternoon sorting a spreadsheet when I found Joni Mitchell’s “Electricity” coming in through my headphones. “Electricity” is on the same album as “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio,” but here I think Joni captures the human-as-machine more precisely. It is a love song with mechanical logic, and it turns two people into the Plus and Minus in a broken electrical circuit. Throughout, Joni is a third party to these sad diodes, offering good advice neither can hear. She carries it off with lyrics sensitive to sound: “The Minus is loveless, he talks to the land, and the leaves fall and the pond over-ices.…” And there are moments of humor and spunk, that remind me, yes, I can shake myself free of the mesmerizing columns and right clicks: “I’m learning, it’s peaceful, with a good dog and some trees, out of touch with the breakdown of the century.”

-Liza Flum

Liza Flum is a poetry editor at Omnidawn. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and has been a fellowship recipient at the Summer Literary Seminars and the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets. She lives in Berkeley.

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Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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