Rolling Stone (1/4/73, p.60) - "..her great charm and wit, her intense vocal acting and phrasing abilities..and the sheer power and gumption of her presence combine to bring it all off and make it shine...constructed like the cleverest of novels - stories within stories within stories..."
Between the stark, confessional singer-songwriter format of BLUE and the artful, streamlined jazz-pop of COURT AND SPARK, Joni Mitchell released this excellent transitional album. Located firmly between these stylistic poles, FOR THE ROSES looks to Mitchell's folky beginnings with wistful, piano-driven ballads like "Banquet" and the acoustic guitar lilt of the title track. At the same time cuts like "Cold Blue Steel and Straight Fire" push toward the unconventional melodies and rhythms--heavily influenced by jazz--that she would explore more fully on albums like HEJIRA.
"Electricity" and "Let the Wind Carry Me" blend singer-songwriter styles with jazzy flourishes (as on the saxophone accompaniment and swooping wordless vocals on the latter), while the record's hit single, "Turn Me On I'm a Radio" is breezy, harmonica-driven pop. But while the styles diverge, Mitchell's lyrics are sharp as ever, exploring human relationships with a storyteller's eye for detail and a poet's feel for phrasing and image. The sense of painful, incisive honesty that comes across on BLUE is here as well, contributing to this exceptional, often overlooked gem in Mitchell's discography.