MY DESERT ISLAND ALBUM: TRACY CLOUD

NEEDLESS to say, picking only one desert island album was a fun challenge for sure! I mentally went through my top twenty choices and thought, how am I ever going decide? Some of my top choices were already taken as expected. I must mention that the finalists included selections from The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and Fleetwood Mac.

However, there was one album that I kept coming back to, mainly because it was an album that made a big impression on me as I made that transition from girl to woman. The winner is Blue by Joni Mitchell. I love every track on this album. It is simply a masterpiece, and it still inspires me today. I have owned it on vinyl, cassette, cd and now digital!

I was a theatre and choir kid in high school, so I hung out with a lot of really talented kids. We would gather around after school and on the weekends and listen to and create music. A friend played Blue for me one day and I just cannot describe how this album consumed me. I had just experienced that traumatic, first love heartbreak and this album found me at a pivotal moment. I have been a huge Joni fan ever since.

Blue went with me to college (along with most of her catalog) and became a go to album and a real comfort to me in those years. It got me through several breakups and milestones in my life. As I developed as a singer/songwriter, this album became a reference for how to structure songs and how to use my own vulnerability to reach inside and draw out what I needed to say.

I could probably write all day about the tracks on this album, but I will touch on a few that have always stood out to me. The opening track, All I Really Want, has so much going on under the surface of the lighthearted music. She speaks about her journey to find her ideals in the love she is singing about. The elusive reality that she winds up with is clear in the lines “Do you see – do you see – do you see how you hurt me baby, so I hurt you too then we both get so blue.” 

I love the piano in My Old Man and there are some really deep and thoughtful lyrics in this one like “He’s the warmest chord I ever heard. Play that warm chord and stay baby.”

Carey always cheers me with the imagery she paints here. Just a great tune all around with visions of exotic towns, wearing fabulous outfits and drinking in cafes. The title track Blue has one of the best opening lines of any song ever written with “Blue…songs are like tattoos you know I’ve been to sea before. Crown and anchor me or let me sail away.”

River is probably the most covered song on the album with its Christmas setting and haunting melody. She gives us a vivid picture of wanting to “skate away” after being “so hard to handle. I’m selfish and I’m sad. Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby that I ever had.”

My very favorite track is A Case of You, which is also near the very top of my desert island songs as well! This song is just beyond genius. Every lyric is like a beautiful tile in a mosaic. Lyrics really don’t get much better than “I remember that time you told me you said, “Love is touching souls,” Surely you touched mine ’cause part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time.”

Blue is often listed as one of the greatest albums of all time, and of course, I would agree. It is just a rare gem that has stood the test of time over the last fifty years since its release. I never get tired of listening to it. I guess If I had to be marooned on a desert island, Blue might help me cope but I would still long for many other albums as well. One would just not be enough!

Connect with Tracy Cloud:  https://tracycloud1.bandcamp.com/

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