This is a Random Album Generator.
One album a day.
From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Hejira

Joni Mitchell

1976

Hejira

Album Summary

Hejira is the eighth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The songs on the album were written during a series of road trips in 1975 and 1976, and reflect events that occurred during those trips, including several romantic relationships she had at the time. Characterized by lyrically dense, sprawling songs, as well as the overdubbed fretless bass playing of Jaco Pastorius (whom Mitchell had just met), Hejira continued the musician's journey beyond her pop records towards the freer, jazz-inspired music she would implement on later recordings. Some of the songs were written while Mitchell traveled as a member of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour, and she performed the album tracks "Coyote" and "Furry Sings the Blues" with The Band at their final concert (later released as Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz). The album did not sell as well as its predecessors, peaking at No. 22 in her native Canada. It reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart in the United States, where it was certified gold by the RIAA, and No. 11 in the UK, where it attained a silver certification. Critically, the album was generally well received, and in the years since its release, Hejira has been considered one of the high marks of her career.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.11

Votes

3417

Genres

  • Folk
  • Singer Songwriter
Reviews
Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
View Author
5

wow - never listened to her and I was blown away. quite a singer songwriter - I get the hype now

👍
View Author
4

Joni Mitchell wrote the songs for "Hejira" all over America in the mid 1970s, travelling partly toward another show and partly in pursuit of pleasure. It's her "road" album, and the context of rambling travel perfectly suits both her writing style and the lyrical themes. Snapshots of old towns, lost lovers, fleeting moments and passing thoughts all slip in and out of view, relayed in startling detail and breathtaking lyricism. Mitchell also uses her restless travelling as an opportunity for self-evaluation, using the magnificent epic "Song for Sharon" to ask exactly where she's headed. Some favourite lyrics? Where to begin... "A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway"... what a way to subvert the cliché of the "open road". Later, aeroplane vapour trails- images of escape and freedom- are compared to a hexagram of the heavens, strings on a guitar, and finally false alarms. "We're only particles of change I know, I know Orbiting around the sun But how can I have that point of view When I'm always bound and tied to someone" And the whole last verse of Refuge on the Roads- just listen to it. What an artist. They're such beautiful words, and I'm so glad I gave this multiple listens because it took a while for them to start standing out. This is even more the case with the music: sophisticated, dense, jazz-influenced... it's certainly beyond "Blue". The beauty of each song has been slowly revealing itself over the last few days, unravelling delicately on each repeated listen. The vibraphone and sustained guitar in the gorgeous "Amelia", "Hejira"'s "strains of Benny Goodman" being evoked by a distant clarinet; the fretless bass work throughout. There's so much to get lost in and I'm still in the process of doing so after listening six or seven times over the last two days. For now, all I can say is that it sounds like a restless spirit at the height of her powers, carving timeless words into the roads of America.

👍
View Author
4

I was a fan of Joni Mitchell from the get go, back when she was sweetly singing good morning to Morgantown and such. But there was always a dark blue current moving underneath the surface of this petite woman, even then. 'Hejira' seems to have dug the well to that subterranean river. Musically, its gorgeously haunting. (Her cover art represents the same, visually.) Gone, are the gently sustained notes of the piano, replaced with ringing guitars, marvelously odd melodies and chord structures. Joni Jazz, which is not really jazz at all, but something else entirely. Nothing that can be exactly pinned down, mind you. Fitting for Joni’s (nomadic) lifestyle, (moody) temperament, (troubled) spirituality. 1976 found a lot of Joni’s 60’s comrades suffering under the excess of drugs like cocaine, which combined with her rolling and thundering along with Dylan’s infamous review for a while couldn’t help but further darken the gathering of Joni’s latent storm clouds. The opening song has her already confessing that she’s a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway, and not really fit for healthy companionship; that said, he’s only a randy coyote anyway, so fuck it! With some ‘Strange Boy, she gets ‘… high on travel, drunk on alcohol, and on love, the strongest poison and medicine of all.’ But it’s the title track that really seems to sum up who Joni Mitchell was at this time in her life, both professionally and personally (I would guess she doesn’t draw a distinction between the two): ‘There’s comfort in melancholy when there’s no need to explain. It’s just as natural as the weather in this moody sky today.’ And, ‘I’m porous with travel fever. But, you know, I’m so glad to be on my own. Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger can set up trembling in my bones.’ The hejira that Joni mostly seems to be attempting is the one from herself. And that reminds me of that quote that says something to the effect of: wherever you go, there you are. I didn’t know this myself in 1976, entering into my senior year of high school, and suffered accordingly for years. I’m finally learning that one can be moody and prone to blue while nurturing an inner spirit of gratitude and even joy as well. Not to be too simplistic, but to a certain extent, it is a choice. Just like my choice to be careful with this recording, reserving it only for days when I have optimum emotional/spiritual health and clarity.

👍
View Author
3

Kinda jazzy and cool, but minus one for her Spotify stunt.

👍
View Author
5

I listened to this one on a solo midnight bus ride from Los Angeles to Snata Barbara. I own this album, it's one I've listened to a hundred times but never like this and it finally dawned on me that this is a solitaire album. The music is incredibly complex, as is the musicianship. Tunings. Chords. Progressions. None of which are predictable or even easily accessible. Which makes it reveal more and more on every listen. It's a long way from Blue, a record only ~5 years in the past. This is an electric jazzy record. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but it's right up my alley - mysterious and haunting. Don't listen to this album just once. Give it a few runs and all the way through each time (although the clear highlight is "Amelia"). Slam dunk 5 stars: 10/10. One of my alltime favourite albums by anyone.

👍
View Author
5

4.5/5. This def feels like an essential Joni album, and I think it’s gonna grow on me more

👍
View Author
5

Joni

👍
View Author
5

No regrets, Coyote

👍
View Author
5

Elegant, folky, rocky and wry.

👍
View Author
5

She has removed her stuff from Spotify

👍
View Author
5

Jazzy!

👍
View Author
5

Beautiful. I've never listened to Mitchell before, and today I saw footage of Mitchell playing "Both Sides Now" at the Newport Folk Festival with Brandi Carlile which is one of the poignant performances I have ever seen. I usually hate music that comes out of folk, probably too much of it is blues based, but her music is refreshing with her alternate tunings and strong writing about the experience of girls and women. Now I will continue to dive into her catalog.

👍
View Author
5

LINDA PERFEITA MARAVILHOSA

👍
View Author
5

cool

👍
View Author
4

Dec 16 2021. Album #1. Calming and great storytelling in lyrics but feels dissonant with current life.

👍
View Author
4

Ah Joni, a Canadian national treasure! Always a pleasure listening to her. She's a powerful storyteller and wonderful musician.

👍
View Author
4

Joni Mitchell on a quest for love, meaning and the next bingo game. Here is an insightful "modern" review of the songstress by Rob Moura. https://www.popmatters.com/joni-mitchell-hejira-atr4

👍
View Author
4

Relaxed hippy sound

👍
View Author
4

Absolutely gorgeous album lyrically. Complex and nuanced. Musically it sure isn't straight ahead pop. Jazzy with complex melodies that are not always accessible. Favourite song; Coyote. 4 🌟

👍
View Author
4

‘Hejira’ is a bit less immediate than some of Joni Mitchell’s other work. It has a restless nature in sound and storytelling, with complex chords and strong jazz overtones. It’s a slow burn, but it’s also possibly her most rewarding album.

👍
View Author
4

This was a really beautiful album, with some incredible vocal work.

👍
View Author
4

Joni slowly but surely found her inner sophisticated lounge singer. It's a folk jazz album. Deal with it (8/10) FT: Coyote

👍
View Author
4

Hejira is an album of explorations. Joni Mitchell created big lyrics for long songs, just like the road trips that inspired the record. The jazzy feeling of the album makes every listening an oportunity to discover something new. Tracks like "Coyote", "Furry Sings the Blues" and "Song for Sharon" becomes prettier every time you listen to them.

👍
View Author
4

Folk raro... envolvente.

👍
View Author
4

Cet album extrêmement mystérieux a très vite attisé ma curiosité et s'est soldé par une découverte assez surprenante. Le point de départ de tout ceci est la non-disponibilité de cet album sur l'application Spotify, qui nous amène très vite sur une autre application : YouTube. L'album y figure bel et bien sous forme d'une playlist. Chaque morceau du projet est décrit dans l'onglet prévu à cet effet de la même façon : « Provided to YouTube by Rhino ». Très intrigant n'est-ce pas ? Après de longues recherches, voici ce que j'ai trouvé : le dénommé Rhino est en réalité un véritable rhinocéros blanc et possède l'intégralité des droits de la discographie de Joni Mitchell. Une fois tous ces faits vérifiés par deux fois, j'appelai donc Robert pour l'alerter sur la situation de la chanteuse. En quelques coups de fil, celui-ci parvint à faire capturer le rhino et à organiser sa réintroduction dans une réserve naturelle ougandaise.

👍
View Author
4

There's not much folky jazzy goodness that's not here. An excellent road album. Jaco does his thing and at times shines out. The cores of the songs are dead simple classic, though: Voice, guitar, the language of the West.

👍
View Author
4

I love Joni Mitchell. I need to listen to more of her work, but I love her.

👍
View Author
4

This is such an improvement over "Blue" This one is a keeper.

👍
View Author
4

joni pucette remets les albums sur spotify je t’en prie

👍
View Author
4

I didn't know Joni Mitchell did sophi-pop a decade before it was a thing. Reminds me of a lot of indie folk from the area, especially Tim Buckley and Nick Drake. Guitars envelop you, and there are jazz and country influences to relax you. All songs start with Joni in some random setting in the country taking in the sights, feels like a drive on Route 66, although Memphis is a bit off the beaten path. Few complaints, maybe a little long overall but the songs were fine. Excellent songwriting, voice, and fitting instrumentals. Favorites: Coyote, Hejira, Song for Sharon

👍
View Author
4

Absolutely love Joni Mitchell - Coyote is in my all time top 10 and Amelia isn't far behind.

👍
View Author
4

listened to before great work

👍
View Author
4

WOW! A beautiful album, with stunning vocals. Tired from travelling, so this will be short, but truly I loved this. Loved the bass so much, didn't know Jaco was on this album until I looked into it more, and he really added a lot on the songs he played in. Anyways, stellar STELLAR album. Favorite song was probably Black Crow.

👍
View Author
4

J'adore joni mitchell, un bon album mais pas extra comme d'autres du memem artiste 4

👍
View Author
4

Classic Mitchell

👍
View Author
4

Really cool guitar tones on this one. Blue Motel Room is a sweet low swung song. totally worth a revisit.

👍
View Author
4

This album very much felt like a natural progression for Joni: as time does by, she (had to?) evolve a bit away from the stripped down, guitar-only music and this album proved that she could pull it off as well. A overall enjoyable album full of nice songs that maybe have a bit less storytelling quality but make it up with ncie but subtle background arrangements

👍
View Author
4

Tydzien powtarzanych artystow, tym razem kolejny krazek od Joni Mitchell, Hejira bedaca jej osmym studyjnym albumem z 76, tak jak poprzedni pick jest to solidnie napisane i zaspiewane, czuc ze jest to material artystki ktora stara sie wyrzucic na papier swoje przezycia, a nie wyciskane na sile sztampowe zawodzenia byle by sie dobrze sluchalo, a przeciez najlepiej slucha sie czegos za czym artysta naprawde stoi i tym zyje, w tym przypadku motywami przewodnimi sa doswiadczenia z podrozowania lub zycia w podrozy, bo taki tryb zycia prowadzila w latach 70 pani Joni, ale nie bedzie jedynie o celach podrozy a raczej o drodze i rzeczach oraz ludziach przy niej spotkanych, a jak spotkania to musza byc rowniez rozstania, no i walenie po kablach, instrumentalnie jest to folkowy rock z influencjalmi jazzowymi w zaleznosci od utworu, w nagrania bylo zangazowanych bylo 10 muzykow sesyjnych, na uwage zasluguja zwlaszcza Jaco Pastorius na basie oraz Larry Carlton ktory gral gitarki elektrokowe oraz akustykowe, w zalenosci od tego na czym szarpala pani Mitchell, calosc sklada sie z 9 trakow na 52 minutach, o ile poprzedni album od niej urzekl mnie wokalnie i przyjemnymi dla ucha instrumentalami, tak ten robi to jeszcze lepiej, a dodatkowo trafia lirycznie w moja wagabondowa dusze, na plejke spotifajowa nie dodam nic, bo pani Joni zaraz obok Neila Younga wycofala swoja dyskografie, gdy dodali podkasty tego buca do biblioteki serwisu, ale chyba najbardziej zapadajacymi w pamiec trakami beda dla mnie openingowy coyote, z ktorego sampel slyszalem w jakims muryznskim traku oraz a strange boy

👍
View Author
4

Very soothing listen. Mitchell is an excellent songwriter and I know I'll be back for more. I might need a couple more listens of this to get a better grasp on it, but unfortunately YouTube is not my preferred way to listen to music...

👍
View Author
4

Love the guitar tone and the bass playing especially on this one.

👍
View Author
4

Another stunning album from Joni Mitchell. If less catchy then Blue or Court and Spark, this is still an exhibition of the songwriter’s craft. Beautiful singing, gorgeous guitar work, poetic and evocative, it’s is a delight to hear the artist create works like this.

👍
View Author
4

Interesting concept from Joni that speaks for itself. I mean, it's Joni Mitchell. This album gets bonus points for having Jaco Pastorius on some of the tracks. While not her more familiar work, definitely a must listen. 4/5.

👍
View Author
3

i grew up listening to joni, and to be honest we never totally clicked. i of course know and love some of her songs but honestly it just gets kind of …boring. i feel bad saying that but it’s a little true. i still enjoyed it, but not spectacular.

👍
View Author
3

Very chill, but songs were a bit too long for my liking

👍
View Author
3

Why did Joni opt to have her left hand protruding like a chode from a road on the front cover of this album? What's she trying to say? What's the deeper meaning?

👍
View Author
3

Who cares?

👍
View Author
3

I get that this is a road album but a fair bit of it landed too far on the meandering side of song structure for me. Unfocused. Though when it hits right as on the title track it’s pretty strong.

👍
View Author
3

Quite clearly Joni Mitchell and good as background music. She’s very talented but I wouldn’t want to listen to her exclusively. Can’t criticise so 3*

👍
View Author
3

Interesting album. Much more jazzy than previous JM albums I have listened to. Enjoyed it but probably wouldn't listen again. 3.5/5

👍
View Author
3

Joni Mitchell nous propose sur cet album une démonstration de comment complétement rater son imitation de Lana del Rey. Tout est absolument raté, aucune émotion n'est transmise. A ne reproduire sous aucun pretexte.

👍
View Author
3

Some good songs. Ended up enjoying it more than I expected.

👍
View Author
3

Nice and serene music. I love the dreamy guitar sound, and the nice bass playing. A lot of the songs were a bit slow and long for me. I'm having trouble remembering any of the songs specifically, but the vibe was nice. Wish she hadn't joined the censorship bandwagon and taken her music off Spotify.

👍
View Author
3

Had no way to listen

👍
View Author
3

Pleasant listening, with some interesting twists here and there

👍
View Author
3

Rating: 6/10

👍
View Author
3

Coyote is a good song. Very laid back album.

👍
View Author
3

I can tell it's 'good'; the musical style is rich and exotic and self-assured, Joni's lyrics are always worth listening to, and I'm sure it would reward repeated listens (especially while road-tripping across America). But a chorus or a hook once in a while couldn't hurt, right?

👍
View Author
3

Lyrical songsmith weaving gentle poetic stories of the open road and freedom. Being trapped in a lift with her whilst she did this would be hell on earth.

👍
View Author
3

Now I find myself in the weird position of reviewing an album that I've owned on vinyl for more than a decade but somehow never listened to. The reason why I've never listened to it is because Joni Mitchell has never "clicked" with me. The reason why I still have it is: 1) so people will think that I am smart and sensitive, and 2) because a lot of people who's musical opinions I respect really like Joni Mitchell. This album continues that trend for me. This album also doesn't click for me, but I can see why people like it. It's interesting, no question. It does not sound like it's tied to one particular time period. I definitely wouldn't say that it's of its time. Mitchell has a well-developed style that sets her apart. It doesn't particularly work for me, but it's also hard for me to dislike it because she is doing something different here and executing her vision well. 3/5

👍
View Author
3

Best Song: Amelia. Something about the lyrics and the subject matter really works here. "Like Icarus ascending / on beautiful and selfish arms". Very hippy aesthetic in the instrumentals as well. Worst Song: A Strange Boy. The story-telling style here begins to deviate into rambling. And some of the lyrics are too on-the-nose (e.g., "drunk on love"). Overall: A wild and uninhibited set of stories that fluctuate between seemingly stream of consciousness to deeper, more poetic observations. The album feels very "free", but at times I wished it had more structure.

👍
View Author
3

Fine enough sound. Enjoyed the bass lines

👍
View Author
3

Folk. Soul. Aburrido.

👍
View Author
3

I wasn't into most of this but I did kinda like Coyote and I really liked A Song for Sharon :) And I can see it is an album maybe I'd enjoy a bit more in a different mood? 3

👍
View Author
3

This wasn't available on Spotify, but I found all of the songs on YouTube. Overall this was okay. Folksy and Joni has a good voice. Nothing really grabbed me though.

👍
View Author
3

Niets op aan te merken, wel op het feit dat zowat elk album van Joni in deze lijst terechtgekomen is. Ik wil diversiteit!

👍
View Author
3

Not bad

👍
View Author
3

Good album. Very Joni Mitchell.

👍
View Author
3

I enjoyed the time of this album and the production. Very crisp, good vocal, warm instrumentals. That bass was a stand out. The only thing that lacked (and I get it was on purpose) were hooks, choruses. It made the tracks blur together.

👍
View Author
3

Good album, but not really floating the old ketch at the minute. Must listen with more intensity.

👍
View Author
3

I've never been much of a Joni Mitchell fan. I recognize her talent, but her vocal delivery has always rubbed me the wrong way. Having said that, I enjoyed this album more than anything else I've heard from her. 3 stars.

👍
View Author
3

Joni is kind of like the female Randy Newman. She just kinda sings about what she sees as she's going around. There is a lovely ethereal quality to this, and I ended up liking it more than I expected, but the lyrics are just ridiculous. Also she looks like a frankenstein on that cover.

👍
View Author
3

Not on Spotify but presumed ‘I would be okay with this’

👍
View Author
3

Amazing guitar work and storytelling, along with a very interesting and laidback sound. However, I would have liked for the songs to have something change in them here and there, such as a change in tempo or dynamics as they tend to blend in with each other and it makes the album drag on a bit. Nevertheless, Joni is remarkable and underrated in my opinion!

👍
View Author
3

I don't know how to define "adult contemporary" but I think this is what it sounds like. Beautifully sung story songs that sound like they came from experience. And of course Jaco Pastorius is the man.

👍
View Author
3

Joni Mitchell songs just sound like Joni Mitchell songs.

👍
View Author
3

This is my first time listening to a full Joni Mitchell album, and it was really cool to hear as so many of my favourite artists are heavily influenced by her. However, I don't think this album really clicked for me on a first listen, mainly because I'm someone who relies heavily on hooks and melodies in songs in order for them to stick with me afterwards, but the songwriting and instrumentals were really amazing throughout and I'd be happy to revisit it at some point. ((final 4 tracks were my favourites))

👍
View Author
3

Not bad but nothing I was truly interested in.

👍
View Author
2

there were like two good tracks on this and they were both ones with jaco and the guy who played guitar on a lot of steely dan shit. joni seems completely unnecessary here.

👍
View Author
2

Ooooooh she's a fine one. Joni could really do with a hot beef injection from her uncle Nigel stat.

👍
View Author
2

this sounds ahead of its time, it sounds very 80s. however its a bit meh. I like the bit on the album cover where her arm looks a bit like a cock. it like when scott wears shorts and his cock tattoo hangs out for all to see.

👍
View Author
2

Listening to this you can really hear the influence Joni has had on a lot of modern singer songwriters. Laura Marling particularly comes to mind. Not a type of music I’m much of a fan of but it’s fine for background music

👍
View Author
2

It was pleasant without being remarkable.

👍
View Author
2

I don't really dig it. Nice but boring

👍
View Author
2

Earnest, boring

👍
View Author
2

it feels like vocal jazz... i don't really get it... the music has rhythm, but the melody seems to be in joni's voice. it is interesting, but not really something that is easily enjoyable.

👍
View Author
2

It's such a metaphorically dense album. Nothing is straight forward. Sometimes, I just can't get it as much as I should...

👍
View Author
2

Like The Byrds yesterday, this is a real blind spot for me even though in theory it’s exactly my thing.

👍
View Author
2

Lekker klein albumpje. Klinkt niet slecht, maar ook een beetje saai. **

👍
View Author
2

Lush guitars are this album's only appeal to me. Melodies are samey and the songs are sprawling. Some decent fretless from Jaco but Neil Young's harp on Blues is terrible.

👍
View Author
2

Très agréablement surpris pas sur spotify donc tu casses les couilles à tout le monde Joni à suivre neil young, mais pas mauvais ce que tu fais

👍
View Author
2

"She later stated that when she chose the title, she was looking for a word that meant "running away with honor"" i ran away without it

👍
View Author
2

It sounds nice and all, it just bores me. I'm not really into singer/songwriter stuff anyway. Lyrics and vocals usually take the backseat for me and here it's in the foreground. I do enjoy some of the guitar work here, especially on the title track. I just don't enjoy listening to this kind of stuff, especially in large doses.

👍
View Author
2

Pas vraiment ce à quoi je m'attendais d'un album de Joni Mitchell. Je ne connaissais pas non plus le lien entre Jaco Pastorius et Joni. Je reconnais son jeu maintenant sur les pièces où il est présent. C'est mon premier album de l'artiste. Vraiment pas mon genre habituel. Je trouve par contre intéressant le jeu entre la guitare et la basse dans la pièce Hejira. La groove de Black Crow est aussi intéressante. Donc pas mon écoute la plus emballante. Pas certain que je vais revenir à cet album.

👍
View Author
2

Certainly more unique and interesting than most of her work that I'm familiar with but this kind of poppy singer-songwriter stuff still just mostly isn't for me.

👍
View Author
2

Couldn't listen since it isn't on Spotify. Still okay rating it as a 2 though.

👍
View Author
2

Mournful and melodic, recognise the talent but all too beige for my taste

👍
View Author
2

Couldn’t get into it.

👍
View Author
2

This album is okay-enough. She has an interesting voice and overall vibe, but it's really hard to differentiate any of the songs on this album. It all kinda sounds the same. I feel like it would have been better if she either went full-acoustic (instead of a faint electric guitar with lame effects) or leaned all the way in the the electric sound with a full band and really rocked these suckers out. Overall, meh.

👍
View Author
2

The album was fine. Good songwriting and musicianship.

👍
View Author
2

Todo folk, osea si me gusto pero para ciertos momentos

👍
View Author
2

I don't really vibe with Joni.

👍
View Author
2

dug it more than i expected but that smooth jazzy sound is really not for me

👍
View Author
1

I think this album/musician is important but I just didn't dig it.

👍
View Author
1

I couldn't listen to this because she's one of those old hippie boomers that left Spotify when Neil Young did, but that's ok because I hate her anyway. 1/5.

👍
View Author
1

Dreadful hippy bollox

👍
View Author
1

I ain’t mad at cha

👍