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The Hissing of Summer Lawns [CD]

Joni MitchellAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)

Price: $11.47 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 10 Songs, 2007 $9.49  
Audio CD, CD, 1990 $11.47  
Vinyl, 2012 $25.79  
Audio Cassette, 1990 --  

Amazon's Joni Mitchell Store


Image of album by Joni Mitchell


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When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century. Uncompromising and iconoclastic, Mitchell confounded expectations at every turn; restlessly innovative, her music evolved from deeply personal folk stylings into pop, jazz, avant-garde, and even world music, presaging the multicultural experimentation of the ... Read more in Amazon's Joni Mitchell Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The Hissing of Summer Lawns + Hejira + Court and Spark
Price for all three: $24.45

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  • Hejira $7.99
  • Court and Spark $4.99

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002GY2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,803 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. In France They Kiss On Main Street
2. The Jungle Line
3. Edith And The Kingpin
4. Don't Interrupt The Sorrow
5. Shades Of Scarlett Conquering
6. The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
7. The Boho Dance
8. Harry's House/Centerpiece
9. Sweet Bird
10. Shadows And Light

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Court and Spark had earned Joni Mitchell mainstream pop acceptance, but its underlying spirit of discovery pushed her to risk new-found success with this edgier, experimental sequel released in 1975. Although the session crew is largely the same, and sleek jazz elements again abound, these songs find her introducing Burundi drums (on "The Jungle Line"), layering magisterial but forbidding vocal harmonies ("Shadows and Light"), and casting rueful shadows across the sun-dazed Southern California of the title song. Her daring promptly earned critical scorn and halted her commercial expansion, but the album's confident eclecticism and dark beauty have outlived that reception: from the safety of hindsight, Hissing was a promise to stay hungry and creatively adventurous, a promise kept then and now. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joni firmly announces "I DON'T WANT TO BE A STAR!" September 7, 2000
Format:Audio CD
COURT AND SPARK won Joni Mitchell the commercial acclaim her songs had won courtesy of other artists. But she's always had a cynical attitude towards the music business, as "Free Man In Paris" off COURT AND SPARK indicated. And while this album made the top 5 on its release, it was her very effective raspberry to the powers that be that run the industry. Except for the opening "In France They Kiss On Main Street", THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS is the epitome of anti-commercial. Joni reaches new emotional heights with songs like "Shades Of Scarlett Conquering", "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow", and "Shadows & Light". "Scarlett" is probably Joni's best-written song ever, while "Shadows" manages to encompass all the majestic sounds of an orchestra with just a chorus of female voices and a synthesizer. If that wasn't enough, there's the African drum sound of "The Jungle Line" which didn't exactly prove to be anti-commercial, but in fact inspired the world music dabblings that Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and Sting would base much of their careers on. When released in late 1975, THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS was called by ROLLING STONE magazine as one of the worst albums of the year. For the time, it probably was a unanimous sentiment, but now that time has passed, and Joni Mitchell's career is looked at as a whole, it ranks as one of her most ambitious (and, to the uninitiated, impenetrable) works. As a first album to buy, this is not a wise move. But when you get deeper into her music, you'll find THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS to be quite rewarding.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucious. Very, very lucious. April 9, 2006
By john
Format:Audio CD
Alright- I bought this album on my 17th birthday. On the way home from the mall, I put the CD into the player in the car. After the first tune my buddy took it out and opted to listen to Yes! Hey, Yes is wonderful, but so is Joni! 9 times out of 10, you will meet people like this. People who don't seem to quite "get it" or see the depth in an album like this, Hissing in particular. It makes you feel alone! Really does. I wish I could meet every single one of you who give this album 5 stars. Where have you been all of my life? We could probably assemble a very creative band.

The actual melodies of the album are super duper original. I actually have the sheet music for the album which was printed in '76...and just a brush through some of the notation quickly reveals "not so standard" note usage and changes. That's interesting. It's a 70's thing. A lot of writers of the period could do this. A prime example, and I really hate to trail off, is the song "Children and All that Jazz", by Joan Baez which was also released in 1975 (The album is called "Diamonds and Rust" and Joni appears on does the LA Express!).

When I arrived home and listened to the album properly, it didn't take anymore than 6 minutes to release the insanity commited to tape in '75. I'm not interested in dissecting every song here because I know that we all hold particular melodies dear to ourselves for different reasons, but let me just say this. I realize that "Edith and the Kingpin" is generally considered the "gem" of the album, but I have a different opinion. For myself, Shades Of Scarlett Conquering is what can almost move me to tears. Shades Of Scarlett Conquering is the best writing on the album, as far as notational content is concered and lyrical content.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer Lawns shines September 30, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Almost 30 years after it was recorded, The Hissing of Summer Lawns remains a gem.

It shines with a newness, uniqueness and originality that belies its age.

In this set, Mitchell examines the nature of human relationships via a number of set-piece scenarios.

The songs have layers of meaning that are gently peeled back by melody lines that beguile and hypnotise.

The title track with its " pools in the squinting sun ..." draws us in with its descriptive and pointed analogies of a shallow, loveless and materialistic life.

Again, in Harry's House " ... a helicopter lands on the Pan-Am roof like a dragon-fly on a tomb ..." Mitchell draws on superbly crafted images in her scathing indictment of manipulative, but ultimately mediocre, people who achieve the meaningless lives they deserve.

Edith and the Kingpin is again an insightful observation of an unlikely, and probably unenduring, coupling.

Don't Interrupt the Sorrow and Shades of Scarlet Conquering are rich in imagery and irony.

Overall, the narratives are wrapped in strong soft rock melody lines laced with contemporary jazz nuances.

Great art endures and that may be why The Hissing of Summer Lawns still shines these many years after its initial release.

FIVE STARS for the poetry and superb musicality of it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had to mature... December 10, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I was one of the music lovers that rejected Joni's delving into experimentalism and stronger jazz elements in her songs. At the time I only had ears for hard rock with a few (but not too many) rock ballads thrown in.

This year I began exploring Joni's catalog that I had ignorred so many years. I was prompted by checking one of her recent CDs out from the library. Taming The Tiger.

Court and Spark had always been in my all time top 10 favorites list, but I wanted to see what else she had done in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s that I had missed.

Just bought this album along with Hejira. I love them both but especially this album and The Jungle Line! Hypnotic.

Didn't find a single song that I don't like on it. And many that I love.

But like I said. I wasn't ready for this until my music tastes matured. I think the alternative/modern rock era has had that affect on me. Listening to softer, beautiful songs like Dave Mathews Band, Counting Crows, Sting, etc. had taught me to love, prepared the way for me to return to Joni.

Joni, thanks for the vast collection of beautiful music you've shared with the world!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pivotal, Indeed
As one reviewer has already commented, "You either get Joni Mitchell or you don't." This, for me, is the weaving of magical musical spells as only Joni Mitchell can. Read more
Published 2 days ago by J. Gorin
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
After falling in love with Court and Spark, this one isn't nearly as good.
Published 2 months ago by Gloria
5.0 out of 5 stars Outside of For the Roses...Second Best of all Joni's albums
Joni is still the best! I have no intention of writing a critical review, but IF I was stuck on a desert island, this may be a top choice of music to bring along with me.
Published 2 months ago by scathlete
2.0 out of 5 stars Ordered by ex-boyfriend. Already deleted from itunes library.
Ordered by ex-boyfriend. Already deleted from itunes library.
Published 3 months ago by Jackie Berliner
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Joni? Love this!
No Mitchell fan can be without this pivotal album. It has some of her most creative and interesting songs on it. It's a sheer delight.
Published 7 months ago by Rayn Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars joni's passion
I just love the way she presents a story. this album shows her artistic mood revealing some of her best
Published 8 months ago by seeder 786
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this.
Product was as expected and this is one of my favorite Joni Mitchell albums/CD's. Her earlier recordings, nice summer music.
Published 9 months ago by Jeanorma
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE!
This is on my top-5 list of favorite Joni Mitchell albums. It has accompanied me though most of my life- from being a callow youth to approaching Crone status. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Cissa
5.0 out of 5 stars great music
she is a very talented musician & songwriter, and I love her style. her albums are always a good listen, entertaining, and enjoyable
Published 9 months ago by pen name
4.0 out of 5 stars Extraodinary singing voice
Joni Mitchel's expression in her singing voice has interested me since the early 70's, and I can admire her talent from a distance. Read more
Published 11 months ago by B. Glyde
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