Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's like finding out Santa is really your parents all over again

One of my favourite songs of all time is "Clouds" by Hole. I love it dearly, want it played at my funeral and everything. (One of my few regrets is allowing my ex-husband to convince me that it wasn't an appropriate choice to play at our wedding) Never mind that, one of my best teenage memories is the year Hole played at Lollapalooza and actually performed this song, it was like heaven, as I recall.

So, the hangover wearing off enough for me to do some light school-work, I start going through one of my poetry books, and "Both Sides, Now" by Joni Mitchell jumps out at me from the table of contents.  I don't know why, my inner hippie was showing or something.

I start reading the poem and realize it's the lyrics to Clouds. Now, the lyrics-lover in me was somewhat pleased because I've never been able to know with complete certainty what exactly the words Courtney is screaming are.  I can't help reading the poem as if she's singing it.  Out loud.  My upstairs neighbor isn't home so why not?  It turned out to be a fairly enjoyable diversion on this snowy, shitty day.

What bothers me is the disappointment I feel. Why do I all of a sudden love this song a little less?  It's not like I have beef with Joni Mitchell.  I feel fairly proud of old Corky for being a little bit more well-read than I might have thought.  The song is on the "Pretty on the Inside" album, which I grab off the shelf and start reading the liner notes to.  They've got the lyrics for each song - I notice that "Clouds" does not have the complete lyrics - only one verse, which must have been the only one the band actually wrote.  Nowhere is there any indication that Joni Mitchell is responsible for the rest of the lyrics. 

"All songs - Hole 1991
Bad Sister Music BMI"
(no asterisks or exceptions follow this)

Hole also wishes to thank a number of people... Joni Mitchell isn't one of them.

So, I am partly bothered by this, but the disappointment had kicked in well before I discovered this slight.  Why?  I honestly think I'm disappointed because the song no longer seems as cool or something - what a fucking elitist mentality but I can't seem to shake it.  Would my teenaged self had liked the song as much if she knew Joni Mitchell wrote it?  Probably not.  But why the hell does my 33 year old self, who, if we're being honest here would probably rather listen to Joni Mitchell than Hole these days, still care about the farce that people like to call street-cred?  I think I best go smoke a bowl and do some serious self-reflection, sorry homework, you'll have to wait.

Both Sides, Now
Rows and flows of angel hair,
and ice cream castles in the air,
and feather canyons ev'rywhere,
I've looked at clouds that way.

But now they only block the sun,
they rain and snow on ev'ryone,
so many things I could have done,
but clouds got in the way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down and still somehow
it's cloud illusions I recall;
I really don't know clouds at all.

-Joni Mitchell, 1967

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