The llissin of Slimmer Lawns ( Asyluni ) Joni Mitchell has come a long way sincc she was scuffling on the Motor City tolk circuit with ex-husband Chuck Mitchell, appearing frequently in such rooms as the Living lind, the Retort, and the Raven Gallery. in fact, for this reviewer's tastes at least, she has developcd her musical prowess over the years to the point where she could legitimately be called une af the finest popular songwriters working in her genre today. True, one must admit that such labels as "soft rock" and "slick studio pop" are fairly accurate characterizations of what Joni does most of the time. Ispecially sincc her decisión to record and tour with L.A. studio musician1;, much of her compositional, vocal, and lyrical talent comes to us in such a glossy wrapping that her subtleties of 00ÍQüm)L and style gct lost easily. In addition, Joni's fascination with the pop idiom, unveiled initially with Court and Spark, imposes furthei restrictions on hei ampie melodie and lyrical imagination, while admittedly gaining her Ihe ears of niany more listcners. The current otïering, despite its highly metaphorical title. combines '-overal examples of het facility lor infusing "pop" structuies with dynamic and inventive melodie, rhythmic, and lyrical ideas, with two or Ihree inore ambitious and innovative pieces. Hiere is also supposed to be a unifying Eheme here, which may have to do with Joni's keen observations of the roles played out by certain women she lias known, including herselt'. As always, Joni's perception of other peopk-'s milieu and feelings, as wel) as her own, is exceedingly sharp and well-conveyed. She isa genius at creating atmosphere, mood, and dramatic tensión. One could only wish her voice had as much power and gutsiness as it has expressive nuance and control. All in all, a recording well worth your attention, though nol aspiring to the heights of F'or the Roses tbr iny money her crowning achievemenl to d.itc.