It’s always good to hear a familiar voice on a Sunday afternoon, an old friend who comes in once in awhile with some new news. Nothing a whole lot has changed, but it’s still good to touch base and see that they are well and still thinking rationally. There are many good strong poems on this album, so many quotable lines which are a joy to read. This song hits me the hardest because of my penchant for listening to our current leadership in the US. This week the dude actually vetoed a health bill for underprivileged children. Strong and Wrong. He’s so sure he’s right, and it hurts me to see that he can actually do this without an uproar from citizens. Anyway, that’s not what this song is about, it’s just letting you know where my head is.
A piano strolls into the scene, along with some strings. “Strong and wrong you win – only because that’s the way it’s always been. Men love war! That’s what history is for. History . . .a mass murder mystery…his story.” That’s how the song starts out, slow, emotive, and authoritative. On this day that we meditate on our humanity and purpose, Joni adds to the meditation with “Strong and wrong, what is God’s will? Onward Christian soldiers. . .Or thou shalt not kill. . .men love war! Is that what God is for?” She reminds me that the church I loved 40 years ago has turned into a place that no longer believes in the truths and commandments. When did the church begin preaching hatred of fellow man, and murder? I read a sermon this morning by McQuaid that suggested that just as Jesus spiritually conquered Satan on the cross that Christians must now physically conquer Moslems around the world. What??? How can a man who says stuff that like even pretend to represent Christ? But he does, and so do the Dobsons and others of that Ilk that say they are speaking for true believers. Makes me wonder, as usual, what to call myself. I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but I am ashamed of the church that claims to believe in Him. “Thousands of years here we are still worshiping our own ego. Strong and wrong.”
The shoutout tune, This Place, has Joni returning to another common theme of hers – the rape of the land by “big money” that “kicks the whole wide world around.” She prays “give us all the courage and the grace to make genius of this tragedy unfolding, the genius to save this place.” A second shoutout goes to One Week Last Summer, a rare instrumental from a favorite musician. And for those who wonder, yes – the entire album works as a whole unit. Joni Mitchell