"This atmospheric album contains several gems, like My Secret Place, a duet with Peter Gabriel. Lakota is a political protest song with a lovely Native American feel, and on Dancin' Clown, Billy Idol and Tom Petty help out on vocals. I don't know if it's mean as a comment on dance culture, but it's an uptempo love song with a catchy tune and contains the phrase "cherchez la femme" which may or may not be a reference to the song by Dr Buzzard's Savannah Band. If so, it's very gentle, inlike for example Frank Zappa's funny but acerbic Dancin' Fool. Cool Water is a dreamy poetic piece with Willie Nelson adding vocals. The lilting, swaying Beat Of Black Wings is ominous and disturbing as it probes the psyche of a disillusioned veteran - a line from the lyric gives the album its title: ""I'm just a chalk mark in a rainstorm." One of my favorites is The Reocurring Dream - a criticism of advertising and shallow materialism that Bongwater's Ann Magnuson explores so delightfully on Bongwater's work - with its interesting arrangement. Chalk Mark concludes with A Bird That Whistles, her gentle interpretation of the traditional Corrina, Corrina. This is a brilliant album that contains some of her most compelling songs."
Joni's Jazz / Pop Masterpiece
R. Prescott | Blackfoot, Idaho USA | 04/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ladies Of the Canyon, Court and Spark, Miles of Aisles (a Live Work of Art!) and "finally" we come to Chalkmark In A Rainstorm. This was one of the last things that I bought on vinyl (remember that?) before I started to convert CD. Needless to say I played this album till you could practically see through the grooves. When friends would come over we would all marvel at the incredible sounds coming out of the stereo. This album was, believe it or not (like many of Joni's others) nominated for a few GRAMMY AWARDS, including Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female. I don't remember what won instead of this album but, I do remember the deep dissappointment that this album didn't reach the masses. With smart catchy lyrics and singable harmonies, this is Joni's best offering since Court and Spark! If you are looking for something to sample from Joni's Less Folk/More Pop/Jazz oriented period, THIS IS THE ONE. The only album of hers that I would recommend more would be Court and Spark. This one will have you singing along and wondering where the hell it's been hiding from you all these years. You gotta love this one!"
Skunk at the Picnic
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 02/02/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I dug this CD out of my collection yesterday, put it on, and started working on the computer with "Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm" playing. The opening duet with Peter Gabriel was pleasant enough, but by the time I heard "Lakota" chanted over and over, I realized this CD was both dated and discordant. As I tried to sit through a duet of Billy Idol and Ms. Mitchell, I wondered what twisted muse had inspired one of my favorite singer/songwriters on this less than stellar recording.
There are some bright moments here and there, but Ms. Mitchell's better works do not, in my opinion, include this album. I see from reading some of the other reviews that I am apparently "ignorant" or worse, and I'm sure that I'll soon have as many negative votes as a porcupine has quills for daring to state a qualified assessment of an icon's work.
Guess, I'm the skunk at the picnic on this one."
So Personal I Almost Feel Embarassed
cruisewhiz | Hawaii | 06/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When you listen to an album of Joni Mitchell, especially those after Court and Spark, you almost feel like you have been in a place that nobody but Joni should be. Her insite of the human need, the bend but won't break human spirit and at the same time taking a stand on many things we should be thinking a lot more about, fresh water, illogical warfare and the like make listening to Joni and very personal experience. I love to do it. This album makes me feel that I have entered her World. If you can do it try and enjoy this album and many others she has released in the last few years. We are all very fortunate that we have a musician/poet like Joni Mitchell on this Earth."
Joni Reaches Out
Charles Calvert | Bellevue, WA United States | 02/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my favorite of Joni's easily accessible albums, and probably my favorite of her more recent albums. Some of her albums, such as Mingus, I personally enjoy very much but they are clearly not meant for a broad audience. In this one, she reaches out and comes up with some catchy tunes, pleasing harmonies, some relatively exciting beats. I'm not quite sure why this album is not more popular. I can see why some of her more recent albums have not grabbed the public's attention, but this one seems to me to be the kind of thing that many people could enjoy. This is not a five star Joni album, such as Blue, or Hejeira, but if you enjoy her music at all, I would imagine you would find this one appealing."