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  • Giavanna Gradaille

Review: "Joni" - Meg Smith

Listening audiences have speculated and debated over who Joni Mitchell was singing about in her iconic single, “A Case Of You”. While we’ll never know if it was about James Taylor, Graham Nash, Leonard Cohen, or someone entirely different – we do know that it’s a heartbreaking love ballad. “A Case Of You” describes the emotions and overall connection we continue to feel for a partner long after the relationship’s end. It’s a bittersweet testament to the strength of love and serves as a befitting inspiration for Meg Smith’s latest single “Joni”. Whereas “A Case Of You” has accepted the relationship’s end and acknowledges the imprint a former lover leaves on you, “Joni” showcases how this imprint makes us initially struggle with accepting the end of the relationship.

“Joni” is a Sapphic pop-rock single about a partner you once envisioned driving into the sunset with, abandoning you and the connection you shared. The single not only captures the grieving period we experience after a relationship’s end, but expertly utilizes Joni as the name of the partner Smith is struggling to move on from to potentially hint at the notion of loving the idea of a partner more than the actual partner. A romantic phenomenon Joni Mitchell themselves experienced countless times throughout their rise to stardom. The song opens with dark, moody guitar chords that beckon listeners to reflect on the relationship alongside Smith. The opening verses inform listeners that Smith’s former partner had mentally checked out of the relationship long before ending it. Which is not only gut-wrenching, but cruel because it makes anyone in Smith’s position wonder how many shared moments held sentimental value for both partners. Or, if the sentimentality was only experienced by Smith, with Joni merely entertaining them. This creates a line of questioning of what could have been done to save the relationship. Smith even remarks in the pre-chorus: “If I had cared a bit less / Would you care a bit more?” The guitar chords then take on a softer, sullen nature in the chorus as Smith grapples with Joni leaving and becoming a vision “lost in my rearview” mirror. Enveloping listeners in raw vulnerability and authenticity. But the third verse shatters my heart to pieces; despite being the partner that was abandoned, Smith feels a considerable amount of guilt. However, it's not necessarily for the relationship's ending. Our artist evaluates their own faults but not Joni’s to “keep [them] a sweet thing”, which suggests that the guilt being expressed is for loving the idea of Joni. When we love the idea of someone, we go to great lengths to preserve our vision of them to prevent having to come to terms with the reality at hand. By preserving this vision of Joni, Smith does not have to face Joni’s absence being permanent.

Meg Smith is a singer and songwriter currently residing in NYC. Listeners might best recognize the artist’s voice from their 2021 single, “Cross My Heart I Hope U Die”. The single’s been featured on season two of Netflix’s Ginny and Georgia and serves as the theme song for OUTtv and Apple TV’s ERZA. If feeling like the protagonist of an early 2000s rom-com fits your vibe, then Smith’s discography is definitely for you. Fans based in NYC can see Smith perform live and feel like Jennifer Garner for the day on July 8th at 7:30 P.M. in Chinatown through Sofar Sounds. Sofar Sounds hosts intimate, live performances at secret venues that audience members won’t know the location for until 36 hours before the scheduled performance – it’s an exciting experience that's guaranteed to bring listeners closer to our artist. Tickets for Smith's performance are $28 per person and can be found here. But if you’re based elsewhere like I am, you can still show our artist some virtual love and support through streams, likes, and follows.

Written by Giavanna Gradaille



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