Some of Mitchell's songs sound as though they first lived as poems, maybe scratched in a notebook with a Bic pen that skipped, or with crayons, each word a different color. This is not to say that the music feels pasted on; it doesn't. But there's a wonderful airiness to the way Mitchell's language, melody, and guitar interrelate. When she asks her challenging, rhetorical little questions in the superb "Cosmic American," she answers them at the same time, and in all kinds of ways. Her voice is at once gentle and piercing, simple and tripping as she sings:
| I'm a live wire, I'm a shortwave radio, do you copy? |
I'm a flash of light from the radar tower to the runway
If I leave you I'm gonna do it semi-automatically
Do you blame me? Do you blame me?
Anaïs Mitchell plays the Ark on Tuesday, October 16.
[Review published October 2007]