Big Yellow Taxi Essay

Topics: Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell, Janet Jackson Pages: 2 (555 words) Published: December 4, 2014
This musical composition is about taking things for granted and then missing them when they're gone. In the first verse she utilizes Waikiki, Hawaii as an example. It used to be paradise but now it's a fakery tourist destination. When you fly over the islands all of the other islands are nice and green, but when you go over O'ahu you visually perceive Waikiki and Honolulu buildings. "The Big Yellow Taxi" is one of Joni Mitchell's best musical compositions, however it is different of her work in general, both in terms of music and subject matter. Mitchell distinguished in interviews that she was inspired to write the musical composition by a trip to Hawaii, when she looked out her hotel window at the impressive landscape, then looked down and optically recognized a parking lot. This gave birth to the musical composition's chorus in which Mitchell repeats the saying that you don't know what you've got till it's gone, adding, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." In the first three verses, Mitchell explains on this message of environmentalism until, in the fourth verse, she suddenly turns to more personal and characteristic subject matter, describing how, the night, a "the big yellow taxi" took away her "old man, and reiterating that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. The musical composition's lyrics are giftedly undercut by its music, which is upbeat and set to a cheerful melody. Since much of Mitchell's music up to this point had been folkish and somber, this too was a surprise. But it didn't hurt the musical composition's commercial appeal. "The Big Yellow Taxi" was resigned on Mitchell's third album, Ladies of the Canyon, in March 1970. The album was a far greater success than its prototypes, reaching the Top 20 and eventually selling over a million copies. A group called the Neighborhood expeditiously covered "The Big Yellow Taxi" as a single, and their version peaked in the Top 40 in August. By then, Repeat, Mitchell's label, had rushed...
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