Joni Mitchell has dropped new material for the first time in 10 years, and Shine is wowing critics. It “isn’t a coffee table record,” raves AllMusic, in awarding it 4 of 5 stars; “it won’t attract record execs looking for a resurrection." That’s because it’s “unsettling” and darkly political. Rather than pandering, Mitchell’s done a frontal expose on the “increasing uninhabitability of the planet.”
The ‘60s and ‘70s songstress has lost some of her famous vocal range—a “lifetime of cigarette smoking will do that to you”—but none of the poetry. And Shine is musically “fresh, full of a more studied elegance.” The piece does bash Joni for releasing the record on Starbucks’ imprint, saying she compromises herself by dealing with the union-buster.