I am inordinately fond of the quietly pretty performance of ‘Both Sides Now’ found on Joni Mitchell’s 1974 live album Miles of Aisles. The song structure is simple enough, with a memorable melody repeated through 3 verses (no chorus); it is the lyrics that are remarkable.

They start out merely poetic, but then become surprisingly pointed and even downright declarative: describing ‘both sides’ of clouds, love, and life – and concluding quite firmly that she doesn’t know any of them at all.

Her thoughts on life:

Tears and fears and feeling proud

To say to someone ‘I love you’ right out loud

Dreams and schemes and circus crowds

I’ve looked at life that way, sometimes I still do

Now old friends are acting strange

They shake their heads, and they tell me that I’ve changed (Yes, I have)

Something’s lost, but something’s gained

In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now

From up and down, and give and take

From win and lose and still somehow

It’s life’s illusions that I recall