Joni Mitchell is the definition of a timeless artist. A singer whose star would shine no matter what era she was dropped down from heaven into. While music has changed dramatically over the 20th century and beyond, with influences ranging way beyond the confines of music, the influence of Mitchell continues to glisten, as the Haim sisters can attest to.
It’s not hard trying to understand why artists from each generation continue to look up to Joni and use her talent as an influence. After all, there’s so much to admire about her paradisical skillset, her serial innovation, which forced her to continuously push herself to new boundaries, and never rest upon her laurels.
Mitchell’s most striking asset is her vocals, which separated her apart from her contemporaries. It is an angelic voice that can unveil the dark truths in a way that can make you feel every emotion under the sun.
Haim were raised in a household, like many, where Mitchell was constantly played on repeat. As they’ve grown up, she’s remained a constant in the three sister’s life. In fact, Danielle Haim described Mitchell’s 1974 live album Miles of Aisles as the first album that made her fall in love with music: “There’s a little bit of everything,” she told Rolling Stone, adding: “Songs from all her albums up until then, and she’s playing them with the L.A. Express, which was this amazing jazz band.”
Meanwhile, her sister, Este, added: “[Mitchell] was getting more into jazz in the seventies, so the record is a reimagining of a lot of her early work through this jazz lens.”
Additionally, Alana discussed how “every year her songs take on new meanings,” before touchingly adding, “I think that’s the beauty of Joni”. She elaborated, “Discovering new things in her music. I could listen to a song like ‘A Case of You’ when I was in my early twenties, and that song has taken on a whole new meaning now that I’m almost 30,” she profoundly added.
During a conversation with NY Mag about the things they couldn’t live without, they named the album again as the one piece of music they agreed was necessary for survival.
Poignantly, Danielle even revealed that she fell back in love with the album during the pandemic. “It’s been my quarantine record,” she noted. “I mean, it’s always a favourite, but I’ve been listening to it a lot recently. Our mom really only played this CD and Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt. It was just Joni and Bonnie — our two friends.”
Este then hilariously added, “I remember being in high school and thinking, If I quote Joni Mitchell, people will want to be my friend because Joni Mitchell is really cool.”
Haim are far from an imitation of Joni Mitchell, and their shared folk leanings don’t rise to their surface in their indie-pop infused work. However, it’s about more than just the music with their love Joni; it’s the hoards of memories attached to the songs that offer them an instant flashback to their childhood and Miles of Aisles continues to soundtrack their adult lives today.