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Joni Mitchell releases first-ever video for 'River'

Joni Mitchell has surprised us all by releasing the first-ever official music video for her iconic ballad ‘River’, which was released all the way back in 1971. The song is one of the highlights of Mitchell’s masterpiece, Blue, and has since found a place with those left broken hearted at Christmas. 

‘River’ is an animated video, and it was helmed by director Matvey Rezanov and Skazka Studios. Black splashes land on a white screen akin to ink spilt on a page before a monochrome portrait of Mitchell forms, showing her gazing at a frozen body of water. Later in the video, Mitchell’s cartoon impression is shown ice skating before it starts to crack. 

Per a press release, the video is meant to “capture the song’s lonesome mood while paying tribute to Mitchell’s prolific creativity as a painter”. In a statement, Mitchell said: “‘River’ expresses regret at the end of a relationship, but it’s also about being lonely at Christmas time. A Christmas song for people who are lonely at Christmas! We need a song like that.”

On Wednesday (December 22nd), the Canadian songstress was celebrated at the annual Kennedy Centre Honours, where she received the lifetime achievement award. The likes of Norah Jones and Brittany Howard paid tribute to Mitchell, performing renditions of her classic tracks. 

Even President Joe Biden got in on the tributes, saying: “Your words and melodies touch the deepest parts of our souls. (Mitchell has) a capacity to love with abandon, and she does it by letting us in, by sharing what’s deeply personal and yet universal. It’s why millions of people will listen to her songs and feel they were written just for them.”

Biden then labelled Blue “one of the best albums ever, ever, ever” and thanked Mitchell for “(touching) the range of human nature and the sense of struggle and how we overcome and how we love”.

Watch the new video for ‘River’ below.