Classic Rock

Watch animated video for Joni Mitchell’s classic Christmastime ballad, “River”

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Rhino

It’s coming on Christmas, so what better time for the first official music video for Joni Mitchell‘s classic 1971 piano ballad, “River,” to make its debut?

The animated clip, which you can watch now at the legendary Canadian singer/songwriter’s YouTube channel, is basically a black-and-white watercolor painting come to life depicting a melancholy Joni as she looked in the early 1970s, alone in her home and then skating on a frozen river.

As the video nears its conclusion, the animated black-and-white icy river and snowy landscape floods with springtime colors.

At the end of the clip, a quote from Joni appears that reads, “‘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.”

The video was directed by Russian animator and painter Matvey Rezanov, and pays tribute to Mitchell’s own painting style.

“River” appeared on Mitchell’s acclaimed fourth studio album, Blue, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. The song is believed to have been written about her breakup with Graham Nash.

Earlier this month, Joni, who turned 78 last month, was saluted for her lifetime achievements and artistic contributions at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., and she will be similarly feted at the star-studded 2022 MusiCares Person of the Year gala taking place in Los Angeles on January 29.

In November, the Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) box set was released, containing hours of unreleased home, studio and live recordings Joni made during and around the sessions for first four studio albums, including Blue.

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