My Favorite Album: Rachel Goswell of Slowdive on Joni Mitchell’s "Blue" | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 20th, 2024  

My Favorite Album: Rachel Goswell of Slowdive on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”

“This is an album I will listen to time and time again and just sit there singing it. Obviously not as well as [Joni Mitchell] does!”

Mar 18, 2020 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Issue #66 - My Favorite Album - Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney
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I think it’s actually quite impossible to choose one favorite album. I could definitely do a list of 10 but to do one is really hard. It would have been a toss-up between Joni Mitchell’s Blue and After the Goldrush by Neil Young. I don’t have all of her albums but I’ve got the earlier ones like Blue, Ladies of the Canyon, and Clouds. I can’t remember the first time I heard this record but it would have been some time in the ’90s when I’d come out of my goth phase, probably around the time Mojave 3 started. Somehow, Joni Mitchell was introduced to me and I just fell in love with this particular record and pored over the lyrics. There are just so many good songs. This is an album I will listen to time and time again and just sit there singing it. Obviously not as well as she does!

If I had to choose a song to cover it would be “River.” It’s my favorite song. Me and [Slowdive bandmate] Neil [Halstead] actually talked about it. We almost did a version of it a couple of years ago for a compilation. It wasn’t me that suggested it; it was Neil but for some reason it didn’t happen. We didn’t get round to it in the end but if we were ever asked again, it would have to be that song. “River” has that Christmassy piano in it. It’s such a sad song yet it’s so beautiful. It really resonates with me. It’s quite an easy one to sing out of all the Joni Mitchell songs. “A Case of You” is brilliant as well, and “Little Green” too. The story behind that is particularly moving. Joni had a daughter who she gave up for adoption so “Little Green” is about her. Years and years later they reunited.

She influenced me as a singer more than as a musician. I don’t sing like Joni Mitchell. I could never be that good. I’ve always aspired to be that good but in my own style. Her voice is technically brilliant. Her playing as well. Mojave 3 toured with Lisa Germano years ago, and Lisa’s guitarist would sit on the tour bus singing and playing Joni Mitchell songs perfectly.

When I was a teenager growing up and my earliest influences—people like Siouxsie Sioux and Grace Jones—those were the women for me. They were the ones that inspired me to sing. They were the women that struck a chord with me. They were really iconic. Joni Mitchell is also really iconic yet perhaps doesn’t get the kudos that she deserves for being such a seminal artist.

You look back at the early ’70s and there are people like Neil Young or Crosby, Stills & Nash. It was a very male-dominated scene and I think sometimes she gets overlooked. I don’t want to say it was primarily because she’s female but I think that definitely had something to do with it.

She’s been really poorly for the past three years so it’s unlikely she’ll ever play live again. I never got to see her, which is really sad.

(Rachel Goswell is a founding member of early ’90s shoegazing legends Slowdive—in 2017 they released their first new album in 22 years—and its follow-up band Mojave 3, plays in Minor Victories, and has recently formed The Soft Cavalry with her spouse Steve Clarke. The Soft Cavalry’s self-titled album came out on Bella Union last year. Portions of Rachel Goswell’s conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

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