Dog Eat Dog (Joni Mitchell album)

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Dog Eat Dog
Joni Dog.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1985
Recorded1984-85
GenrePop rock, experimental, new wave
Length43:30
LabelGeffen
ProducerJoni Mitchell, Larry Klein, Thomas Dolby, Mike Shipley
Joni Mitchell chronology
Wild Things Run Fast
(1982)
Dog Eat Dog
(1985)
Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
(1988)
Singles from Dog Eat Dog
  1. "Good Friends"
    Released: November 1985
  2. "Shiny Toys"
    Released: April 1986
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic2/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauB+[2]
Rolling Stone(mixed) [3]

Dog Eat Dog is the 12th studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, released in 1985. It was her second album for Geffen Records.

As with its predecessor Wild Things Run Fast, Dog Eat Dog moves away from Mitchell's previous folk and jazz influences in favour of 1980s studio pop. The album was a particular departure for Mitchell due to its highly synthetic sound - it was the first (and one of the few albums) on which she plays no guitar and on which she focuses entirely on keyboards (mostly synthesizers and the Fairlight CMI sampler). Dog Eat Dog also featured an expanded role for Mitchell's bass playing husband Larry Klein, who not only co-produced and played keyboards, but played a significant part in shaping the album's technological pop sound and also wrote the music for two of the songs. All guitars were played by session musician Michael Landau, using an electric/textural approach very different from Mitchell's own. Over the course of the next few albums, Mitchell would gradually return to a more organic approach similar to her mid-'70s sound.

Recording[edit]

British electro-pop musician Thomas Dolby plays a prominent role on Dog Eat Dog, although his involvement led to friction. Dolby thought he'd been hired to produce the album, whereas it was Mitchell's understanding that he'd been hired as a sampling and production consultant. On the original issue of the album, Dolby was credited as a co-producer, but on the version released as part of the 2003 Mitchell box set The Complete Geffen Recordings albums he's only credited with "sound file assistance".

Mitchell was enthusiastic about the potential of sampling and played a proactive role in incorporating it. She recorded the bashed metal sound on "The Three Great Stimulants" herself, sourcing it from an abandoned metal sheeting panel in an alleyway near her New York home, and forced its inclusion despite arguing with Klein and Dolby, who both believed that the sample was too low-fidelity. Mitchell also based "Smokin' (Empty, Try Another)" around a loop of the sampled sound of the cigarette machine in the hall of the studio where Wild Things Run Fast was recorded.

Lyrically, the album dealt with prominent issues in mid-1980s society, such as Reaganism, televangelists, consumerism and famine in Ethiopia. "Good Friends" was recorded as a duet with Michael McDonald, Rod Steiger made a voiceover appearance on "Tax Free" as a televangelist, while Dolby and Bob "Zyg" Winard added humorous character vocal interjections in the background to "Shiny Toys". Some connections to Mitchell's past work are evident in the use of horn sections, and also by appearances from James Taylor and saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

Release[edit]

"Shiny Toys" and "Good Friends" were both released as singles. A video was produced for "Good Friends" using film animation by Jim Blashfield. "Shiny Toys" was also released in a 12" extended dance single format, remix by François Kevorkian, and had a more complete lyric than the album version, featuring additional spoken character voices by Thomas Dolby ("I LOVE being out on the golf course!").

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Joni Mitchell, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Good Friends" 4:25
2."Fiction"Joni Mitchell, Larry Klein4:14
3."The Three Great Stimulants" 6:11
4."Tax Free"Joni Mitchell, Larry Klein4:19
5."Smokin' (Empty, Try Another)" 1:43
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Dog Eat Dog"4:41
2."Shiny Toys"3:27
3."Ethiopia"5:53
4."The Impossible Dreamer"4:30
5."Lucky Girl"4:02

Personnel[edit]

  • Joni Mitchell – vocals, piano, keyboards, synthesizers, sound effects, cover painting
  • Larry Klein – keyboards, synthesizers, bass, programming; spoken vocals on "Fiction"
  • Thomas Dolby – keyboards, synthesizers, programming; spoken vocals on "Fiction" and "Shiny Toys"
  • Joe Smith – spoken vocals on "Fiction"
  • Rod Steiger – spoken vocals (evangelist speech) on "Tax Free"
  • Bob "Zyg" Winard – spoken vocals on "Shiny Toys"
  • Michael Landau – guitar
  • Steve Lukather – guitar on "Smokin' (Empty, Try Another)"
  • Larry Williams – flute, tenor saxophone on "Shiny Toys"
  • Kazu Matsui – shakahachi [sic] on "Ethiopia"
  • Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone on "Impossible Dreamer", tenor saxophone on "Lucky Girl"
  • Jerry Hey – trumpet, flugelhorn, horn arrangement on "Shiny Toys"
  • Gary Grant – trumpet, flugelhorn on "Shiny Toys"
  • Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, samples
  • Alex Acuña – bata drum on "Impossible Dreamer"
  • Michael Fisher – percussion samples
  • Michael McDonald – vocals on "Good Friends", background vocals on "Tax Free"
  • Don Henley – background vocals on "Tax Free", "Dog Eat Dog" and "Shiny Toys"
  • James Taylor – background vocals on "Tax Free", "Dog Eat Dog" and "Shiny Toys"
  • Amy Holland – background vocals on "Tax Free"
Technical
  • Mike Shipley - engineer, mixing
  • Bob "Zyg" Winard, Dan Marien - assistant engineers
  • Glen Christensen - art direction

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William (2011). "Dog Eat Dog - Joni Mitchell | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review