Right after Paul McCartney released and distributed his latest, "Memory Almost Full," through the ubiquitous Starbucks outlets, the scuttlebutt from the store level was - well, not exactly a rave. For example, one barrista confessed to playing whatever music he wanted during his shift, and when asked what it was, he would brightly reply "Oh, the new Paul McCartney album!" The album was not selling like - er, hotcakes either. I don't know what the numbers are now, but Paul at least got out there and did these last-minute in-stores and so on, to keep things in the public eye. Paul's always been good at that - personable, and perky, if I may be allowed a coffee joke. His handlers strafed the internet with pre-release and downloads and so on. You expect that from him, though.
So, this brings me to Joni Mitchell and her deal with Starbucks. Reclusive Joni hasn't released anything in 10 or so years, and has been what someone called an industrial-strength complainer about the record industry for aeons. So, why this extremely influential and respected artist, on a come-back album - entitled "Shine" - would make this curious choice - I don't know. But she's done it. I can't see Joni doing little one-off gigs here and there though. You know, pop down to the local coffee hang and there's Joni, like Phoebe in "Friends", casually strumming "Big Yellow Taxi" (which she has recut for this album)for the coffeehead crowds standing in line. It'll be interesting to see how this goes.