1971 was a hell of a year for music. But, it was also a huge year for women in music too. This year produced this album, Joni Mitchell's Blue, Carole King's Tapestry, and Alice Coltrane's Journey in Satchidananda. I'd say that's a pretty big year. Anyway, I'm here to talk about the amazing Janis Joplin and her album Pearl.
Who doesn't love Janis? I mean come on, she's the "Queen of Rock n' Roll". Okay that's debatable. But she's most definitely the greatest blues singer ever. I want to know where her voice comes from. Like the vocals on "Cry Baby"? Where does she get that? This woman had soul like nobody's business. I often compare her to a candle. A candle that burnt so brightly, but because of that, went out way too quickly.
Everyone knows this story but I'll tell it anyway. Pearl was released posthumously after her tragic death at the age of 27 by heroin overdose. She was working on this album and finished all the tracks except "Buried Alive In the Blues" (which is just left as an instrumental). It's really sad, after her flawed but great debut, Janis seemed to have found her niche and a great backing band that actually matches her energy (which is no easy task). Pearl is SO Janis that no one could've pulled it off except her. Not just because of her incredible singing, but because of her energy and excitement throughout.
"Move Over" opens the album with a bang where she showcases how great her new band (The Full Tilt Boogie) is. Obviously "Cry Baby" is a definite highlight, and if you doubt my hype around her singing, this track will shut you up good. "A Woman Left Lonely" is a great ballad, very organ filled with Janis's emotional singing. "Half Moon" is a total boogie and lifts the spirts of the album back up. Everyone knows that acoustic intro to "Me and Bobby McGee". She does her version justice. Now I have no idea what political statement Janis was making with "Mercedes Benz" but I love it so much that I don't even care. It's just her singing and a drum beat (it might be a clap, I can't tell). The underrated highlight on here is "Trust Me". Janis I trust you, I promise, just please come back. We mortals need you. Lastly, "Get It While You Can" is a fantastic closer with great guitar work.
I love this woman so much it hurts. It's crazy to think that women didn't like her while she was still alive. That boggles my mind. She broke down so many barriers for them, barriers that those women were satisfied staying behind. The way she dressed, talked, presented her self, and how open she was with her sexuality, she was the real deal and a serious game changer. She was the only woman, at the time, that competed in a male dominated profession and often times did it better than they did. Those women should be bowing to a statue of her, but instead, they chose to make fun of her throughout her entire life for being different. From when she was a kid all the way until her death. People suck. That's why Janis wasn't a person, but a visionary who saw the future and left it behind. She did everything at 110% and didn't settle for being a dishwasher. She set her sights high and she exceeded those heights. Thank you Janis Joplin, you are surely missed.