“Young Man in America” is a repetitive memoir

Credit: Wilderland Records

Caitlin Trude


Credit: Wilderland Records
Credit: Wilderland Records

According to her website biography, Mitchell has said that her latest album “seems to be channeling spirits from the Old Testament to modern America.” Inspired by the recession, the American frontier, and the writings of her author father, “Young Man in America” resonates an old Western, story-telling, and bluesy feel.

Mitchell has described the Young Man as “a restless character on a feverish hunt for pleasure and success,” comparing him to a “mythological, Coyote figure.” Throughout “Young Man in America,” listeners follow the story of the Young Man’s journey through American manhood.

“Young Man in America” kicks off with “Wilderland,” a slow and steady introduction into the olden days of America. With its limited guitar strums, march-beat tempo, and varied ambient sounds, “Wilderland” takes the listener on a trek through a desert ghost town.

The title track of the album, “Young Man in America” takes on a more autobiographical tone, but differs only slightly in sound from “Wilderland.” “Young Man in America” is more revealing of Mitchell’s prominent folksy twang, but backed by greater dynamics in both her voice and the supporting instruments.

“He Did” showcases fluid guitar riffs, accompanied by violin. Mitchell’s voice is lighter in this particular track, pulling me onto Mitchell’s runaway train and into her folk fantasy as I was listening.

However as I continued onward through the album, the variation between the tracks varied little. What had started off as a somewhat unique vibe quickly transitioned into a repetitious playlist. As I got to songs such as “Ships,” “Annmarie,” and “Shepherd,” I found that they scarcely contrasted with previous tracks.

Perhaps one of the saving graces of Mitchell’s latest album is “Coming Down,” a soft and melancholy tune accompanied mainly by piano.

Otherwise, “Young Man in America” does a better job of story-telling than appealing to one who appreciates a broader range of music.

While Mitchell’s indie-folk “Young Man in America” embraces the frontier spirit in its autobiographical format, most of the tracks were simply repetitions written under different titles. Though Mitchell attempts to preserve the memory of old America, almost none of the tunes were memorable to me.

What do you think?