The Beginning of Survival
Inside a handsome package featuring 10 of Mitchell’s paint- ings lies a selection of ’80s and ’90s tracks deserving a fresh listen. Few people would call this her peak period, but loss of upper register did nothing to erode her wit and inventiveness. “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” (1991) is an apocalyptic entrancer that rates with her finest work ever. A duet with Willie Nelson on “Cool Water” is a soothing break from the social commentary that flows through her songs like, well, water.