Watch This Stunningly Beautiful Performance Of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”

If you bill yourself as The Tallest Man On Earth it could very well be that you are prone to exaggeration. But the Swedish indie folk singer-songwriter (real name Kristian Matsson) insists that Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” is the greatest song ever written, and his brilliant performance of it in this video serves to remind us that it truly is a beautifully written song, if not the best ever.

The Tallest Man On Earth belongs to the new wave of “folk” artists like Bon Iver who are unafraid to shake up their introspective acoustics with electronic instrumentation and other contemporary accoutrements. This video is an episode in his one-man web series called the light in demos, in which he performs some songs, and walks around in nature ruminating about life and art.

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It begins with him standing on a hill in what is I assume the Swedish wilderness, where he says “When the best song in the world has already been written, why do I write? Well, it gives me some freedom, doesn’t it? To just be in my own place and just write basically the same song over and over, and they’re just verses of this one long one.”

He then goes into a lovely sunlit room with an electronic drone playing in the background, and picks up his electric guitar. The guy is an excellent player with a compelling singing voice and, backed by the drone and a couple of horns, he really knocks “Both Sides Now” out of the park. It brought a tear to my eye.

And yes, what a song it is, the bittersweet melody swooping high and low to the poignant lyrics of a clear-eyed 24-year old musical genius:“Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I’ve looked at life that way”. I don’t think it’s the greatest song ever written, but it’s pretty breathtaking stuff just the same.


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