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In a tweet shared on Wednesday (23 December), the 78-year-old singer posted a snippet of a moving black-and-white video with her famous holiday song playing in the background.
“Just in time for Christmas, Joni has debuted the first official music video for ‘River,’” a statement on Twitter read. “This goes out especially to anyone who may be feeling lonely this Christmas. Stay safe and sound out there.”
In the video, Mitchell’s animated character can be seen ice skating on a frozen river before it cracks and grows into a branch towards a dark sky.
Towards the end, the black and white river changes its colour to blue and a message by Mitchell appears on the screen. It says: “‘River’ expresses regret at the end of a relationship... but it’s also about being lonely at Christmas time...” ‘
“A Christmas song for people who are lonely at Christmas! We need a song like that,” Mitchell adds.
According to a press release, the visuals of the video “capture the song’s lonesome mood while paying tribute to Mitchell’s prolific creativity as a painter”.
Just in time for Christmas, Joni has debuted the first official music video for “River.” This goes out especially to anyone who may be feeling lonely this Christmas. Stay safe & sound out there 💙 https://t.co/P0aBLRwIZg
Directed by Matvey Rezanov. Animation by Skazka Studios. pic.twitter.com/zrRor8uaci
— Joni Mitchell (@jonimitchell) December 23, 2021
On Tuesday (22 December), Mitchell received a lifetime achievement award at the 2021 Kennedy Center honours. Ellie Goulding, Norah Jones and Brittany Howard were among the artists that paid tribute to Mitchell at the ceremony.
President Joe Biden also delivered a speech honouring the singer, saying: “Your words and melodies touch the deepest parts of our souls. [Mitchell has] a capacity to love with abandon, and she does it by letting us in, by sharing what’s deeply personal and yet universal. It’s why millions of people will listen to her songs and feel they were written just for them.”
He also called Blue one of the “best albums ever, ever, ever”.