Behind the Meaning of Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You”

Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You” is a certified classic. Countless artists have tried their hand at it, furthering its appeal across generations. Part of that appeal is how honest Mitchell is in the lyrics.

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“I think men write very dishonestly about breakups,” Mitchell once said. “I wanted to be capable of being responsible for my own errors. If there was friction between me and another person, I wanted to be able to see my participation in it so I could see what could be changed and what could not. That is part of the pursuit of happiness. You have to pull the weeds in your soul when you are young, when they are sprouting, otherwise they will choke you.”

Uncover the meaning behind this candid track, below.

[RELATED: Dissecting Joni Mitchell’s Curious Description of Her Writing Style]

Behind the Meaning of Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You”

Just before our love got lost you said
“I am as constant as a northern star”
And I said, “Constantly in the darkness
Where’s that at?
If you want me I’ll be in the bar”

Many fans attribute this song as being about Mitchell’s relationship with Graham Nash–or more aptly, their breakup. ‘Cause part of you pours out of me / In these lines from time to time, she sings in the fourth verse. That line is really the crux of this song. It’s an in-depth portrait of a now-ended relationship that had a deep impact on her.

Oh, you are in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling
Still I’d be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

In the chorus, she likens her love interest to the buzz of wine. Despite any downfalls their relationship might have faced, it’s impossible for her to let go of that feeling. I could drink a case of you, darling / Still I’d be on my feet, she sings.

Revisit this timeless track, below.

(Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

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