It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

It don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I wish I had river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh, I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I made my baby cry

He tried hard to help me
You know he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh, I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I made my baby say goodbye

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on


Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher

River (Joni Mitchell cover) song meanings
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  • +1
    Song MeaningSarah’s Joni Mitchell cover of River is really splendid. This is a song of escape. It’s somber. And brutally honest. Sara’s version was recorded live, however I’m not sure where. If you know, please let me know in the comment section below.

    To understand the lyrics I think it’s best to recognize that Joni Mitchell is Canadian. I think it’s safe to assume that she has wonderful holiday memories of skating on a river or pond in the cold Canadian air. Her current life in L.A. while nice, has to be weird come holiday time. Joni associates the holiday with snowmen, cold temperatures, boots, jackets and mittens. In L.A., or “The Land of Make Believe”, they have to fabricate the holiday.

    River realizes the duality of the holiday season. On one side you have family, joy, friendship, love, warmth and a reason to celebrate. On the other side you have a those dealing with mounting money problems, perhaps the first holiday since their Mother passed, or in this case a broken love. It’s in this broken love where Joni Mitchell crafts honest lyrics where the person realizes they are the root of the relationships demise. That they’re the reason why they left. This realization is the worst, and magnified ten fold at the holiday’s.

    So a river to skate away on seems just the thing to do, if you want to disappear.
    Musical Morphineon January 05, 2015   Link

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