"The Boho Dance" as written by and Joni Mitchell....
Down in the cellar in the Boho zone
I went looking for some sweet inspiration, oh well
Just another hard-time band
With Negro affectations
I was a hopeful in rooms like this
When I was working cheap
It's an old romance-the Boho dance
It hasn't gone to sleep

But even on the scuffle
The cleaner's press was in my jeans
And any eye for detail
Caught a little lace along the seams

And you were in the parking lot
Subterranean by your own design
The virtue of your style inscribed
On your contempt for mine
Jesus was a beggar, he was rich in grace
And Solomon kept his head in all his glory
It's just that some steps outside the Boho dance
Have a fascination for me

A camera pans the cocktail hour
Behind a blind of potted palms
And finds a lady in a Paris dress
With runs in her nylons

You read those books where luxury
Comes as a guest to take a slave
Books where artists in noble poverty
Go like virgins to the grave
Don't you get sensitive on me
'Cause I know you're just too proud
You couldn't step outside the Boho dance now
Even if good fortune allowed

Like a priest with a pornographic watch
Looking and longing on the sly
Sure it's stricken from your uniform
But you can't get it out of your eyes

Nothing is capsulized in me
On either side of town
The streets were never really mine
Not mine these glamour gowns


Lyrics submitted by pumkinhed

"The Boho Dance" as written by Joni Mitchell

Lyrics © Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

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The Boho Dance song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI'd have to say that I agree with what Orange has found, although I came to that conclusion intuitively while listening to the song. It took me a while to really internalize what she was saying, but it seemed to be a kind of equivocation playing itself out in her head … she'd associated with the "bohemian" crowd, the artists who go on about doing what they do sheerly for love of the purity of art and disdain the acceptance of their artwork by a larger audience as "selling out"—and perhaps this is what Joni thought some people were saying about her; she'd expanded beyond her range of hippie-folk and thus "betrayed" her fellow artists and first loyal audience, so she must be a "sell-out". Also, she seems to be commenting on the fact that regardless of their posturing, many supposedly-"deep", "intellectual" artists are simply affecting airs—in essence, they are no better than what they claim to despise (superficiality)—"bohemian" or "bourgeois", they're both just masks that a person wears to efficiently navigate their social predicament.

    Furthermore, reflecting upon it, she seems to have never felt as though she belonged to either group—she's neither one of the "bohemians" nor one of the "bourgeois" patrons, so what does that make her?

    It seems a very unresolved song, and there's beauty in that ambivalence. She seems to implore the listener to appreciate artists on an intensely individualistic and internal basis rather than on basis of their image and affectations.
    sumeragi_sluton October 10, 2007   Link

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