The Last Time I Saw Richard is her ultimate stalemate. Its narrator and the titular Richard are as correct in their assessments of each other as they are delusional about themselves and their own motivations; there's a sneaking suspicion that both are manifestations of Mitchell's own ego, which makes it all the more fitting that she enjoys tying them up in knots.
Court and Spark was her most lushly arranged album to date, and Help Me one of the rare moments where the message played second fiddle to the medium. It retells Mitchell's obsession with wanting to fall in love but actually, on second thoughts, not wanting to fall in love, and against this familiar backdrop it's perhaps just as well that there are so many musical joys: the fluttery backing vocals, the trumpet descending like a car that's just bumped clumsily over a bridge - both of them (for once) articulating Mitchell's ambivalence better than she herself could.
On Mitchell's seventh album, all her qualities seem to peak simultaneously. It's where her gifts for melody, songcraft, arrangements and innovation all coalesce, and as such the perfect intersection between the accessibility of the first half of her career and the distanced admiration her subsequent albums would elicit. The darkness beneath the decadence would become a well-trodden theme in popular culture in the decades following this song, but few conveyed so well its signature sense of vacant ambivalence.