I struggle with Patti Smith; she’s one of those artists I think I should like, not just because of received opinion but because the things she does are things I supposedly like. But for some reason I have this barrier. I think it comes from how I first heard her.
Well, the first time I heard her was in an REM song. But the second time was a not very good record from the turn of the millennium and for some reason that record has coloured my appreciation ever since. I didn’t like it, I don’t like it now and I don’t know if I will ever like it.
I know she’s important. Hell, you could make a case – not necessarily one I’d agree with – that [i]Horses[/i] is the first ever punk album. She’s pretty damn important. But my first impression sticks around.
Smith’s sense of melody is not the greatest but certainly decent enough (and pretty good for a “punk”). Of course it’s her lyrics that you come for, and here they are nothing if not thought-provoking (and outrage-provoking in the case of the most infamous track here).
The band is solid – they manage to walk a fine line between punk aggression and professionalism (this is very much a professional band).
And yet, it doesn’t quite click. Maybe it’s the Srpingsteen track, maybe it’s something else. Maybe I just need to give her more time.
This is a pretty good album, if I’m trying to be objective about it, but I find myself listening to her once again and thinking that if I didn’t listen to her again I wouldn’t really be missing anything, which feels unfair to put it mildly.
Don’t know what else to say.
- “Till Victory” Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye 2:45
- “Space Monkey” Smith, Ivan Kral, Tom Verlaine 4:04
- “Because the Night” Smith, Bruce Springsteen 3:32
- “Ghost Dance” Smith, Kaye 4:40
- “Babelogue” Smith 1:25
- “Rock N Roll Nigger” Smith, Kaye 3:13
- “Privilege (Set Me Free)” Mel London, Mike Leander, Psalm 23 3:27
- “We Three” Smith 4:19
- “25th Floor” Smith, Kral 4:01
- “High on Rebellion” Smith 2:37
- “Easter” Smith, Jay Dee Daugherty 6:15
- Patti Smith – vocals, guitar
- Lenny Kaye – guitar, bass guitar, vocals
- Jay Dee Daugherty – drums, percussion
- Ivan Kral – bass guitar, vocals, guitar
- Bruce Brody – keyboards, synthesizer
- Jimmy Iovine – producer
- Richard Sohl – keyboards on “Space Monkey”
- Allen Lanier – keyboards on “Space Monkey”
- John Paul Fetta – bass on “Till Victory” & “Privilege”
- Andi Ostrowe – percussion on “Ghost Dance”
- Jim Maxwell – bagpipes on “Easter”
- Tom Verlaine – arrangement on “We Three” (in 1974)