Wednesday, April 25


Fresh off her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, punk-poetess PATTI SMITH is taking a break from the rigors of her own wordplay and going the cover-song route.
Not that this is the first time. It was, after all, her radical reworking of VAN MORRISON's "Gloria" that served as her calling card into the '70s punk scene. Now, over 30 years later, she's releasing a full album's worth of covers and calling it, simply, TWELVE.
As much as I admire Ms. Smith, I have to agree with a number of reviews I've read on this particular collection. Almost all of them hit on twin deficiencies: 1) Some eclectic-to-the-point-of-baffling song selections, and 2) A preponderance of unadventurous -- almost "by-the-numbers" -- treatments of the tracks.
To the first point... Smith seems out of her depth trying to put a fresh spin on TEARS FOR FEARS' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and PAUL SIMON's "The Boy in the Bubble." Terrific tunes, both -- but neither seems a particularly good fit for Smith's spiritual aesthetic. JIMI HENDRIX's "Are You Experienced?" and JEFFERSON AIRPLANE's "White Rabbit" would seem far more apropos, but the performances, unfortunately, are nothing to write home about. The STONES' "Gimme Shelter" and DYLAN's "Changing of the Guard" are given solid readings, but being merely competent when it comes to cover songs only begs the inevitable, common-sensical question: Why bother?
Smith's version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" -- complete with one of her patented, beat-poetry middle eights -- will no doubt infuriate die-hard NIRVANA disciples, but at least it takes some chances with its arrangement and instrumentation. At first, I was sure that her clear enunciation of Cobain's lyrics was doing the tune a disservice (mosquito/libido, etc.), but repeat listens have convinced me that, in ANY hands, this song will always hold water. Here, it's a ragged thing of beauty, and -- 16 years after it first burst upon us -- that somehow seems fitting.

PATTI SMITH on the road >>>

May 2 2007 8:00P/Roxy Theatre/Los Angeles, California
May 10 2007 8:00P/Arts Centre/Kendal
May 11 2007 8:00P/Coronation Hall/Ulverston
May 13 2007 8:00P/Vicar Street/Dublin
May 17 2007 8:00P/Roundhouse/London
May 18 2007 8:00P/St. Giles-in-the-Field Church/London/London and South East
May 19 2007 8:00P/All Tomorrow's Parties/Minehead
May 20 2007 8:00P/Academy/Liverpool
May 22 2007 8:00P/ABC/Glasgow

From the LP TWELVE, 2007 >>>
MP3] "Changing of the Guard"
MP3] "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

From the LP GUNG HO, 2000 >>>
MP3] "Glitter in Their Eyes"

From the LP GONE AGAIN, 1996 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Summer Cannibals"

From the LP EASTER, 1978 >>>
MP3] "Because the Night"

1 comment:

pplist said...

Thanks for "Because the Night!"