Patti Smith / One Voice

Опубликовано11.11.2018 в 13:48АвторMeztizshura

One Voice

If you are deeply offended by criticism, non-worshipping approach to your favourite artist, or opinions that do not match your own, do not read any further.

3 Dec For me, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, just to mention two, are superb singers by The beauty of the singer's voice touches us in a place that's as.

If you are not, please consult the guidelines for sending your comments before doing so. For information on reviewing principles, please see the introduction. For specific non-comment-related questions, consult the message board. For reading convenience, please open the reader comments section in a parallel browser window. Introduction Patti Smith is a bluff with an unpredictable result. Her whole image seems to build on controversy - either you are ready to take her as a great Artist or else she probably means zip for you.

Truth be told, this is characteristic of a large part of the New York bohemian culture which she belongs to lock, stock, and barrel; but with Patti Smith, there seems to be no backing out whatsoever - you cannot really appeal to her melodies which she writes only rarely or her instrumental skills she doesn't play anything or even her merciless breaking down of patterns she was hardly the first person, and not even the first female, to do that.

You either have to take her act or leave it. When she made her first appearance on the CBGB scene, reading her beatnik-influenced poetry to waves of jarring guitar noise courtesy of Lenny Kaye, Fred Smith, Tom Verlaine or whoever was at hand, critics grappled onto her like piranhas. There was a strong, staunchly anti-conservatist female artist preaching the religion of the Velvet Underground, with tons of shocking lyrics to boot, and you know how it goes - lyrics are always easier to analyze than music, independent of whether there is actual music to which they are set or there isn't.

A true gift for material-hungry press sharks and pretentious "rock aesthetists" who pretended to hate pretentiousness, yet pretentiously cheered about Patti, one of the most pretentious performers in the business.

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When her debut album, Horses, came out, she achieved at least as much respect as a "female Captain Beefheart" could hope for from these guys, and sometimes even more. Eventually she became revered as sort of a godmother of punk - She Who Fucked It All before it became conventional and predictable to fuck it all. And this, in turn, led to the appearance of two schools of thought.

One of them, the traditional Rolling-Stone-and-such-based one, still considers Patti Smith to have been a herald of the punk revolution, a cultural figure of enormous, tremendous height, a banner of feminism, and a bastion of emotionality, sincerity, and honesty.

The other school treats Patti Smith as a good-for-nothing: Both of these points of view are equally valid, depending on where you actually stand. Both of them can also be equally wrong if you're treating them from a sort-of "middle ground" position which I am trying to occupy.

In my mind, listening to Patti Smith must begin with a total rejection of stereotypes. If, on the other hand, you are expecting her to deliver messy, unstructured, spontaneous-sounding rants, you will never be able to savour the classiness of 'Ask The Angels' or 'Dancing Barefoot'. Which is why I have always thought that Horses - the traditional "introduction" to Patti as recommended by almost everybody - is far from the best starting place, because it concentrates too hard on the "non-commercial" aspect of Patti, and the true scope of her talents can be much better appreciated on either of the three succeeding albums.

The essence of Patti Smith is performance.

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It is an honest performance, and an inspired one - that much I can definitely hear whenever I actually listen to the strain in her voice. It can often be a boring performance, for sure, especially in latter days her multiple "comeback" albums , because her true strength lies in dynamics, in how she can subtly rev herself up, go from a soft whisper to all-out screaming and then back again and do it several times over a nine-minute tune so you never really feel bored; whenever she starts relying on static, more monotonous, repetitive performances, the thrill seems to be lacking.

She's got a good, strong voice, and she actually can sing, despite what everyone and their grandma will try to tell you: In this she also bears a strong resemblance to Jim Morrison, whose range had its problems but never really lessened the full impact of his powerful vocal cords hey, I didn't choose that photo at the top of the page for nothin'. What she is actually singing doesn't really matter all that much. At her most "obvious", Patti never had a boatload of original ideas, and at her most "obscure", I don't think even she herself always fully understands what the message is.

Suffice it to say a huge majority of her songs deal with things typical for what I call "the American school of mysticism" - dark, depression, death, psychological complexes, sex, loneliness, etc. Generally, she is less understandable than Morrison, but also less cliched, and I don't think I've met the word "lizard" once in her lyrics, although, granted, I never skimmed through all of them. In her latter days, she sort of "mellowed out" and started covering political and social issues in her material, with a radical-liberal tinge of course, but for some reason, her words never really got me interested on a serious level.

That said, aside from the performance angle of the story, there's a lot of good things that can be said about Patti even without cowtowing to the General Critical Opinion. It is a myth that she cannot write a song - 'Ask The Angels', 'Rock'n'Roll Nigger', just about everything on Wave, and even plenty of stuff on her later albums, are as well-written melodically and as catchy as anything.

Also, she really had the talent of surrounding herself with first-rate players who knew exactly how to attenuate her act, and even with her Nineties albums, never really succumbed to the extreme perils of overproduction or "MTV-sation" of her act although the latest offering, Gung Ho, does come perilously close at times. In fact, the only thing that really seriously bugs me about Patti is the extreme seriousness of it all - unlike even the most pompous of prog rockers, for instance, she delivers every single line without even a slightest hint at humour, and I have a natural reservation against those artists whose songs you cannot perform with at least a little bit of smile on your face.

Still, at least she doesn't succumb to blatant populism, like her contemporary, the equally always-serious Bruce Springsteen - whom she did cover once, though.

Like I already said, don't make the mistake of going into the Patti Smith catalog with the idea of "hey, she's punk, cool! And don't make Horses your first purchase, either, unless your favourite two persons in the world are Leonard Cohen and Allen Ginsberg.

One Voice Lyrics: In the garden of consciousness / In fertile mind there lies the dormant seed / When blooming as charity / Conscience breathes a sigh of relief.

Instead, make sure to track down one of her three subsequent albums first Wave would be the obvious choice for me. Patti's two "comebacks" in the late Eighties and mid-Nineties have met with generally mixed reviews, and my reviews of these records are also generally mixed, so you're on your own with those ones. Two stars because she often proves she CAN write songs. Minus three stars because you have to struggle to prove it yourself.

Whether she "fakes" it or not, this is what got her into the papers in the first place. At least from a female point of view, she made a HUGE breakthrough in mus The feeling and the raw power get her through most of the time. I don't even blush when listening to her poetry all that much. Not a zero because there's, like, SKA occasionally.

If you are deeply offended by criticism, non-worshipping approach to your favourite artist, or opinions that do not match your own, do not read any further. If you are not, please consult the guidelines for sending your comments before doing so.

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Comments: 3

  1. 15.11.2018

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  2. 21.11.2018

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  3. 26.11.2018

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