Monday, August 24, 2009

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!

I have always been a fan of Patti Smith. She's been around for eons and never really seems to age.

Loved her early work and can even still stand her only true hit, "Because the Night". Anyone who liked that song and got duped into buying Easter might have been in for more of a disappointment if they didn't really know what she was all about.

More poet than singer, more artist than musician. I never felt she deserved the moniker of punk priestess. I think it was too hard to define her - and that's not a bad thing, but most people need some kind of silo to put others in.

About two years ago, I saw Patti live shortly after she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall o'Fame. That is where she actually 07:00. Great way to start the morning, I say.

She did the songs people expected and then launched into her then new cover album - Twelve. ....and you know what I think about cover albums.

While I like Patti and thought her choices were interesting, if sometimes not just downright odd, I would give her the benefit of the doubt if I could.

The more popular songs tend to suffer - in my opinion, though they are not horrible. I thought Tori Amos did the more definitive cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", but Patti tackles it fairly well. Ditto with the odder choice, Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". I think she did it more as a slight commentary on the GOP.

She favours the '60s for sure as she covers Hendrix, Neil Young, Jefferson Airplane, Dylan the Stones and what I think is my favourite song on the disk, the Doors' "Soul Kitchen".

Smith has always been pretty good about annunciation with her songs (again, more the poet than the singer) so many of these take on another kind of mood and sound.

She didn't really play it safe, and that I can respect. It's not a great covers album, but it is not a horrible one either. And she just doesn't record that much, so sometimes you just have to take what you get.

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