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An Inspiring, Poetic Woman
on 16 September 2007
It truly is remarkable the extent to which Patti Smith set out the template for women in music, influencing everyone from P.J.Harvey to K.T.Tunstall and a few hundred others in between. But Smith hasn't just achieved that - she actually trounces most of her male contemporaries too, in terms of lyrics, charisma, vocal performance and general all-round presence.
Prior to this, Smith had actually had three books of poetry published, making her a multi-talented, multi-tasking woman, an artist, a creator. It almost seems insulting to think of women as mere child-bearers and wives when confronted with the wonder that is Patti Smith. Her legendary status in the music business is rivalled only by the likes of Nico and a few others. Her confident, trademark hollering in 'Till Victory' is captivating, the aural poetry of 'Space Monkey' is amazing, and the awesome power of 'Because The Night' is career-defining. Smith's ability in using words and language is top-notch and her voice is a force of nature.
The likes of 'Ghost Dance' is moody and atmospheric, artistic and subtle, whilst the one minute and thirty seconds of 'Babelogue' is a pure adrenalin rush, as Smith recites her poetry with astonishing character and gusto. 'Rock N' Roll Nigger', meanwhile, is one of the finest songs to come out of the American punk scene, fast-paced, energetic and vital. Even slower numbers like 'We Three' are magnetic, showing a wide range of emotional depth, whilst 'Easter' itself carries on in this same vein, Smith's voice affecting, the music subtly beautiful.
This is a potentially life-changing album from one of the most influential songwriters in the history of music. From her artistic stance on lyrics to her general appearance, Smith's influence is far-reaching. When K.D. Lang has the freedom to wear a shirt and tie combo, or Beth Ditto has the freedom to show unshaven armpits, or any woman in music displays a vivacious and boisterous onstage demeanour, they all have one woman to thank: Patti Smith. All hail the genius.