This brilliant 1996 return by Patti Smith overwhelmed me since it contains everything that I've always loved about her music, and that I find lacking in the subsequent Peace & Noise and Gung Ho. Although many of the songs are about loss, the overall mood is one of transcendence and strength in adversity, as encapsulated in the lines: "Dead to the world/Alive I awoke."
My favourites are the four beautiful ballads Dead To The World, Ravens, Beneath The Southern Cross and the very folky Farewell Reel. Everything that makes her music great is here: poetic, inspired lyrics, great soaring melodies and that visceral, soul-wrencing voice of hers, plus the passionate playing of the band.
The players include John Cale on organ, Tom Verlaine on guitar, Jay Dee Daugherty on drums, Lenny Kaye on drums and Kimberly Smith on mandolin, PLUS Jeff Buckley (R.I.P.) on backing vocals. "Gone Again" is definitely one of the Top 5 rock albums of the 90s, and ranks among her best work ever - up there next to Horses and Easter.
on 14 April 2009
I bought this when it came out, I was going through a crap time having split up with my partner & living in a bedsit etc etc (GLUM). I had been a fan of Patti for many years but had given up on her making more albums it had been so long and her last one was the only one I hated (Dream of Life). This album came like a bolt of lightning into my life - it totally inspired me, healed my wounds, lifted me right up and gave be a swift kick up the arse! Thanks for existing Patti Smith - I LOVE YOU! - This is one of her best albums, right up there with 'Horses' - 'Wave' & 'Peace & Noise'!
'Gone Again' - 'Beneath the Southern Cross' - 'About A Boy' & 'Wicked Messenger' are the high points for me. I bet Dylan was well proud - (re the latter!) 10 out of 10
on 24 August 2011
I agree with the above reviews: this is indeed a very special recording, raw, undiluted and direct. Loss has never been more directly imported into popular music and yet, yet!, there's always a glimmer not of hope but of a no less raw life force that gathers strength throughout the songs. What's most surprising is that the reality of loss and the sense of daring go hand-in-hand, never suppressing each other but becoming supportive in a forward-looking momentum. Plus, it's darn good rock music unlike most other. Quite awesome music, really.