It’s a Patti Smith album that I like!! Finally. I have not heard all of the Patti Smith albums that have been released but I doubt that any one of them is better than Waves. Wikipedia states that “this album has been critically maligned for it’s polished production and conventionality”. Well, if it has, then it is a shame, and quite misleading. Yes, no more spoken word poetry (yay!!) and no more of trying to be “godmother of punk” (yay!!!) and no more of trying to be “counterculture” (yay!!!). Its pretty poppish rock’n’roll, with strong emphasis on sweet melody and the traditional verse-chorus structure. A Byrds cover!! A song that rips off “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” in some respects. A psychedelic overtone in the latter half!! Musically rich, at last. One of the songs reminds me of Elton John, and is boring (I am not implying that there is any relation between the two things, Elton John’s gay fans.) The title track reverts back to the spoken shtick, again. Despite a weak last 8 minutes, this album saw Patti at her strongest, since there are 7 songs that are good out of a total of 9. And that too at the stretch. She should have stopped after “Seven Ways of Going”, but what the hell, it is an improvement on Radio Ethiopia and Horses, for fucking chrissakes.
Ok, I get it. She is a love it/hate it or take it/leave it type. If you love it/take it, you are welcome to the land of whisperings to screaming in the space of a second/ lyrics that are supposed to be mystic and revolutionary/ guitar noise. Me, I am not too hot and bothered about getting it. I got other things to do than listening to a woman pretending to be a rock poet. There is a pile of Meshuggah albums on my radar right now, and all of it seems to be technical noodling. This is because I like extremes. On one hand I have Patti who tried to be resonant and touching and on the other hand we have Meshuggah who apparently are recommended listening for anyone writing a calculus exam. Lemme say that I would prefer to fail such a test.
Oh and after this Patti Smith and Group disbanded and she disappeared for a good decade or so before coming back solo, but with Waves, one chapter of the musical journey of the rock artist known as Patti Smith definitely closed. Maybe I have not been able to understand what she was all about because of the generation, cultural and social gap, which can be described as “yawning” to say the least. However, I did listen to all the songs and found that only Easter and Waves have songs that I can honestly say that I like without compromising my position as a “free from all influence, honest, amateur music critic”. So Rolling Stones and Pitchfork can shove their reviews of Horses in *insert appropriate bodily part as per your liking*.
Recommended Songs – Frederick, Dancing Barefoot, Citizenship, Revenge.