Patti Smith

Twelve (Columbia)

Phases & Stages

Patti Smith

Twelve (Columbia)

Patti Smith, like the Rolling Stones, always valued a good cover. Her fabled first LP, 1975's Horses, sported the reinvisioned "Gloria," and "When Doves Cry" on her 2002 compilation, Land, didn't back down either. Yet Smith will catch shit for this safe collection of true-to-original renderings, and in most cases, she deserves it. It's not a particularly dazzling array of songs, and she seldom veers from form (Dylan's "Changing of the Guards," Neil Young's "Helpless"). Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," thoughtfully Appalachia-soaked, works as does the Stones' "Gimme Shelter." Yet on both anthems, Smith's visceral grasp could have been tighter, more urgently in line with their passionate lyricism. Her voice is right, as she eats up the Doors' "Soul Kitchen," but what you really crave is the satisfying deconstruction of "Land of 1000 Dances." Here's hoping Twelve is just a breather after the rebirth of 2000's Gung Ho and '04's Trampin'.


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