CD Review: Patti Smith

Patti Smith
By David Chiu

Punk legend, poet and now Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Patti Smith is no stranger to interpreting other people’s songs. She has previously covered Them’s “Gloria,” the Who’s “My Generation,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” and strangely Debbie Boone’s You Light Up My Life. Twelve is her first collection of semi-acoustic based interpretations of numbers that seem aligned with Smith’s own poetic songwriting. It offers up the usual standbys (Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced;” the Doors’ “Soul Kitchen”) and a surprise here and there (a so-so version of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World;” Paul Simon’s “The Boy in the Bubble;” and Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise”). Some familiar cuts are very refreshingly reworked well like the ghostly Appalchia-influenced take on Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and a folk-version of the Beatles’ Within You Without You. The best song on Twelve is a compelling cover of the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”—it captures the essence of the hard rocking original—followed by Bob Dylan’s “Changing of the Guard.”


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