http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/273e42faf580669ff2c18945610c3c6ae476f2a7.jpg Banga

Patti Smith


Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
June 5, 2012

Patti Smith records are as much about proto-rap poetic ritual as verse-chorus rocking. Her first set of new music since Just Kids – the 2010 memoir that found her dancing barefoot into the literary mainstream – has some sweet moments of song. But the real magic happens when words start flying off the grooves. "We'll break all the rules," she sings on "April Fool," a beckoning single that breaks none but boasts exquisite guitar by Smith's old pal Tom Verlaine. He also illuminates "Nine," a gleaming folk-rocker that imagines the sort of extended collaboration that might've been had the two not taken separate roads. Bowing to the Russian filmmaker who also inspired Geoff Dyer's recent tour-de-force Zona, "Tarkovsky (The Second Stop Is Jupiter)" spaces out in Sun Ra soul-jazz territory, while "Seneca" is a mourning waltz that floats on accordion and fiddle. The incantatory peak is "Constantine's Dream," an extended anthem to art-making which replaces the snubbed Jesus of her signature "Gloria" with a snubbed St. Francis and makes the painter Piero della Francesca sound like an awesomely rock'n'roll dude. On a lovely coda of Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" featuring her kids Jesse and Jackson, Smith instructs "look at mother nature on the run in the 21st century." She's a mother who still ain't runnin' from nothin'.

Listen to 'Banga':

Photos: Random Notes

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »