Patti Smith | Horses
Family Average: 6/7
Alright kiddos, this album is a piece of music history so grab your #2’s and take some notes. The queen of the downtown NY scene — the punk-poetess herself — Ms. Patti Smith, recorded this album within the sacred hallows of Hendrix’s Electric Lady studios back in ’75. That is CRED baby.
Meet us at the corner of Bowery and Bleecker, and check out what the fam had to say about this baby booming counter-culture weirdness.
Effortless, stylish and unapologetic. The instrumental sound of punk rock in 1975 New York with spoken word poetry. A statement that inspires.
Walking talking poetry that makes no apologies, that’s what Patti Smith is. I’d say Horses has to be my favorite album of hers. I love the energy of it all. She gives no fucks and gives all the fucks all at the same time. I’m a bit jet-lagged and having trouble putting it into better words than that haha. Each song just swims into the other like angsty tadpoles. I love the lonely, almost yodel-like vocals and lyrics of Birdland. A very grungy, east village, NYC feel to the whole thing, right down to the Robert Maplethorp album cover.
I have a long standing crush and profound admiration for Patti Smith. Inspired by the Beats and in the thick of the emerging punk rock scene, she is punk's true poet. Her album Horses released in 1975, and was a statement piece in the early days of punk. It's a notable piece, if only for the iconic cover photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, documenting Smith's unconventional and unapologetic approach.
Horses eschews traditional structure and throws caution to the wind in pursuit of pure expression and emotion. Smith is a writer to her core; the lens through which she views the world is at the same time impassioned and tempered, conscientious yet challenging. The opening track "Gloria," is demanding with the opening chant, "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." The rest of the song follows like an incantation, and marked Smith as an absolute force.
Each song is challenging in its own way. With the help of Tom Verlaine and Lenny Kaye, Smith draws upon a number of genres to carry her heavy prose. Her voice is jarring and unconventional, raw in its tenor and chaotic in its arrangement. She bites. All in all, it's not an easy listen, touching on themes of desperation and disenfranchisement, suicide and assault. A cult favorite that has been spun by any and all artists/rockers/poets that appreciate a bit of grit and ennui.