Patti Smith, Trampin’

Sam Adams

By Sam Adams

on 08.16.11 in Reviews


Patti Smith

The title of Smith’s ninth album evokes her vagabond lifestyle, but it also conjures the image of a foot coming down hard, which turns out to be the more apt metaphor for its leaden political broadsides. Smith’s anger is galvanizing, but it’s not enough to get past such lyrical humps as “Our sacred realms are being squeezed/ Curtailing civil liberties.”

Applying her indisputable artistry to already-mapped terrain

“My Blakean Year” departs from the breast-beating for a vaguely ominous tale of spiritual searching, enhanced by the anxious twitter of a string quartet. But too often the songs follow the pattern of “Radio Baghdad” and “Ethiopia,” applying Smith’s indisputable artistry to terrain that’s already been mapped.