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Twelve

Studio Album by released in 2007
Twelve's tracklist:
Are You Experienced?
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Helpless
Gimme Shelter
Within You Without You
White Rabbit
Changing of the Guards
The Boy in the Bubble
Soul Kitchen
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Midnight Rider
Pastime Paradise

Twelve review

Twelve – a tribute paid to rock stars

  

Patti Smith became prominent during punk revolution of 70's, or to be more exact she became one of the ancestors of this genre. And though her works never were sales hits she is regarded as one of the most influential figures in rock music history. It was she who supported a withering rebellious rock spirit and transferred ideas of feminism to the music; many of basic concepts that are associated with rock music nowadays appeared owing to her artistic ideas. Cover versions had always had their soft corner in Patti Smith's heart. What is more, somebody else's songs take a very special place in her career; they helped her to showcase her intents to the world, to disclose herself and to become comprehensible. Even her very first album Horses, which considers to be one of the most influential albums in rock music, was started with a cover version of Van Morrison's song. So it's no wander that her new album Twelve is entirely composed of other people's songs. Twelve is а peculiar tribute paid to those artists who has influenced Patti's artistic visions. Well-known old rock hits and ballads represented here are interpreted in Patti's inimitable way, which covers not only musical part of the songs but also an inner context of ideas laid by the authors.   

Mostly the album consists of songs penned in late 60's

To make the things clear at once it must be said that almost all the songs represented on twelve were composed somewhere between 1967 and 1973. This selection seems almost predictable with such pieces as Hendrix's Are You Experienced?, Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter or Neil Young's Helpless. However Patti Smith tried to make the list not so hit plentiful, what makes you think that the choice of songs was based on inner massages rather than on music. For example The Beatles' Within You Without You. She has kept that memorable spiritual mood of the original version but she endeavored to achieve this using acoustic guitars, not Indian sitars. The most unexpected and outstanding track of the album is definitely Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. She slowed it down and rejected from the original's roaring guitars. Patti's variant is really calm; the song almost borders a lullaby, especially when banjo's slow strumming joins the accompaniment. The most significant feature here is the song's hidden nature, which was almost buried under the aggression of the original version. Somehow Patti managed to draw it out on the surface.

Twelve - a reputable replenishment of Patti Smith's discography

A well-known problem of veteran rock performers was always in their weak abilities for adaptation to new musical trends. Of course, nobody demands them to correspond to the existing fashion but due to some certain measures Twelve suffers from too clichéd, played to death material. Sometimes songs' versions sound quite interesting: unexpected arrangements, Patti's voice, her habit of pronouncing words with a special carefulness, it all delivers some specials appeal of course. But the selection of songs as such narrows a circle of listeners by default, the more so because a few songs here don't really differ from the originals. Neil Young for example could do approximately the same with Helpless. However, Twelve is quite a felicitous record, Patti Smith's fans and classic rock lovers will be definitely enraptured with it. Despite that fact that Patti has turned sixty she sounds pretty spry, at least her voice sounds younger than on her two former albums. There is not a hint at tiredness; she is as sincere and emotional as always. And if Twelve was that cover album she always wanted to record than she has definitely succeeded, it can contend with her best studio records and looks as a reputable replenishment of this influential rock songstress' discography.           

(03.05.2007)
Rate review4.45
Total votes - 11


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