Hey, guess who’s back from motherhood? Patti Smith blew off a fairly successful career as a rock and roller way back when, got one of those wood-paneled station wagons and raised a proper family. The kids must be in college now (which makes more than a few guys like me feel old), and rockin’ Mom is back from the studio with this fine sounding album.
In her early days, Smith made her mark with high concept, low class sex, drugs and rock and roll songs, but she’s largely dropped that in favor of cleanly recorded folk-based music. The opening cut “Jubilee” would sound right at home on CMT, as would “Mother Rose.” There’s a bit of the old rocking on “Stride of the Mind,” but let’s face it, after raising 3 year olds, a lot of that burning feeling you need to change the world is replaced by an even stronger desire to get some sleep.
While the edge might be missing, her lyrical skills have grown. “My Blakean Years” makes clever literary references, and the 14 minute long “Radio Baghdad” seems like a cleverly argued reason for avoiding war. Over all, it’s a smoother, milder Patti, but one that has aged well along with her original fan base.