Sound — 8
All the other albums may have her hits like "Because The Night" and "Dancing Barefoot," but this album is the home-base album, where all the punk, garage blues, and power came from. It is a true rock album with innovations of pick scratches, straight-forward power chords, and piano, definitely making it punk. My only complaint in the sound is the repetitiveness. It's fine in short songs, but her longer songs should change. 01.Gloria: cover song originally written by Them, (not by 'them' as in Patti Smith, but the band THEM!) It is a starting point to some of her other creative cover songs such as the ones on Twelve. Incredibly powerful cover! You must listen to it to understand what I'm talking about. 02.Redondo Beach: a la the Clash! It is borderline raggae. A bit different from all the other songs on the album. 03.Birdland: great piano ballad and 1st song with gnarly pick scratches. 04.Free Money: has a common rock style that starts with the song softly and gets more intense as it progresses. A technique that's impossible to get sick of! 05.Kimberly: ooooo... love the keyboard. The guitar is more of a back-up instrument on this song. 06.Break It Up: melodic piano... then ROAR! Killer guitar licks. 07.Land: the most impressive song on the album. It has a garage blues attitude. It starts softly, then picks up tempo. Filled with amazing guitar riffs, soloing piano, and pick scratches. 08.Elegie: most beautiful sound on the album. The guitar has an echoing/wailing texture with atmospheric piano. This song is living proof that punk rock can be graceful and decent, too. 09.My Generation: some people might not have this song because it's a bonus track. It's a live performance with grimy, distorted, boisterous guitar with white noise at the end.
Lyrics — 10
Writing: The Velvet Underground started beat poetry in rock music. Patti Smith improved it! I think she is one of the most unique song-writers ever. I can't listen to Patti's spoken word poetic moments without getting goosebumps and feeling a rush. I'm glad to see that she continued to use the same concept lyrically throughout her career. Although changes in musical/lyrical style is a great aspect within punk bands, it would ruin Patti's reputation because nobody else can pull it off. Stunning. Skills: I'm starting this out weirdly, but think about Jack White. His voice can be unpleasant. So what does he do? He yells it out, giving the voice character. Then, it sound phenomenal. Stevie Nicks: super raspy. Same concept, she belts it out and becomes a goddess. The list goes on: Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, J Mascis, Kurt Cobain, etc. Same as Patti Smith. Her voice is a reflection of her confidence and attitude. To be a singer, you don't always have to have a naturally sounding pretty voice. You just need passion.
Overall Impression — 9
You know on XM Radio when they do the "Losts Hits" portion? Well, they keep forgetting to play the songs from this album. I did like Patti Smith's hits later on, but her ideas built off of this debut album of such passion. If you want to know what Patti Smith is all about, then buy this album.