Patti Smith – Banga
Text: Shah Salimat
"Believe and explode" is as hippie as Patti Smith gets in the last lyric for the track 'Banga', from the album of the same name. The legend is back with her 11th studio album since she made her mark in the punk rock movement with 1975 album Horses.
Patti travels from anthemic slow rock to spacey strings and loops in this 12-track effort. 'Amerigo' opens with an ethereal perspective of the naming of America that sounds as freeing as it is somewhat contrived. Lead single 'April Fool' is a riot of romantic realism (We'll burn all of our poems / Add to God' debris) and the song 'Fuji-san' is a philosophical take on the Japanese earthquakes. A celebratory 'Mosaic' is a stomping track of the sacredness of life that will have you channeling your inner Stevie Nicks.
Patti even partakes in an ode to the late Amy Winehouse in 'This Is The Girl', with references to laurel wreaths and Amy's yearning to be heard. A frustrating but psychedelic listen ensues on the 10-minute long 'Constantine's Dream' but final track 'After The Gold Rush' goes back to acoustic melodies. Patti's voice shines best unadorned for all to feel.
This is not the album for you if your listening repertoire consists of throwaway pop like LMFAO and Far East Movement. An introspective listen is what you will expect from Banga and the poetry is far more powerful and inspirational than the luxury rap or party verses in mainstream pop. Patti is back.
Recommended tracks: April Fool, Mosaic, This Is The Girl