Why is Patti Smith’s Horses on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Sopra i cieli, ancor più su. Dolci canti di angeli.
What does Patti Smith’s Horses mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Patti Smith is an artist who I’m only more impressed by over time. I’m positive that the only reason that Horses isn’t higher in terms of its “ranking” on the best 1,000 albums ever is because I haven’t spent more time with it.
As ever with Patti Smith, Horses is wildly eclectic, influenced by punk and art rock and pop and her own special magic that made her an icon in the 1970s New York City punk and new wave scene.
In listening to “Gloria: In Excelsis Deo,” I’m reminded of The Doors’ version (one of my favorite bands by way of their music getting hardwired into my brain as a young lad) of a song that was originally written by Van Morrison and performed by Them.
Both The Doors’ version and Smith’s version are unique from each other and the original, but both The Doors and Smith imbue it with a rollicking, blues rock-meets-punk attitude. Smith’s version builds wonderfully from a languid pace into something much more urgent and exciting. It’s an incredible ride.
“Land: Horses / Land of a Thousand Dances / La Mer(de)” is a nine minutes-plus epic, and also does a great job of transitioning between that similar rollicking punk energy of “Gloria: In Excelsis Deo” through quieter yet still fast paced and compelling sections.
“Redondo Beach” has very different energy, with a reggae beat and a sound that reminds me of Blondie, though Patti Smith has a more innate edginess to her vocals. From All Music:
Patti Smith used to introduce “Redondo Beach” on-stage by announcing, “Redondo Beach is a beach where women love other women.” Whatever relationship such a statement may have to the actual shoreline city of Redondo Beach, a suburb of Los Angeles, it gives a lesbian context to the song’s story, which concerns a quarrel between two women leading to a suicide.
Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Patti Smith’s Horses
This is as good a time as any to provide a few thoughts on Van Morrison. I like some of his (and Them’s) stuff just fine. “Moondance” is probably my favorite, and Them’s “Gloria” is pretty good (though I far prefer the covers by both The Doors and Patti Smith).
I’m just not a huge fan overall, and I say that while aware that many “classic rock” fans revere his work. I think most of the reason for my opinion comes down to two things:
- I’m just not a huge fan of Van Morrison’s voice
- I’ve been forced to listen to “Brown Eyed Girl” so many times in my life that I’d prefer to wrestle a cantankerous rhino rather than listen to it again
Okay, so maybe I’d prefer to view a nice, lazy rhino from afar while on safari, but you get my point.
Personal stuff that has something to do with Patti Smith’s Horses
When I lived in Pasadena, in Southern California, Redondo Beach was one of my favorite places to get to the Pacific Ocean. It was a long grind of a drive crisscrossing greater Los Angeles, but worth it in terms of getting (slightly) away from the crowded beach cities of Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach. South Redondo has a fantastic boardwalk that I would enjoy walking on while listening to podcasts and taking in the beach, the ocean, and the generally pleasant and relaxing SoCal scene.
Some stats & info about Patti Smith – Horses
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Punk Rock, New Wave, Rock Music
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #26
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was Horses released? 1975
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #681 out of 1,000
Patti Smith’s Horses on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.