I listened to seven songs from Patti Smith's new Banga CD tonight, all of them on YouTube, so I had the full experience of imagery, along with the sounds of the album. The songs are every bit as interesting, thoughtful, original, intelligent and gutsy as you would expect, and more. As is true with jazz, Patti Smith moves me to think in different ways. And to view music and even the world in different ways.
Here's the order of songs I listened to: "Amerigo," "This is the Girl," "After the Gold Rush," "Constantine's Dream," "Nine," "Seneca," and "Banga," the latter on none other than The David Letterman Show. A sign of Patti Smith's genius is that she can rock 'n roll her originality on a show like David Letterman's and treats him and everyone with respect. This is a very beautiful and rare quality. To this day I am struck with the utter lack of malice in Just Kids, her fine memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, in which she relates stories about so many people--and not once does she say a nasty thing about anyone. That's amazing, very hard to do. She can roar about a cause, but behind what she does is always kindness.
I could say a lot about each of the Patti Smith songs I listened to on this rainy night, but I'm going to be brief because I'd rather keep the experience of these songs to myself. My only real point in sharing these few words is to get you to listen to the songs as well, really listen, because they are worth it. You will be in art. And you will learn something new.
I like getting lost in the world of a song and Patti Smith makes this easy. I loved "Amerigo," about the discovery of America, and "This is the Girl," a song poem about Amy Winehouse. "After the Gold Rush," is the Neil Young song, whose poetry Patti Smith makes fresh in her inimitable way. She and Young have been friends a long time and I believe they are or will be touring. "Banga," which is a town in the Punjab district of India," is a very cool and wild song in the way "Horses" is.
Banga is very international, covers time and space, poetry, spirituality and art. Another punk original from the master herself. Check it out.