Record Of The Month - September 2023
Horses, the debut album from punk poet laureate and "the Godmother of Punk", Patti Smith, is the September Record Of The Month. Released in November 1975, it's arguably the first punk record and, no matter how obvious a selection on our behalf, it's one we've one we've wanted to get to ever since we started.
A1. Gloria: In Excelsis Deo / Gloria
A2. Redondo Beach
A4. Free Money
B2. Break It Up
B3. Medley: Land/horses/land Of A Thousand Dances/la Mer (De)
The 1975 debut album from punk poet laureate and "the Godmother of Punk", Patti Smith, an artist who is now very much an icon thanks to this very album, arguably the first punk rock album. The New York poet and singer's proto-punk debut record, Horses, is one we've wanted to get to ever since we started. No matter how obvious, it's essential. Punk was very much in its formative years, yet Smith was influenced by its minimalist aesthetic, writing absurd verses more fit for her own diary than a rock 'n' roll record much like her hero, Jim Morrison.
The album's opening line is one of rock's most infamous:"Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." It would probably be ineffective if from someone else, but from Smith it's a genuinely terrifying intonation that lands as hard and radical. An abrasive listen overall, the album only gets increasingly demanding and confrontational, and focuses on themes untouched in rock music preceding it, but entirely succeeds in abusing the conventions of rock, highlighting what was taboo or unusual about the culture. Hard to return to, impossible to stay away from, Horses made Patti Smith a fountainhead for the punks, the girls, the rockers and and any truth-seeking artist full stop. She's a poet, so this might just be one to sit down and listen to with the lyrics. It deserves to be placed high on the rock pedestal, with that voice -- which is all tears, rips and bite marks, no clean cuts - anything less would feel crass.