Patti Smith

This 30th-anniversary reissue of Patti Smith’s classic first album contains both a meticulously remastered version of the original recordings and a live performance of the entire album recorded in London in June of this year. The original recordings sound just as fresh, strong and innovative today as they did when the album came out. Smith is constantly touted as an originator of punk rock, and her band’s elegantly stripped down version of rock ’n’ roll may have helped point the way, but Smith’s lyrical artistry is more akin to the dark poetry of Jim Morrison and William Burroughs than the political rants of Johnny Rotten. The live set, while intense throughout, fully ignites during “Land,” an epic tale of violence and transcendence that allows Smith to unleash her full fervor, but even at that, it never comes close to the luminous concentration of John Cale’s original production. Both discs close with The Who’s “My Generation,” the first version is rebellious, angry, inciting social revolution, the second is rebellious, angry and disappointed that 30 years have brought so little beneficial change. Perhaps Smith’s greatest show of strength is that, despite this disappointment, she continues to hold out hope. Like she says, “This is your world. Change it. Change it!”