Patti Smith’s Horses & Opinions on Pusha T

Patti Smith

Patti Smith's Horses forever changed what punk rock could be, beginning with its striking album cover and unforgettable opening line. The album turned 40 in December, so in celebration, Jim and Greg give Horses the Classic Album Dissection treatment. Later they review the new solo album from Clipse  rapper Pusha T.

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In the technological age, many musicians take advantage of devices like iPhones and MacBooks to help them record music (like ideas for riffs, lyrics or melodies.) Apple realized how frequently people use the memos feature for this purpose and has created a new app called Apple Music Memos. It apparently will have more musician-friendly features, like the ability to loop and add additional instruments to a track. The audio will also be easier to send to collaborators and friends. So why is this news? Because artists as big as Taylor Swift use the iPhone memos feature to record music. This shows that with the advent of simple DIY recording methods, more and more people are creating and recording their own music (whether they are famous or not.)

Not to be outdone, Spotify is also making improvements. Think the Coke-Pepsi wars. They've acquired music services Soundwave and Cord Project. Soundwave's main function was as a communication platform for users around the world to discuss the music, and Cord Project was a tap-and-talk messaging service. Clearly Spotify wants to expand its communication features to make it more of an active application, rather than something just played in the background. Although it still outshines Apple Music with its number of users, Spotify is taking these additional steps to level the social playing field.


Horses (Legacy Edition)

"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." With that opening salvo on her debut album Horses, Patti Smith instantly established herself as a leading voice of the New York  punk scene. Horses was released in December 1975, just over 40 years ago, so in honor of that milestone, Jim and Greg give it the Classic Album Dissection treatment. At that point, Smith had been kicking around New York City as a poet and a music writer, performing readings of her work while backed by Lenny Kaye on guitar and Richard Sohl on piano. These shows earned her enough buzz to get a contract with Arista Records and head into Electric Lady Studios to record Horses, with Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale behind the board as producer.

Right from her androgynous appearance in Robert Mapplethorpe's cover photo, Patti Smith defied all categorization on Horses. Jim and Greg cite the album as a great work of self-mythologizing, with Smith cultivating a magnetic public persona. The record veers from accessible yet lyrically disturbing songs like "Redondo Beach" and "Kimberly," to epic multi-part suites like "Birdland" and "Land." With Horses, Smith changed the rules for what a rock star could be and remains an influence generations later.

King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude Pusha T

King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

Virginia-bred rapper Pusha T recently released his second solo record called King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude. This album serves as a precursor to his main event – King Push – set to be released this spring. The rapper promises it will be unlike any hip hop album of the last 18 years.

Greg says if this mysterious upcoming album is anything like The Prelude, he's sold. This record packs a punch with 10 intense tracks marked by Pusha's authoritative voice. He's lived what he's speaking about, and thus he delivers detail that, in Greg's opinion, is a step above that which his peers provide. Pusha offers powerful social commentary with grit and an understanding of the street life, and the album's a Buy It for Greg. Jim agrees that Pusha is an agile rapper with important things to say, but is disappointed in the album's continued glorification of cocaine dealing. Pusha's coverage of drug dealing doesn't nearly hit the depths that Kendrick Lamar's music does, and Jim tires of Pusha's coke-centric tracks. Finding this album to be half-Buy It, half-Trash It, Jim settles in the middle with a Try It review for King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude.

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