Twelve (Bonus Track Version)

Twelve (Bonus Track Version)

When Patti Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, she was in the midst of working on her memoir, Just Kids. And while she was performing and touring, she hadn’t written any new songs since 2004’s Trampin’. Her record label wanted her to have something to promote while in the spotlight, so Smith—who’d always been an efficient worker in the studio, but who wrote for long stretches—decided to record an album of cover songs. The resulting album, Twelve, collects a dozen different tracks, recorded with many of Smith’s usual compatriots: Lenny Kaye, Jay Dee Daugherty, and Tony Shanahan. Smith chose songs performed by some of her favorite artists—including Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan—while also picking a few tracks she felt would be a good match for her voice. But for the most part, Twelve is a collection of tunes that Smith simply thought would be fun to sing—and that she knew she and her band would be good at performing. The album is also proof that Smith has a wide-ranging and diverse record collection. On Twelve, you get to enjoy Smith hopping around from Paul Simon (“The Boy in the Bubble”) to Tears for Fears (“Everybody Wants to Rule the World”) to The Rolling Stones (“Gimme Shelter”). Her version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” lets her pay tribute to Grace Slick as a songwriter and vocalist, while Smith’s reverence for Dylan is represented by her take on “Changing of the Guards,” the vaguely autobiographical opening cut of his 1978 album, Street Legal. Most notably, she turns Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” into an Appalachian mountain ballad. It’s a fun assortment of tunes.

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