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  Gung Ho  
  Patti Smith  
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I've avoided writing this review for some time because it's not easy to "critique" an indie rock legend, especially one with the integrity, lyric poetry, and genuine artistry of Patti Smith. Indeed, this review is not so much a critique as a poetic comparison of her earlier work on Easter to Gung Ho, her latest offering.

Looking at the photos in the liner notes of Gung Ho, I was reminded of the artwork in Easter. Both have images of flags and fabrics, haunting pictures of Patti Smith and the band. On Easter, those pictures are black and white, presenting stark and gritty images of struggle, heritage, patriotism, and war: Patty trapped in black jeans and a blindfold, Patti draped in white sheets. In contrast, Gung Ho's artwork is cast in shades of muted blue, red, grey, and green and depicts rememberance, reflection, even meditation. In two different pictures, Patti sits contemplative and looking at something we can't see-while blurred lines obscure the rough edges of stars and stripes hung behind her.

These images mirror the music of the two albums. Easter is a forceful, explosive, even angry manifesto with heavy guitar and snarled vocals. The music crashes together with bold black and white sounds, painted with conflict and frustration. On the contrary, Gung Ho is the sound of wisdom and experience. The guitar work is subtle, exotic, and rich like well crafted mahogany; the lyrics indicate resolve and inner peace-the connectionedness of sexuality, pain, passion, and death. Gung Ho is not an album for rebellious youth but rather a patient journey of the spirit and senses.

In short, what is my "advice" for those who adore the work of a younger Patti? Don't expect to be blown out of your shoes at first hearing Gung Ho. Listen to it several times while resting, while meditating, while writing. Its depth, richness, and wisdom will reveal itself to you.

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