Horses is the debut studio album by American musician Patti Smith. It was released on November 10, 1975 by Arista Records. A fixture of the mid-1970s underground rock music scene in New York City, Smith signed to Arista in 1975 and recorded Horses with her band at Electric Lady Studios in August and September of that year. She enlisted former Velvet Underground member John Cale to produce the album. The music on Horses was informed by the minimalist aesthetic of the punk rock genre, then in its formative years. Smith and her band composed the album's songs using simple chord progressions, while also breaking from punk tradition in their propensity for improvisation and embrace of ideas from avant-garde and other musical styles. Smith's lyrics on Horses were alternately rooted in her own personal experiences, particularly with her family, and in more fantastical imagery. The album also features adaptations of the rock standards "Gloria" and "Land of a Thousand Dances". At the time of its release, Horses experienced modest commercial success and placed in the top 50 of the American Billboard 200 albums chart, while being widely acclaimed by music critics. Recognized as a seminal recording in the history of punk and later rock movements, Horses has frequently appeared in professional lists of the greatest albums of all time. In 2009, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation into the National Recording Registry as a "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" work.Wikipedia
The polish, I hate the polish. Gimme the real stuff. Patti Smith is a total badass and her passion and intense desire to create something regardless of natural talent and poise is infectious. There's a gravitational pull toward her I don't quite understand, it's certainly not her voice which I can understand puts some people off. I think it stems more from just doing whatever the fuck she wants to do and be completely unapologetic about it. I've seen this emulated for years in music, but it appears I've found the source of truth in this album. I love the builds in her songs, the way she slowly dips into song and by the end of it has erupted and is totally killing it with chaos like in Free Money and especially Birdland. I enjoyed her cover of Gloria and the Horses song is hella fun. To boil it down to the bare minimum, it's Patti Smith, and the quality of this music that I really love. It's refreshing not to sense an overt drive toward fame, generating sales and digging in to create a brand or perfect album. This just seems real, like it was MADE, not focus-tested, manufactured and built.
Aujourd'hui, à l'ouverture de mon génèrateur favori, Patti Smith au menu. A la vision de la pochette, je me dis "tiens, un nouvel album d'un artiste effeminé à l'orientation sexuelle douteuse". Premier erreur de ma part, puisque après vérification de sa page Wikipedia, Patti n'est pas le diminutif de Patrick mais bien de Patricia. Mais la lecture de sa page Wikipedia m'en apprendra bien plus, et ce avant même d'avoir lancé l'album. Patrick est considéré comme le parrain de la punk, c'est donc sans surprise que je me lance dans un album composé exclusivemetn de musique folk rock. Pas la moindre note de punk, pas même une apparition de travestis a perruque blonde. Rien ne se sera passé comme prévu lors de cette écoute, mais n'est-ce pas la l'apanage de notre Robert, ne cesser de nous surprendre avec des albums tous moins interessants les uns que les autres?
En me renseignant sur Patti Smith, j'ai très vite appris qu'elle était considérée par beaucoup comme la marraine du mouvement punk. La suite de mes recherches donna raison à cette affirmation puisque j'ai obtenu l'accès à de nombreuses photographies de Patti la montrant assise devant différents Carrefours City, canette de 8.6 à la main droite et demi-douzaine de laisses de clebs dans la gauche. Un portrait bien loin de l'image lisse à laquelle veulent nous faire croire les merdias.
Full disclosure: I love Patti Smith. This review is less about the album itself and more about its influence so many years later. Gloria is one the best openers ever in my opinion and “Jesus died for somebody’s birthday sins but not mine” is an amazing opening line. You can tell Patti is a poet first with her lyrics. She also definitely loves to pay homage to her influences, covering My Generation and the references to other artists in songs. Particularly enjoyed Free Money and Land. We all know that I’m a lyrics first person, and so what better person to listen to than a poet. She is the godmother of punk and a paver of the path for riot grrls everywhere. I love her.
Wow! This album really surprised me. Labeled punk rock, this is not what I thought of when punk rock comes up. I’m getting a musical education for sure, which makes this experience so valuable. Props to u/SidledsGunnar! From the get go, Gloria is a blazing, fresh take on a classic. I’m down with the spoken word mixed with singing verses. The androgynous cover picture is a powerful statement contrary to how women in music are evaluated (today included let alone 1975), even though Patti downplayed it stating that’s just the way she dressed. From the subtle reggae beat on Redondo Beach, to the somber scenes of Birdland, to the dreaming hopes of Free Money, and the expansive Land, there is a lot to explore here. This album is fantastic. This album is in the 4 or 5 range, and I’m relying on the historical significance, and my desire to continue listening, to push it over the line.
Oh yeah, this was fantastic - a great discovery for me. I feel like PJ Harvey inherited some sort of spiritual crown from Patti Smith. Fave track - "Land" is a wonderful post-punk (proto-punk? para-punk?) odyssey!
I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Eccentric white girl like Alanis but with less rock and more grunge undertones
Never got this. Never sure I will. Seems to lack in hooks and memorable moments. 2/5
I am crazy about this album it is so good oml. Patti Smith is so cool wth. Also she has my favorite type of voice it's just so good. Most Memorable Song : All the songs were so good, but I have to say it was definitely her cover of "My generation" she absolutely destroyed that song. It was already an iconic song of the 60s and she brought it back. Other moments : Every other song, literally every single one of them. My favorites are Gloria, Land : Horses, and Break it up. I would reccomend listening to the live versions because they hit different.
Beautifully unbeautiful. Raw. Punk. Lyrically magnificent, sonically tense that resolves and pushes.
Amazing, amazing, amazing album. Patti smith is a legend. Considered by many to be the first punk album. Wish I could have seen her a CBGB back in the day.
Had to do some reading to understand the context behind this album. An interesting story, and pretty bold music for its time, I think. My first was a little bit of shock about how odd / raw this album is, which it turns out was a major aim of hers.
Don't believe the hype. Nothing punk about this album. It's a boring slog. Find anybody else from the same CBGB era that Patti Smith was and they will be infinitely more punk and infinitely less boring.
holy crap, can i give this 7 stars? so, so good, and what a great storyteller she is on top of the music
It isn't hard to make the case for Patti Smith as a punk rock progenitor based on her debut album, which anticipated the new wave by a year or so: the simple, crudely played rock & roll, featuring Lenny Kaye's rudimentary guitar work, the anarchic spirit of Smith's vocals, and the emotional and imaginative nature of her lyrics -- all prefigure the coming movement as it evolved on both sides of the Atlantic. Smith is a rock critic's dream, a poet as steeped in '60s garage rock as she is in French Symbolism; "Land" carries on from the Doors' "The End," marking her as a successor to Jim Morrison, while the borrowed choruses of "Gloria" and "Land of a Thousand Dances" are more in tune with the era of sampling than they were in the '70s. Producer John Cale respected Smith's primitivism in a way that later producers did not, and the loose, improvisatory song structures worked with her free verse to create something like a new spoken word/musical art form: Horses was a hybrid, the sound of a post-Beat poet, as she put it, "dancing around to the simple rock & roll song." [Source: https://www.allmusic.com/album/horses-mw0000198924]
Savages + Janelle Monae. Quite enjoyed.
One of my favorite albums of all time. Absolute classic and and it's so import for the influence that followed after its release. Will always recommend this one to anyone who will listen.
This album is so ridiculously influential, it seems inconsequential to rate it. Patti Smith's debut is so many things at once. It is primal, messy, poetic, delicate, irreverent, rebellious, and beautiful all at once. This album is much indebted to earlier rock forms, but she manages to incorporate those forms into the mix in a new and exciting way. Often called the godmother of punk, Patti Smith to me seems like a natural successor to the Beat movement with her stream of consciousness lyrics and spoken word passages. Simply put, this album is essential and incredible.
Patti Smith is a goddamned national treasure and I'll fight anyone who disagrees. From the very first line of this album ("Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine") to the haunting, closing notes of Elegie, this is an incredible debut album. 5 stars.
A doom-scroll through Patti’s Twitter feed circa 1975, which tends gloomily apocalyptic—“Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine,” “Little sister, the sky is falling,” and “Down by the ocean it was so dismal” setting the tone. As a real-life poet, her storytelling and language prowess is audacious. Not that you should expect to follow what she’s saying in a strictly logical sense. Forget narrative lacuna, these songs abound with non-sequiturs and sense-defying leaps that you’ll either find tantalising or infuriating. She doubles down on her prophet come-on with a crystal ball-gazing delivery, slurring and ululating and intoning in a way that’s frankly obnoxious. And there’s the rub. For all the meaning-mongering, this is rock music. Punk music, to be exact. Therefore, feeling—not logic—is king. Thumb your nose, cock a snook, be a brat. Be a kid, for god's sake. And lest we forget, kids come in all shapes and sizes, including moody and tenebrous. But what really sticks it to the squares is that all the posturing is shored up by a sinewy, febrile groove, resplendent with sizzling hooks, electric boogie, and Lenny Kaye’s whip-smart guitar.
The nice thing about this website is that I’m getting an opportunity to listen to albums that have been sitting on my radar for too long. Horses is one of them. I’ve been aware of it for years and it should’ve been right up my alley: I love the 70’s NYC art/punk scene (Television, Richard Hell, Ork Records), The Frogs aped the cover of Horses for “It’s Only Right and Natural”…more than enough reasons for me to have checked this out. Now here I am, 41, wondering why no one sat me down and forced me to listen to this record A Clockwork Orange style. It’s that good. I’ll put it this way, if you were to listen to Horses and Television’s Marquee Moon back to back, you’d automatically be the coolest person in whatever room you walked into afterwards. If you like the NYC art rock scene (Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Television) and haven’t heard this record…don’t be like me, go listen now. Horses is one of the rare records on this list that I hadn’t heard and actually needed to hear before I die.
Thank you, 1001 Albums Generator! Patti Smith is an artist I've constantly heard of, but never explored beyond "G-L-O-R-I-A." After finally listening to "Horses," I totally get the hype. Sometimes raw and punk, sometimes like an open mic or poetry slam (a good one, not the cringey emo ones). Another thing I've been thinking about with this experiment is the evolution of musical styles. With Patti I thought about the evolution of female rock singers - the 70s took us from Janis Joplin to Patti Smith to Heart to the Slits, and so much of the 80s and 90s was built from those foundations. Without Janis, would any of these women have found their style? I feel like she really opened the door for dynamic rock frontwomen. Patti Smith absolutely takes that opening and runs with it. Between "Birdland," "Land," and "American Pie," it certainly is the week of long songs. Kind of didn't mind the length though - they keep it interesting.
Oh you mean female Bob Dylan? Besides her song bird land making me want to kill myself she was alright.
I might have made a huge mistake partaking in this endeavor.
I don't like this. Sounds like the same arty shit from The Velvet Underground. Complety overrated. And what's up with the wining vocals.
The music press loved her in the 70s, which was always a bad sign and I never saw the attraction. I remember seeing her doing Horses live on the OGWT and hated it (she also murdered Because the Night). Nothing on this album changes my opinion.
Ahhh another "critics' favourite" - likely a longer debate but why are these so often terrible? So this exhibits a "punk attitude" which means what exactly? It's a little bit funny (or annoying if any of it mattered at all) that it's likely the same critics at the time who loved this labeled prog-rock as "pretentious" - but what could be more pretentious than this sonic shit sandwich? Bad meandering poetry loudly (so dreadfully loudly) mixed over mind-numblingly boring boring boring basic 3 chord blues-ish music and songs that go on so fffffffffffking long.... As a whole the album was 43 minutes too long. 1/10 1 very dim star
oh yeah baby
Aggressive and anti-establishment. Hard hitting and very vocal
wowow ive been sleeping on patti smith thus whole time
One of the best debuts
The first 5 on my list! I loved this record!
How I never knew of this woman is shocking. This album is life being lived now. How she sings of things effected, is much insight and I feel it.
I mean she made Van Morrison punk and made it sound good. Patti rules. She was not only one of the first female punk voices but also just one of the first punks in general. She was known for speaking her mind, being loud, not taking shit, and of course her incredible writing. While researching the album I saw that she was a poet, which makes perfect sense. On the past few albums we listened to when you saw an 8+ minute song coming up you knew it was time for that one weird, experimental track on the album. With Patti, all of her long songs (Birdland, Horses) felt like beautiful vignettes where you wanted to catch every single word. The "Gloria" and "My Generation" covers are fantastic and really show off the raw energy, abandon and commitment she gives to her songs. My other standout was "Break It Up." Punk started as an inclusive genre for those going against the grain but I feel like it bred a lot of big, douchey male personalities talking about what is and isn't punk. Its great to see it's origins in a poetic woman making songs for herself.
This is brilliant. Start of the album absolutely bangs, then the end is wonderfully weird. Gloria is an awesome song
I've been following Patti Smith on instagram for a year but I've never actually listened to an album before. But I really liked this! The lyrics were really powerful and it just made me feel a lot of things. Either a high 4 or low 5.
Another I've owned for 25 years
AMAZING. Danced while walking the dog. Love the spoken poetry. Love the live versions. Totally special.
a classic, and for good reason... horses horses horses horses horses
she is perfect this is perfect i love you patti smith
Ich habe erst das erste Lied gehört und gebe schon 5 Sterne. Das war solo gut und sie ist eine Ikone. Bin mir sicher dass ich es mir nicht mehr anders überlege
I grew up on the music of many musicians who cite Patti Smith as one of their most important influences, but I never really listened to her music. This is great stuff, both in its cultural context (totally get how and why this was so groundbreaking when it was released in '75) and as music that stands the test of time. I have no idea if she's listened to by today's teens and twentysomethings, but I have a feeling if they were to hear this album, they'd like it (not in the fuddy-duddy "music was better back them" way -- I sincerely don't believe that -- but in terms of the music and lyrics connecting with them).
Her voice is so good
Pretty flawless this is. It feels like one of those albums I should have been listening to for ages and regret not experiencing in my teens (early 20s now). Patti Smith's vocals and energy is entertaining and a good listen. I particularly love how the two songs covered are part of melodies, it gives them a twist and a perfect example of how songs should be covered (i.e. make it your own). Was also pleased with the instrumentation with this and pleasantly suprised to find Tom Verlaine on Break It Up. Apart from the two melody tracks, my favourite tracks were Kimberly and Free Money.
Patti is giving me life today! This is an obvious 5. Iconic debut album. You love to see it: an amazingly talented badass woman at the helm of the punk movement. Fuck yeah!
Thoroughly enjoyed it throughout, not much more to say other than that
Whoa, where did THIS come from?! This was killer! The first track goes hard, and while not every song is as good as that one, it manages to keep up some pretty solid momentum throughout. Super good.
Nicht für jeden etwas, aber ich mags.
She did an exclusive Swedish gig on Lisebergs Big Scen 2014 and I regret so terribly that I did not go there 🙁
Poesía musicada de Patti Smith. Vinilo total.
Poesía musicada de Patti Smith. Vinilo total.
One of the things that impresses me the most about Horses is its highs and lows. This is an album that hits the peakiest peaks and rockiest bottoms. Songs rise and fall in shape, mood, volume, never ending where they start. Patti Smith enunciates (or doesn’t) as if she just needs to work this shit out for herself and doesn’t really care if you understand it. That means that, even if I can’t completely follow the through-line of the lyrics, every once in a while a phrase leaps out and keeps me curious, enthralled. (“Your soul was like a network of spittle…”) Of course I love Gloria and its opening line “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine,” especially the second time when she is so quietly smug on “but not mine.” Birdland is an epic poem that starts with some nice piano and Smith’s sweet, almost girlish voice describing the funeral of a farmer and the son he left behind. “It was as if someone had spread butter on all the fine points of the stars, ‘cause when he looked up, they started to slip. Then he put his head in the crux of his arm and he started to drift.” And on the word “drift,” her voice slides into her more familiar growl, and we are beamed into space with the son, his farmer father, a raven, and some doo-wop. Incredible. Free Money starts again with delicate piano that is soon overtaken by relentless rhythm guitar and drums, ending in frenetic chaos. Kimberly is a 70s punk take on 60s girl groups, I think, and there’s something captivating about the refrain, “Little sister the sky is falling. I don’t mind. I don’t mind.” Like Birdland, the track Land is epic and made me all like, “Whoa!” There is so much here: “From the other ends of the hallway, a rhythm is generating.” “He pressed him against a lockah!” “He saw horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, do you know how to pony like bony maroney?” (Holy shit. WHAT???) “…sperm coffin…” “Can’t you show me nothin’ but surrender?” “Except for one who sees his possibilities. What he sees is possibilities. Seize us, possibilities.” And in the middle of all that is some great rock and roll piano which, as we may have already discussed, I am a sucker for. Finally, the cover of this album is itself a work of feminist art and I am deeply in love with it. Can I give it seventeen stars?
That was rockin’! I dug it! I thought it would be more noisy, for some reason, but it was great as it was.
Now that's what I'm talking about. An album that both changed music and kicked ass. Patti Smith, everyone!
Me ha gustado mucho
Amazing early punk. Like a female Bob Dylan with an edge.
The sheer greatness of the first track carries the rest of this thing when it occasionally gets a little too artsy for my tastes. Essential listening, IMO; even if you don’t love it, this is an important album.
She brought rock to poetry
This is one of those albums that are so career defining and important, it should be heard by everyone. When I bought this album back in the early 80's or so, I have to admit I didn't take to it right away. It's an intense listen and it's not for everyone, but again it should be heard. It's a "game-changer" in so many ways and changed the way feminism and woman's issues were viewed by mainstream culture and music. Another defining moment in the 70's. Enough babble, have a listen!
She's the coolest girl I know 😍 So clever with lyrics and style, easy 5.
What a voice! Such an interesting album.
A classic for a reason, bolstered by two art-punk epics in birdland and land
The sound of music reminiscent of that I already know is pretty common. What's rare is for that feeling of recognition to be tilted at just the right angle. Horses hit me that way and at exactly the right time: I heard an obviously seminal punk album but also something country, something city, just enough obvious weirdness to draw the ear deep in. Deep into a very rough recording, but I didn't bounce out, and I'm glad of that.
Love this 👍
it has been WAY too long since i listened to this basically perfect album
One of my favourite albums of all time. It's an easy 5. If the ratings went any higher it'd be a 10.
The longer tracks are great.
Aliens, sacrilege, stolen money, apocalypse in a major key, drowning sisters, a jet plane, I IV V chord progressions galore, and horses, horses, horses, horses. A masterpiece full stop. This SHOULD have been a late genre Post-Punk great, except for the fact that it predates even the Ramones' first album by half a year, leaving this artistic fever dream of Rock n' Roll ephemera as a crucial cornerstone of all Punk and anything Alt to follow.
I love her energy.
Started the first track and it's pretty cool but my head hurts so much right now I gotta come back to it after painkillers.
Great proto punk from the Patti meister. Can hear a bit of PJ in there as well as all sorts. Patti has a great way with words and being pissed off both things I enjoy.
This is great early punk some really weird song structures
This was incredible
brb listening to a whole bunch more Patti Smith
Great sound. Great lyrically. No criticism.
I love this album from the very first line that "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine". The excitement in this music is still vibrant. The poetry and emotion and raw rock. Free Money and Redondo Beach are favorites but the whole record sparkles and crackles.
Well it's a bloody tour de force isn't it. One of my all time favourite albums. Just phenomenal. Birdland is beautiful, long and excellent. Gloria is just excellent. I love Free Money, always gets me going. What an album.
'Gloria' strikes such a chord in me
What an album! This review comes from an oftentimes punk hater and a major lyric enthusiast. Patti is clearly the godmother of punk and a genius at combining poetry and punk. That opening track and even opening line is absolutely glorious!! I don't know how but she makes me love punk and as a result love her. What an exciting, spicy, punchy album of twists and turns and well under an hour in length, what's not to love?!
Simply stunning - the drive, the propulsion, the energy. Smith’s evocative lyrics, elusive but absorbing, encourage repeat listening and then music is pulsating the whole along. The inspiration this album provided is extraordinary. Is it punk? It’s too focused for that. Punk breaks things. This inspires and leads.
muy buen álbum punk, ni se nota que es de los 70. quiero ser amigo de patti smith
I loved this. I think it's absolutely amazing.
This was pretty great! A great punk rock journey with some amazing songs, long but never boring. Favourite: Birdland
Album merits at least four stars for the opener alone
I loved this album, and now understand Patti Smith better
Hell yeah. Great songs and great vocals. She is another artist I've only heard the hits from and have slept on. I need to dive deeper into her discography.
Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine.