Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Patti Smith: Wave [Arista, 1979]
A lot of folks just don't like Patti anymore, and so have taken to complaining about the pop melodicism ("AOR sellout") and shamanistic religiosity ("pretentious phony") she's always aspired toward. Me, I wish she'd forget she was such a bigshot, and I find "Seven Ways of Going" and "Broken Flag" as unlistenable as (and less interesting than) "Radio Ethiopia." But this is an often inspired album, quirkier than the more generally satisfying Easter--especially on the sexual mystery song "Dancing Barefoot," quite possibly her greatest track ever, and, yes, the reading for the dead pope that she goes out on. B+