Patrick McCoy's Reviews > Horses

Horses by Philip Shaw
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's review
Sep 21, 2011

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bookshelves: music

I recently read Philip Shaw’s 33 1/3 book length essay on Patti Smith’s seminal album Horses. Shaw is a Reader in the English Department at the University of Leicester; therefore his analysis is rife with theorists like Lacan, Benjamin, Freud, Jung, and others. But I think the real strength of his book lies in the biographical sketches he provides about her early life and development as an artist. Shaw does an admirable job with explaining how Smith got tot eh point where she could record an album like Horses and provided insight into the background and lyrics of the songs. For example I was unaware that “Redondo Beach” was code for a gay beach in the LA area. It was interesting to hear about her past with people like Sam Shepard and the whole downtown scene. I find a many of Smith’s songs timeless-and the ones from this album include “Land,” “Gloria,” and “Redondo Beach.”

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