Music | Music Issue 2017

Freedom Lurks Around Us

Nate Earnest

Two nights before the end of a wild, rocky year, I watched Patti Smith, Godmother of Punk, tear through her seminal debut album Horses. It was her seventieth birthday. She started out by calmly moving through the album, until about halfway through, when she started to talk about the thing she couldn’t not talk about. “Not my fucking president!” she howled, and bang: for the next hour or so the agenda was rock ’n’ roll, love, and freedom: songs written in 1975 twisted for the present age. “Land: Horses/Land of a Thousand Dances/La Mer (De)” was reformulated as prophecy for the new generation: “They will rise up with a new optimism never seen before!”