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Music / Easter

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Outside of society, they're waitin' for me. Outside of society, that's where I want to be.

Easter is a 1978 album by Patti Smith and her best-selling album commercially. It spawned the hits "Because The Night" and "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger".


Side One

  1. "Till Victory" (2:45)
  2. "Space Monkey" (4:04)
  3. "Because The Night" (3:32)
  4. "Ghost Dance" (4:40)
  5. "Babelogue" (1:25)
  6. "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger" (3:13)

Side Two

  1. "Privilege (Set Me Free)" (3:27)
  2. "We Three" (4:19)
  3. "25th Floor" (4:01)
  4. "High On Rebellion" (2:37)
  5. "Easter" (6:15)

The 1996 CD reissue adds "Godspeed" (originally the B-Side of "Because the Night") as a bonus track.


Rock 'N' Roll Troper:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • "Space Monkey"
      What's the mad matter with the church chimes?
    • "Babelogue"
      Over the skin of silk are scars
      From the splinters of stations
      (...) When my hair was cropped, I craved covering
    • "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger"
      Baby was a black sheep. Baby was a whore
      Baby got big and baby get bigger
  • Alien Abduction: "Space Monkey"
    There he is, up in a tree.
    Oh, I hear him callin' down to me.
    That banana-shaped object ain't no banana.
    It's a bright, yellow U.F.O.
    And he's coming to get me. Here I go.
    Up, up, up, up, up, up, up ,up, up ...
    Oh, goodbye mama. I'll never do dishes again.
    Here I go from my body.
    Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Help!
  • Anarchy: "25th Floor/ High On Rebellion"
    All must not be art, some art we must disintegrate.
    Positive (anarchy must exist)
  • Artistic License – History: In "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger" Patti calls Jesus Christ and white painter Jackson Pollock a "nigger", though she redefines the racial slur as a badge of honor — "outside of society" — and should be understood within that context. It's closer to Norman Mailer referring to beatniks like Pollock as "white Negroes".
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  • Artistic License – Religion: In "Babelogue" Patti says that in her heart she is a Muslim. In reality her faith in God and Christ is real but complex and she feels organized religion ties you down.
  • As the Good Book Says...:
    • "Privilege (Set Me Free)"
      The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
      He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
      He leadeth me beside the still waters.
      He restoreth my soul.
      He leadeth me through the path of righteousness for His name's sake.
      Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.
      Hey, Lord, I'm waitin' for you.
      Oh, God, I'm waitin' for you;
      waitin' to open Your ninety-eight wounds
      and be Thee, be Thee.
      Lead me, oh, lead me.
    • "25th Floor/ High On Rebellion"
      The transformation of waste is perhaps the oldest pre-occupation of man. man being the chosen alloy,
      He must be reconnected via shit, at all cost.
      Inherent with(in) us is the dream of the task of the alchemist to create from the clay of man.
      And to re-create from excretion of man pure and then soft and then solid gold.
    • "Babelogue"
      He spared the child and spoiled the rodnote 
    • "Easter"
      I am the sword, the wound, the stain.
      Scorned transfigured child of Cain.
      I rend, I end, I return.
      Again I am the salt, the bitter laugh.
      I am the gas in a womb of light, the evening star,
      The ball of sight that leads that sheds the tears of Christ dying and drying as I rise tonight.
  • Blasphemous Boast: "Babelogue".
    I have not sold myself to God
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A mild version - "Privilege (Set Me Free)" quotes extensively from Psalms 23, only to end "Goddamn goddamn goddamn goddamn HERE I AM!"
  • Cover Version: "Privilege (Set Me Free)", a cover of the song Mel London and Mike Leander wrote for the 1967 film Privilege.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: "Ghost Dance"
    We shall live again, shake out the ghost dance
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover photo was taken by Patti's devoted lifelong friend, famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. He also took the pictures for Horses, Wave and Dream Of Life.
  • Epic Rocking: The 6:15 "Easter" and the 6:06 bonus track "Godspeed".
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Jim Maxwell performs bagpipes during "Easter".
  • Face on the Cover: Patti doing her hair.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Babelogue" fades into "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger".
  • Freaky Is Cool: "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger", where the racial slur "nigger" is redefined as a badge of honor for people who are rebellious outsiders:
    Outside of society, they're waitin' for me
    Outside of society, if you're looking
    That's where you'll find me
  • Hairy Girl: Patti's armpits on the album cover.
  • Heavy Meta: "Privilege (Set Me Free)"
    I see it all before me
    The days of love and torment
    The nights of rock 'n' roll
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: "Space Monkey"
    Blood on the TV, ten o' clock news
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger". At the time it drew criticism and outrage. Most people understood that Smith was trying to redefine the word, but she didn't have the clout for the idea to gain traction, which it probably wouldn't have even if Bruce Springsteen had recorded it and sent it to #1. There were no widely known covers of the song until it was featured on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, after which a handful emerged, including Marilyn Manson on his album Smells Like Children.
  • Intercourse with You: "Because The Night".
    Because the night belongs to lovers
    Because the night belongs to lust
    Because the night belongs to lovers
    Because the night belongs to us
  • I Just Want to Be Free: "Privilege (Set Me Free)"
    Come on. Set me free. Set me free
  • Love Hurts: "25th Floor/High On Rebellion"
    Love's war. Love's cruel.
    Love's pretty, love's pretty cruel tonight.
    I'm waiting here to refuel.
  • Motor Mouth: "Babelogue"
  • N-Word Privileges: "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger" reinterprets the word "nigger" as a honorific title.
  • One-Word Title: "Easter" and "Babelogue".
  • Patriotic Fervor: "Babelogue"
    In heart I am an American
    In heart I am Muslim
    In heart I'm an American artist
    And I have no guilt
  • Product Placement: "Space Monkey"
    A stranger comes up to him: hands him an old, rusty Polaroidnote 
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Guest: Tom Verlaine was the arranger on "We Three". Bruce Springsteen co-wrote "Because The Night".
  • Spoken Word in Music: "25th Floor/High On Rebellion", "Privilege", "Babelogue" and "Easter" have spoken word sections.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Lenny Kaye always sings the second verse of "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger", and also usually gets to sing a solo number during concerts.
  • Survival Mantra: She takes the 23rd Psalm and makes it her survival mantra in "Privilege(Set Me Free)".
  • Time Marches On: In the liner notes Patti says that "Ghost Dance" is "dedicated to the union: the communion of the future setting the space for the year to come -1979- the year of the child."
  • Title Track: "Easter".
    Easter Sunday, we were walking
  • Unrequited Love: "We Three"
    You say you want me.
    I want another.
  • World Music: "Ghost Dance" is performed with instruments and arrangements that resemble Native American tribal music.