"Smith's celebrated ferocity is more subdued here, as she explores less aurally aggressive sounds than those found in other collections. Some may disdain the result as over-produced and under-engerized, but in truth--with the single exception of the truly dismal "Where Duty Calls"--virtually every track bespeaks the artist as both poet and musician, and bespeaks her well indeed. Most of the tracks are considerably more lyrical than than one expects, and Smith clearly demonstrates that her more usual run of raw vocals are merely one aspect of a voice that here can also range into a precise and delicate tonal placement. An admirable collection of music, with "People Have The Power," "Paths That Cross," and "Up There/Down There," and "The Jackson Song" highlights of the work."
Mature, reserved and memorable
Pieter | Johannesburg | 05/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album was Patti Smith's return to music after a long hiatus following her groundbreaking albums like Horses, Radio Ethiopia and Easter. It is a somewhat neglected work in her oeuvre but it features plenty of great songs.
This new edition has now been enhanced by the inclusion of two previously unreleased tracks: As The Night Goes By and Wild Leaves. The highlights include People Have The Power, a rousing anthem, the sad & beautiful The Jackson Song -- a type of lullaby in the vein of Hymn on the Wave album. My favourite is Looking For You (I Was), one of the truly great songs of her career, with poetic lyrics, a lilting beat and a hypnotic melody.
In style, the album definitely resembles her 1970s work and the 1996 album Gone Again more than her later/more recent work. It is more mature and reserved that those blazing and passionate excursions on Easter and Horses, but full of substance and genius. I highly recommend it to all fans of Patti Smith. "
None Too Shabby
S. Finefrock | Raleigh, NC | 10/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Patti Smith emerged from her self imposed 8 year domestic hiatus folks (yours truely included)were dismayed that the former punk preistess released such a polished album. Heads shook sadly and the cry of sellout was usually associated with DREAM OF LIFE.
Sixteen years later, taken in a different context, this turns out to be a pretty good PS album. Let me repeat "pretty good", not great. The production is still a tad too polished for the good of the material. A little of the feral aggression of the earlier albums could have taken this material over the top and the less said about WHERE DUTY CALLS, perhaps the better. Still, this is full of excellent songs. PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER, inspired by the populist, largley peacefull revolutions in the Phillipines and the Eastern Bloc at the time still resonates strongly. UP THERE, DOWN THERE and LOOKING FOR YOU are solid rockers, and PATHS THAT CROSS and JACKSON SONG are two of Patti's strongest ballads.
Out of the entire Patti Smith catalog, DREAM OF LIFE edges out RADIO ETHIOPIA and GONE AGAIN for a distant third place behind the classic HORSES and EASTER. If you own this and haven't listened for a long time, take it out and give it a play, I bet you will be suprised at the overall quality. If you don't own this and are a fan of the albums that I have mentioned previously, you should investigate."
John Doe | 07/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i love this album! it was patti's first after almost a decade of silence. i think it perfectly bridges the gap to her transition (from the 70's mother of punk rock heard on "horses" "radio ethiopia" "easter" & "wave" to the 90's self-reflection of "gone again" & "peace & noise")
either you'll love it right away, or it'll take a few listens to grow on you. but reguardless, it's yet another quality & honest chapter in patti's amazing career."