Music - other than Patti Smith
Long, long ago, I saw two brilliant tracks together on MTV. The second was Milk by Garbage but the first took me ages to track down. It was "Leviticus: Faggot" by Me'shell Ndegeocelo. I had almost forgotten about it when I heard my friend Sharron McLeod (a Canadian Jazz Singer) doing her version of Me'shell's "Mary Magdalene" and, on Sharron's advice, I tracked down some of Me'shell's work. "Bitter", "Comfort Woman", "Who is He and What is He to you?" are some of the excellent tracks I've heard. She's also one of only two singers my wife and I both love (the other being Mary Margaret O'Hara).
I got into him when I was at school and I've loved most things he's done since then. I don't just love the things he did when he was big, but the stuff he's come up with since. "From the Inside", from the period when he was pulling himself back together after madness and alcoholism. "Dada", also tinged with madness and alcohol (and surrealism) has some fantastic tracks as well as Bob Ezrin's synthesizer work. "Fresh Blood" is a Vampire story, "Former Lee Warmer" a take on Virginia Andrews' Flowers in the Attic and "Pass the Gun Around", a deeply melodic song about despair.
Later on, he progressed to "Brutal Planet" (his 2000 album). "Brutal Planet" itself is, believe it or not, a Christian song, about the Fall of Adam. The same album also has "Gimme", a take on the Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil and "Wicked Young Man", which is about evil and censorship.