After a prolonged retirement, Patti Smith returned to action in 1996 with Gone Again. It was recorded after she suffered the loss of both her brother and her husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, two losses so great that it's not surprising she is still exploring that pain on Peace and Noise, which quickly followed Gone Again in 1997. Patti had been working on Peace and Noise with Fred before his death, and its issues are appropriately more domestic than those on Gone Again. Throughout most of the record, she explores aging and raising children, trying to find a place for her family in the modern world while coming to terms with her aging rebelliousness. The music on Peace and Noise trims away the sonic bluster and anthemic rocking of Gone Again, preferring a sparse, piano-based musical foundation. As a result, her words resonate clearly and have a succinct, poetic power that was lacking on the otherwise worthy Gone Again.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine