The Patti Smith Group's most conventional album, Wave was given a bright pop/rock sound by producer Todd Rundgren. It was the last album Smith made before marrying and retiring from record-making for nine years, and it can be heard as a farewell to the music business, from "Frederick," the love song to her husband-to-be, Fred "Sonic" Smith, that leads it off, to the version of "So You Want to Be (A Rock 'n' Roll Star)," among the most bitter accounts of fame on record. But Smith also achieves a sense of charm and sincerity on Wave that she hadn't even attempted on her earlier albums, even to the point of her imagined small-talk encounter with the late Pope John Paul I on the title track. Still, the overall mediocre quality of the material makes this the slightest of Smith's efforts.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann