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Josh Hurst

The Sound of the Smiths

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I've always been kind of angry at the Smiths (or their label) for all their releases -- there's been more than one greatest hits from them -- In addition to Singles I and II there is also "Best of" I and II, and even, I think, "Very Best Of". And isn't Louder Than Bombs technically a compilation also, which is the US verion of The World Won't Listen also a comp, but they have slightly different tracklists? I'm not sure I'm right about all of that, but damn. If you want to get their whole discography you end up with, like, 5 CDs that have the same songs.

I will say that remastered versions sound intriguing. If Marr could throw an autotune on Morrissey's "I Know It's Over" vox, I might even buy it...

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Yeah, their catalog has been repackaged many times-- particularly for a group that only had, what, five albums? Keep in mind, though, that they were also a prolific singles band, which is what Louder... and Hatful of Hollow are all about: They collect (mostly) non-album tracks, which makes them a bit different from the other compilations. But yes.

At any rate, though they have many compilations-- too many, even-- this ons is, by any objective standard, the best, if only because it's the most comprehensive, and because Disc 2, in particular, goes deeper into their album tracks and rarities than any of the other comps ever attempted.


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I've always been kind of angry at the Smiths (or their label) for all their releases -- there's been more than one greatest hits from them -- In addition to Singles I and II there is also "Best of" I and II, and even, I think, "Very Best Of". And isn't Louder Than Bombs technically a compilation also, which is the US verion of The World Won't Listen also a comp, but they have slightly different tracklists? I'm not sure I'm right about all of that, but damn. If you want to get their whole discography you end up with, like, 5 CDs that have the same songs.

I will say that remastered versions sound intriguing. If Marr could throw an autotune on Morrissey's "I Know It's Over" vox, I might even buy it...

A complete studio recordings boxset would be a great idea for The Smiths. They have a lot of great tracks, and only four (?) official studio albums, so their discography is pretty convoluted.

I don't think anything should get autotuned ever. I'm a luddite like that.


It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents

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It's not the same (since the songs are not remastered), but I'm going to have to make this album at home based off my collection and find out for myself if this will be THE definitive Smiths compilation. As it stands, I'm a fan of Singles, but I'm willing to listen to reason.


"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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It's not the same (since the songs are not remastered), but I'm going to have to make this album at home based off my collection and find out for myself if this will be THE definitive Smiths compilation. As it stands, I'm a fan of Singles, but I'm willing to listen to reason.

Well, this new set has literally every track from Singles-- most of them in the same order, even-- plus either a few or many other songs, depending on whether you spring for the deluxe edition. So while I've always been a big fan of Singles, I sold it to a used record shop when I got this one, because there's no reason to have both.


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Also, I can't believe this is the only thread devoted to the Smiths. With that being said, its about time.

The Smiths are probably one of my favorite bands of all time, if not the most frustrating. My frustration stems from, as Trout put it, their convoluted discography. They have plenty of songs but their so spread out and appear in different versions over so many albums with so much overlap that its hard put the songs in any sort of context. That being said, it was Singles that turned me into a fan. I had their debut album for sometime and while liking songs like "This Charming Man" and "Pretty Girls Make Graves", but the album as a whole failed to captivate me. But once I heard Singles I realized what a great stinking singles band they were. But then I heard The Queen is Dead, my favorite album of theirs and realized they were capable of making great albums as further evidenced by Meat is Murder. The Smiths are frustrating too in that while I can't complain about what they did accomplish, its hard not to think about what might have been had the band not imploded.

Then you get to the Morrissey solo albums and the frustration continues. Once again you get scattered compilations with much overlap. But, there is also more solo albums. Most of which are hit or miss. This causes me to project back on the Smiths.

It's not the same (since the songs are not remastered), but I'm going to have to make this album at home based off my collection and find out for myself if this will be THE definitive Smiths compilation. As it stands, I'm a fan of Singles, but I'm willing to listen to reason.

Well, this new set has literally every track from Singles-- most of them in the same order, even-- plus either a few or many other songs, depending on whether you spring for the deluxe edition. So while I've always been a big fan of Singles, I sold it to a used record shop when I got this one, because there's no reason to have both.

The joy of reviewing. Fortunately then, I can make my own Sounds of the Smiths album! I actually think I have everything from disc 2 (or at least most of it) so I can make mine deluxe.


"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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I don't think anything should get autotuned ever. I'm a luddite like that.

I was just kidding, but you have to admit, Morrissey all but ruins a great song with that warbling at the end.

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Yeah, their catalog has been repackaged many times-- particularly for a group that only had, what, five albums?

from the horse himself:

Reissue! Repackage! Repackage!

Reevaluate the songs

Double-pack with a photograph

Extra Track (and a tacky badge)

Keep in mind, though, that they were also a prolific singles band, which is what Louder... and Hatful of Hollow are all about: They collect (mostly) non-album tracks, which makes them a bit different from the other compilations. But yes.

Hatful Of Hollow, for me, is still the definitive Smiths collection, and greater in sum than any of the albums themselves. All lean, no fat. They actually sounded lean, and hungry as well.

I've encountered discussions in which The Smiths were lumped in with other "80's" acts as being superfluous and twee...clearly by people who had never heard Morrissey lament about being taken behind a disused railway line and shown something he won't forget too soon; while Rourke is attempting to snap his bass guitar in half and Marr is channelling McGuinn-on-speed.

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I avoided the Smiths for the longest time... probably because they reminded me of my first girlfriend, who was a huge fan. But within the last year or so, I finally got over all of that and picked up the aforementioned Singles disc, and while I'm not a complete convert, there's no way that I can deny the genius in such songs as "This Charming Man", "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", and "Panic".

(Actually, what really turned me around were all of the great Smiths covers that I kept hearing by Low, The Autumns, Neil Finn, etc. That, and the many bands that I love were so heavily influenced by them. Suffice to say, I've overcome my phobia, and am eager to make up for lost time.)


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I avoided the Smiths for the longest time... probably because they reminded me of my first girlfriend, who was a huge fan.

You give me hope, opus. Maybe I, too, can change. I am blissfully unaware of The Smiths and their music. This is because every single time I encountered a huge Smiths fan, that person turned out to be supremely annoying; a wounded narcissist contemplating his or her own navel and checking the eyeliner in the mirror. I conscientiously avoided the music just out of general principle. But perhaps it's time to let that go. Those same annoyingly vacuous people are probably in their forties now. They probably look like Jim Belushi and Laura Bush. I'm willing to give this new set a try.

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Smiths fans should check out the Sufjan Stevens-produced album "Welcome to the Welcome Wagon", which drops in a few weeks. It has a great Smiths cover on it.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Smiths fans should check out the Sufjan Stevens-produced album "Welcome to the Welcome Wagon", which drops in a few weeks. It has a great Smiths cover on it.

Having that Welcome Wagon album, but being blissfully unaware of The Smiths, I have to ask: which song?

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Rolling Stone just gave the 2-disc version of this album a 5-star review! The much-adored Genesis boxed set "only" got 4 1/2 stars...

I can't find the 2-disc version in any stores near me... Borders, Best Buy, etc. only carry the single disc. I guess I'll have to make the longer trek to the indie record shop.

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I avoided the Smiths for the longest time... probably because they reminded me of my first girlfriend, who was a huge fan.

You give me hope, opus. Maybe I, too, can change. I am blissfully unaware of The Smiths and their music. This is because every single time I encountered a huge Smiths fan, that person turned out to be supremely annoying; a wounded narcissist contemplating his or her own navel and checking the eyeliner in the mirror. I conscientiously avoided the music just out of general principle. But perhaps it's time to let that go. Those same annoyingly vacuous people are probably in their forties now. They probably look like Jim Belushi and Laura Bush. I'm willing to give this new set a try.

:lol:

I should also add that another reason I avoided The Smiths was that, for whatever reason, my high school friends and I had a sort of unspoken rule that if you liked The Cure, you couldn't like The Smiths, and vice versa. And since I was -- and still remain -- a rather large Cure fan, my allegiances were decided for me. Don't ask me why, it was just one of those dumb high school things. And FWIW, I don't think I would've scared you away from The Cure, Andy: I wore eyeliner very rarely, if at all.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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............................And what a terrible mess I've made of my life

Oh, what a mess I've made of my life

............................No, I've never had a job

Because I've never wanted one ........................

Morrissey could be pretty funny.

a bit insufferable, but well worth the effort.


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Plato

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Guest stu

I can't believe that Andy Whitman doesn't know The Smiths. For me, that's a bit like being told that Jesus was racist. I feel destablised.

Go and listen to them.

For my money 'The Queen is dead' has the best lyrics:

So I broke into the Palace

With a sponge and a rusty spanner

She said "I know you and you cannot sing"

I said "That's nothing you should hear me play piano"

But then, I also like:

Does the body rule the mind

Or does the mind rule the body?

I dunno...

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I can't believe that Andy Whitman doesn't know The Smiths. For me, that's a bit like being told that Jesus was racist. I feel destablised.

Go and listen to them.

I was going to mention this yesterday...it kind of shatters my impression of his vast musical expertise. ;)


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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I can't believe that Andy Whitman doesn't know The Smiths. For me, that's a bit like being told that Jesus was racist. I feel destablised.

Go and listen to them.

I was going to mention this yesterday...it kind of shatters my impression of his vast musical expertise. ;)

I've been disappointing human beings for more than half a century now. Just ask my wife.

At the time of their peak popularity, I really did know a lot of obnoxious Smiths fans. That certainly prejudiced me against the music. I suspect that having a young infant on my hands at the time may have had something to do with it, too. They weren't played on the radio, at least in central Ohio. And so they were easy to ignore.

Now I don't listen to the radio at all. Radio in Columbus is weird. Back when The Smiths and The Cure were duking it out for indie supremacy, Columbus was stuck in "classic rock" mode, and you could have heard Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Foreigner and Boston pretty much any and every hour of the day. Then, about ten years ago, we were graced with a "modern rock" station that played, you guessed it, The Smiths and The Cure. I figure that in about 2020 we can look forward to an "All Grunge, All the Time" station.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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I avoided the Smiths for the longest time... probably because they reminded me of my first girlfriend, who was a huge fan.

You give me hope, opus. Maybe I, too, can change. I am blissfully unaware of The Smiths and their music. This is because every single time I encountered a huge Smiths fan, that person turned out to be supremely annoying; a wounded narcissist contemplating his or her own navel and checking the eyeliner in the mirror. I conscientiously avoided the music just out of general principle. But perhaps it's time to let that go. Those same annoyingly vacuous people are probably in their forties now. They probably look like Jim Belushi and Laura Bush. I'm willing to give this new set a try.

:lol:

I should also add that another reason I avoided The Smiths was that, for whatever reason, my high school friends and I had a sort of unspoken rule that if you liked The Cure, you couldn't like The Smiths, and vice versa. And since I was -- and still remain -- a rather large Cure fan, my allegiances were decided for me. Don't ask me why, it was just one of those dumb high school things. And FWIW, I don't think I would've scared you away from The Cure, Andy: I wore eyeliner very rarely, if at all.

I was sort of thinking the same thing yesterday about the Cure and the Smiths. I love the Smiths but have been pretty ambivilant about the Cure.

FWIW Andy, the Smiths are probably one of my ten favorite groups of all time. I don't consider my self an insufferable wounded narcisist. But insufferable wounded narcisits never do. I just need a little more pain to wallow in thats all.

I also spent a good chunk of yesterday listening to Morrissey's solo album Vauxhall and I: What an outstanding album. It's a sweeping opus of swirling majestic melancholy. It was the perfect soundtrack to a grey and drab afternoon. And how can you not fall in love with Morrissey's ode to Brighton Rock, "Now My Heart is Full"? Glorious.


"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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Smiths fans should check out the Sufjan Stevens-produced album "Welcome to the Welcome Wagon", which drops in a few weeks. It has a great Smiths cover on it.

Same goes for the new Napoleon Sweetheart EP by Northern Portrait. They might not be covering The Smiths, but they sure sound like it, especially on "In An Empty Hotel" -- which is not a bad thing. Like The Mary Onettes, they wear their influences proudly, and it still makes for some great jangly pop.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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