The music of The Smiths (3 of 3)

The non-studio albums:

Album: Hatful Of Hollow – The Smiths (1984)

Thoughts: The mellower b-sides I actually think are superior to the Side A tracks on this compilation, and show a different side of the band.

Favorite tracks: This Night Has Opened My Eyes(lyrics inspired by the film A Taste of Honey (1961), Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, Accept Yourself, Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

Favorite lyric:
“Oh, people see no worth in you
Oh, but I do.”

Album: Louder Than Bombs (1987)

Thoughts: Of the two compilation albums they released in 1987, this is my favorite in terms of tracks included. Consisting of A-sides and B-sides, arguably as good a record as their studio albums.

Favorite tracks: Half a Person, Shoplifters of The World Unite, Asleep, You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, Rubber Ring, Ask,

Favorite lyrics:
“Is it wrong to want to live on your own?
No, it’s not wrong – but I must know
How can someone so young
Sing words so sad?”

“tried living in the real world
instead of a shell
but before I began …
I was bored before I even began”

“I don’t dream about anyone – except myself!”

“But you know where you came from, you know where
You’re going and you know where you belong
You said I was ill, and you were not wrong
But I can’t believe you’d ever care
And this is why you will never care”

Album: The World Won’t Listen – The Smiths (1987)

(Includes different versions of songs, that do not appear on Louder Than Bombs: “Money Changes Everything”, “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side”, “Stretch Out and Wait”(different version), “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”, and “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby”(different version).

Favorite track: Money Changes Everything (instrumental)

Readers, any thoughts on the music? Which of the Morrissey solo albums (1988-2009) would you recommend?

The music of The Smiths (2 of 3)

Album: The Queen Is Dead (1986)

Arguably the greatest record of their career, and considered among the best albums of the 1980s. It has been said there is a real sense of working class anger on the album, with its general dissatisfaction with status quo. There’s comedy, tragedy and melodrama.

Tracks:
The Queen Is Dead: a satirical jab at the royal family, and an attack on the moral decay of Thatcher’s Britain.
Frankly, Mr. Shankly: is regarded by many as a direct reference to the dispute between band and rough trade boss Geoff Travis, and a comedic take on dead-end employment.
I Know It’s Over: Considered one of The Smith’s darkest and bleakest songs, about alienation and being an outsider.
Cemetery Gates: More upbeat than the title, describing Morrissey’s own visits to Manchester’s southern cemetery.
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out: My personal favorite from the record. Could be perceived as a song about adolescent insecurity.
Bigmouth Strikes Again: A Rolling Stones influenced track, Morrissey is probably talking about his own big mouth antics in interviews.

Morrissey: “I became very interested in film history. (The L-Shaped Room (1962), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), A Taste of Honey (1961), Billy Liar (1963). ) Films with a common thread (…) People in the north specifically, with their tail trapped in the door almost, trying to get out, trying to get on, trying to be somebody, trying to be seen. And I find that very appealing”

Favorite tracks: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out, The Queen is Dead, I Know It’s Over, Cemetery Gates, Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Boy With the Thorn in His Side

Favorite lyric:
“And if you’re so clever, then why are you on your own tonight?”

Album: Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)

The album title is named after a notorious prison in Manchester. Has a lot of good tracks, you could argue lacks the greatness of their previous album The Queen Is Dead. It has been said that Johnny Marr and Morrissey were pulling in opposite directions, Marr wanting to push on and expand the envelope, while Morrissey is pulling backwards and growing more nostalgic. This tension may have been part of the reason for the band’s split. Paint a Vulgar Picture is a savage, lyrical attack by Morrissey on the record industry. Maybe these were indications that The Smith’s had run their natural course.

Favorite tracks: Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before(a self-parody), Last Night I Dream That Somebody Loved Me(the instrumental intro is haunting), I Won’t Share You, Girlfriend In A Coma, I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish, A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours(a track where Morrissey explores his Irish roots)

Any thoughts on these albums? Have you listened to The Smiths? Or are you new to the band as I am?

The music of The Smiths (1 of 3)

Album: The Smiths (1984)

Thoughts: Their debut album. The Smiths are sometimes talked of as the best band of the last 30 years, Morrissey is an opinionated singer who has an unusual and unique vocal style. He has been called overrated and underrated. The band’s uniqueness is also due to talented Johnny Marr on guitar. Marr was co-writer of the lyrics with Morrissey, and the writing is another reason to praise the band. I didn’t gravitate towards the music at first, have grown to appreciate it. The name of the band was partly a reaction to the glossy aspirations and glamour of early 80s pop music.

Morrissey in documentary The Importance Of Being Morrissey (2002): “The Smiths was an incredibly personal thing to me, it was like launching your own diary to music”

Favorite tracks: Hand In Glove, What Difference Does it Make, This Charming Man, I Don’t Owe You Anything, Suffer Little Child

Album: Meat Is Murder (1985)

(The album title famously refers to Morrissey’s pro-vegetarian opinions)

Morissey archive interview from documentary Not Like Any Other Love (2013): “We feel that popular music should be used to make serious statements, because so many groups sell masses and masses of records, and don’t raise people’s level of consciousness in any direction, and we find that quite sinful”

Favorite tracks: How Soon Is Now?, That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore, Barbarism Begins at Home, The Headmaster Ritual

Have you listened to The Smiths? Or are you new to the band as I am?