Top positive review
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OMG I miss the '80s: The Smiths live on
on June 1, 2005
Confession: I was in college when The Smiths released the Strangeways and Louder than Bombs albums, so if you do the math that makes me - um, well, older than I was when I was in college. Anyway, the '80s were a fantastic time to be listening to new popular music, and The Smiths were one of the bands that defined the decade. I no longer have my vinyl LPs, and even some of my early CD's are gone, but I recently bought "Singles" and I realized how much I missed this band.
Morrissey's vocals, Marr's guitar - the whole effect is so much more emotional than the self-conscious stuff that passes as pop now. Really, there's a kind of melancholy ultra-British-ness to the whole thing, like they're so NOT concerned about looking like pin-up boys, or with syrupy cheery lyrics that they just pour themselves into the music. And every song here is unlike all the cookie-cutter tunelessness we get today. No one actually sings anymore. Morrissey just reminded me.
If you are new to The Smiths, this is a fantastic album. As another reviewer said, they really were a singles band, and for the most part these really are some of the best.
'How Soon is Now' is an '80s alternative anthem, with bitter clever lyrics ("I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar..." -- yikes, haven't heard that from Britney) and a riff you just never forget. 'Panic' likewise. Hang the DJ indeed. Sometimes the vocals are so ridiculously good it's hard to believe this band gets shelved in the 'rock' section ' - the singing on 'The Boy with the Thorn in his Side' just twists and turns and Morrissey's on top of it every note.
This is alternative rock at its best, jangly guitar riffs, brooding and very English vocals, breakneck fast and morose in just the right doses. There are other great bands from the '80s, but The Smiths were unique. When they disbanded after the 'Strangeways' album (in 1987 I think), it was a kind of blessing only in that they quit before the energy and creativity left. Their last album is a stunner - nothing half hearted.
"I've seen this happen in other people's lives, now it's happening in mine."
Whew. Yeah buy it. ;)