Customer Reviews: Singles
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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. ;)
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on June 9, 2002
This is a collection of the stunning Smiths singles that lit up the dire and musically bankrupt Eighties . Hardly any of these singles broke into the Top Ten , but don't let that fool you , as this set is as good , if not better than anything you will find in Rock and Pop's vast array of " Greatest Hits " collections ( and I don't say that lightly ) .
From 1983 - 1987 in an astonishing burst of creativity , The Smiths released these seventeen singles , with B-sides that most bands would die for ( the last song on this cd is an album track that was released as a single long after the demise of the band ) , and four classic albums .
The Smiths were anything but an orthodox rock band , thanks to the acrobatic vocal dynamics of their charismatic lead singer , their unusual song structures and the subjects touched upon in these songs , and above all Morrissey's lyrics that were a revelation to me in the 1980's . Up until that point I had never heard lyrics that were so unselfconsious about laying bare the singers troubled psyche to the public , but that was only part of it . Morrissey's disorientating language also blurred the boundaries between the genders , in some songs you are not sure if the protagonist is a man or woman , or even transexual . His early lyrics in particular had a dark , ambiguous undercurrent to them , songs such as " The Hand That Rocks The Cradle " could be about a loving parent , but if you read between the lines , the hand rocking the cradle might be a far more sinister figure . The unusual and sometimes taboo subjects dealt with in the Smiths songs were tempered by Morrissey's very funny , and self-deprecating wit , he had the knack of disturbing the listener and making them laugh at the same time ( not a comfortable feeling ) .
Throughout their brief but brilliant career The Smiths enjoyed a large underground following in the UK but never broke America , they were lionised by the British music press , but were constantly at odds with some of Britain's daily tabloids who would often try to whip up controversy by deliberatly misinterpreting Morrissey's lyrics , " Suffer Little Children " a song from their debut LP is a case in point , this haunting , beautiful lament to the victims of the moors murderers was portrayed by the press as a glorification of the murderers , the controversy only ended after one of the victims mothers publicly stated that the song was a moving tribute to the victims . Anyway , enough of that ...... all I really want to say is , if you like gorgeous melodies , fantastic guitar playing , subversive lyrics , and want to hear some of the most imaginative and exciting music ever written , you'll find eighteen prime examples on this CD . It's appropriate that the foldout booklet shows the picture covers to all of The Smiths singles and albums , as this was another integral part of their art , but that's another story .............. Essential !
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on June 16, 2005
i'm a very seasoned classic rock and jazz listener. i just do not know how this fantastic band escaped my eye for such a long time. this is simply the apex of pop music and when you listen to them you know there's something special here - it is just magic. morrissey's vocals, poetry and idealism are so rare in the music industry where talent and originality have become a byline. he catches your imagination with his art, wit, openness and compassion. johnny marr's shimmering fret work provides the able foil to his band leader's genius. if you fall in love with this album but still don't want to buy the other individual albums, check out the other great collection - louder than bombs. there're only seven overlaps between the two - you get some 16 odd extra songs there. great great great stuff!
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on November 23, 1999
The Smiths' 1995 Singles collection is a posthumous release from a band that connected with a plethora of youths across the UK in the 1980's. Some of the most dazzling sonic compositions which were recorded by the band in the short period they were together are presented here. In chronological order from their first UK 45, 'Hand in Glove' to 'Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me' from the 'Strangeways Here We Come' album the album shows the full extent of the legacy Morrisey and Johnny Marr have left on British pop music. Morrisey's poetic but tragic warblings laced together with Marr's trademark jangly guitar licks provide a pairing between vocals and guitar which few bands have sucessfuly matched. The Album is a perfect introduction to those who have not encountered the Smiths' music as well as an erstwhile compendium of their hits for those of us who remember Morrisey dancing about on Top of The Pops with flowers up his arse. Most of all it reminds us what all the fuss was about...
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on October 26, 2013
I'll be up front, I have loved the Smiths passionately long before I ever bought this CD. I already had all their albums at home and could spout Smiths trivia for hours if anyone was interested.
The reason I ordered this CD was that I am currently working and living remote and all my regular CD collection is in storage back in the city. To me life without music is not worth living and especially not without the Smiths so I got this CD.
If you're already a fan like me then you already have these songs but it makes for a great car CD as i'm driving the Nullarbor highway. If you're not yet a fan and aren't sure where to start then this is the CD for you.
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on September 22, 2006
"Singles" was the first CD by the Smiths/Morrissey that I ever bought, and I enjoyed it from the very first listen. They're a British rock group, guitar fuelled with witty lyrics that can make you either laugh or cry, depending on how you're feeling. Unrequited love, unhappiness, unemployment, they cover all the low feelings, and with flair. There one of those groups that I can truly say helped me through some tough times. They had a few chart hits in Britain in the 1980s, but were more of an alternative band elsewhere. Their best known song is probably "How Soon is Now?" which some people might know as the theme song used in the TV series "Charmed" (it isn't the Smiths singing in that version though). I'm pretty sure I've heard "Bigmouth Strikes Again" on the radio too.

Here's a rundown of what songs on "Singles" are from which studio albums:

3 songs from "The Smiths" (1984)
2 songs from "Meat is Murder" (1985)
3 songs from "The Queen is Dead" (1986)
3 songs from "Strangeways Here We Come" (1987)

The other 7 songs on "Singles" weren't released on the proper studio releases, but you can find them on one of the Smiths semi-compilation CDs("Hatful of Hollow","Louder Than Bombs","The World Won't Listen").

It's all very good music, and I've given this disc many a listen, but for a newcomer to the Smiths, I suggest you get "The Very Best of" instead. You get 5 more tracks, and the whole thing is remastered and has a booklet with a little more info on the band. You could also get "Louder than Bombs", which is a great compilation in terms of music, even if it doesn't have all the best known Smiths songs. A good companion to this compilation would be one of the two Morrissey solo best of's, either "Suedehead" or "The Best of".
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on April 23, 2000
As a 21 year old mad music fan, I only recently discovered The Smiths through this compilation album, and i am so glad I did. Singles hasn't been off my CD player for months now and it even prompted me to going and buying the band's back catalogue too (The Queen Is Dead being my fav album). There is just not one bad track on the entire Singles album, with my favourites being 'Boy With The Thorn In His Side', 'Ask', 'I Started Something' and the beautiful 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' of which Morrissey's vocals are amazing.(Particularly the way he sings the "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care" bit). Each track is near enough perfect both musically and lyrically. I would recommend this to any true music fan, and the fact that they band split up ages ago is irrelevant. As a band they are still as important today as they were back in the 80's and a hell of a lot of better than any of the bands around at the moment.
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on January 14, 2003
I'm not really familiar with The Smiths' music other than their classic "How Soon Is Now?" (from the WB show "Charmed"). I am more familiar with Morrissey's solo music though (courtesy of his best of cd compilation). To be honest, I haven't listened to this album in ages. It had been collecting dust on my cd rack. Then one day, I brought it to work with me. I absolutely love what I heard. I don't know why I haven't been listening to this cd. Morrissey has one of the most beautiful voices around. I wish a lot of today's artists would knock off the pseudo rapping and start crooning like Morrissey. Of course I have to list "How Soon is Now?" as one of my favorite songs from The Smiths but I also have to include "This Charming Man" "What Difference Does It Make?". I was watching on VH1 "I Love the '80s" mini-series and some of the guest panelists said that Morrissey was too whiney. Too whiney my arse. They ought to listen to today's crop of bands like Korn and Papa Roach. Morrissey was, is just awesome. I really love "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now". I feel like that song is my theme song. After listening to "Singles", I definitely want to seriously looked into The Smiths' other albums. I'm so glad that I rediscovered this album. Every song is a gem.
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on December 13, 2003
This compilation, made eight years after the Smiths broke up, is a strong set of songs by a band that appealed to disillusioned young people throughout Britain. Between 1983 and 1987 the Smiths created music that was mordant, forlorn, emotionally beautiful and witty.
It's hard to pick a favourite out of this collection, but the one that sticks in my mind most is "How Soon is Now?" Apparently the song "Panic" was inspired by news on the radio about the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear accident ever. After reporting this, the D.J. then put on George Michael's "I'm Your Man". This is supposedly where the line "hang the D.J." comes from. The opening lines in "Ask" really tell it like it is. The impression I get from this song is of two people being attracted to each other but both are too afraid to make the first move. Then there's "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", with the line "two lovers entwined pass me by and Heaven knows I'm miserable now". When you've just broken up with someone it does seem like other couples are flaunting their love, rubbing in the fact that you're not in a relationship; as if they're intent on making you feel even more lonely and depressed.
In the music press, comparisons were often made between the Smiths and the Cure. Morrissey and Robert Smith were perceived by rock journalists as rivals, but I'm not sure they actually hated each other. I enjoy the music of both. If I listen to one, I don't feel like I'm betraying the other. I think Robert Smith saw Morrissey as something of a hypocrite, wailing about the way nobody loves him, his social ineptitude and feelings of failure, even though he's "selling records by the truckload" while there are people out there with "real" problems. I wonder if there was a hint of sour grapes in Robert Smiths's comments. He was singing about the same kind of things in the early 80s after all. Smith went on to say "If someone said Morrissey's a really great lyricist and you're not far behind I'd probably hit him."
The musical partnership between Morrissey and Johnny Marr was a fruitful one that unfortunately ended in acrimony. Although the Smiths lasted for just four years, their output was excellent. At least they didn't stay together so long that they would end up becoming stale, which is what often happens with other bands.
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on June 4, 2003
This posthumous collection of The Smiths' discography is perfect if you are new to the world of Morrisey and Marr. It features a full listing of the singles released by The Smiths during their brief but blissful existence in chronological order. This serves to introduce new listeners to the ranging styles and skill progression of the band during their 4 years, whilst delivering an emotional roller coaster, climaxing in the breathtaking `There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.'
Ranging from the indie dancefloor classic `This Charming Man' to the hypnotic `How Soon Is Now?' the album gives the listener a taster of Smithdom that acts as a well-rounded introduction.
The songs on this album, though lacking in some of The Smiths best work, will break you heart (Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me), save your life (Shakespeare's Sister) and tell of a time when some people cared about music in a way that is distinctly missing today (Panic).
I discovered The Smiths through this album and since have found myself scouring music shops and online services until I own the full back catalogue. If you are intrigued by the album and want to explore The Smiths further then I recommend the classic `The Queen Is Dead' (a usual Smith fan favourite) and the compilation `Hatful of Hollow' which contains live radio sessions and B sides not found on other albums.
So if the music of today says nothing to you about your life then get this album on your stereo, pick a daffodil to flail randomly in the air and prepare for your musical world to change forever.
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