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The Smiths Original recording

79 customer reviews

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The Smiths
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Audio CD, Original recording, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With their debut album, the Smiths launched an all-too-brief, but profound career that, largely owing to their outspoken lead singer, would be enshrouded in controversy and cultlike devotion. Lyrically, Steven Patrick Morrissey waxed haute poetic about homosexuality ("Hand in Glove") and child murders ("Suffer Little Children"). Musically, this album kicked a hole through the lip-glossed synth-pop that dominated the early-'80s music scene. Still cloaked in the lingering influences of New Romantic new wave and Clash-like punk, this album, like most great rock debuts, represents the group at its most raw and stark. But the core elements of the Smiths' sound, rooted in Morrissey's subtly off-key, morose crooning and nearly freeform lyrical arrangements floating over guitarist Johnny Marr's plucky, concise guitar riffs, are well-established here. The rhythm section displayed a similar relationship: Andy Rourke's mobile bass lines seemed almost to disregard any supportive undertones they could have lent to Mike Joyce's straight-ahead, no nonsense drum patterns. All the tugging and pulling worked brilliantly, cementing the sound that made the Smiths a landmark band of the 1980s. --Beth Bessmer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording
  • Label: Warner Off Roster
  • ASIN: B000002L5P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,900 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Hardie on February 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Smiths were the best musical moment of the 1980s -- I know, I lived through them. This album is probably my favourite, and must be in the canon of amazing debuts: nothing like it before, and nothing since. For one thing, there was the cover art. At at time when most bands favoured monochromatic "new wave" dots and blobs, the covers were sober, nostalgic, personal and iconic. Crushingly vivid colours and their signature style made it exciting just to *see* their albums. In this case, the murky photo of Joe Dellesandro gives a hint of the Morrissey world view and aestheticism, but it's ambiguous and out of context, meaning that the Smiths became very hard to "brand."
But of course the appeal of this record came from its musical beauty. Morrissey's plangent, steady voice was astonishing, but moreso were his lyrics. "I dreamt about you last night, and I fell out of bed twice/ you can pin and mount me, like a butterfly." Reel Around the Fountain still gives me goosebumps -- it's an anthem which evokes not just the usual teen angst, but what is unusual, and sad, and real about it as well.
I love every track, but most of all its wonderful beginning, the glorious insouciance of "Hand In Glove," and the mordant "Suffer Little Children" which evokes the grisly Moors Murders as a foundation myth for Mancusian angst, but also for all of us who were trying to sort out the sixties of our childhoods in the early eighties. Morrissey & Marr, along with Squeeze, were the poets of the eighties, and this cd will give you a rich sense of its virtues, rather than the gelled and synthesised excess most people know.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bernie on May 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I'm not a kid, and I'm not a music reviewer. But the soundtrack of my collegiate life -- and even on into my middle-aged life now -- was dominated by The Smiths and Morrissey. (And just to gloat, I got to see Morrissey in concert Friday at a tiny venue, and it was awesome.)

I can't recall the first Smiths song I ever heard, but I know who played it for me. My best friend had musical tastes far more wide-ranging than me, and he convinced me to give them a listen. I won't go so far as to say it changed my life, as another reviewer did, but The Smiths' music stunned me with its depth and raw emotion. I acquired one CD of theirs after another, then got Morrissey's solo work, adding each new recording as it came and loading up on imports, bootlegs and singles.

When I went to England, "Everyday Is Like Sunday" was the song I listened to repeatedly on the flight. And when a break-up with a girlfriend devastated me, I turned to the live version of "I Know It's Over" from "Rank" -- and to The Smiths' stark debut album. "It's time the tale were told of how you took a child and you made him old." My youthful, angst-ridden, college boy self found no better words to express how I felt.

Now I'm older, happier, married and largely angst-free. But I still love The Smiths and Morrissey's entire canon of work. It is inextricably bound to my memories, and with Morrissey still recording, it promises to go on with me as the future turns into the past.

One reviewer here said there's a dud on every Smiths album. I disagree. Every Smiths song, from the most tortured to the most frivolous, works on an emotional level; you just have to hear it at the right time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Moz Marr on August 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
When guitarist Johnny Marr was seeking a lyricist in the spring of 1982, little did he know that the band he would be forming would be a huge influence on the British rock scene for the years to come. Stephen Patrick Morrissey (who unsuccessfully auditioned with the lead singing role with local Manchester bands, as well as being the president of the U.K. New York Dolls fanclub) gladly accepted Marr's invitation and soon the pair began writing songs together, with the first being "Suffer Little Children". After recording demo's with The Fall's drummer, Simon Wolstencroft, Marr decided to recruit schoolmates Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce as the bassist and drummer, hencing a band that would be known as "The Smiths".

The Smiths began working on their eponymous debut album in the months that followed, and released it entitled "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" (which was on a low budget) with producer Troy Tate. The band was not happy with the production of the album, and immediately got John Porter to produce it. Not long after, the band's debut album, "The Smiths", was finished.

A surprisingly very good debut album, it proved just how much The Smiths were willing to go in the music industry. From their first single, "Hand In Glove", to "Pretty Girls Make Graves", all the way up to "I Don't Owe You Anything", every track on this album will not disappoint.

1. Reel Around The Fountain: The opening track of The Smiths, this five-minute song proves that the band were willing enough to explore all directions. The keyboards and organ flow well with the song, which is about nothing less than sexual desire.

2. You've Got Everything Now: A much faster song than the slow opener, this is one of those songs that you can play over and over.
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