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The Smiths Original recording


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Audio CD, Original recording, October 25, 1990
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Biography

Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

The Smiths were the definitive British indie rock band of the '80s, marking the end of synth-driven new wave and the beginning of the guitar rock that dominated English rock into the '90s. Sonically, the group was indebted to the British Invasion, crafting ringing, melodic three-minute pop singles, even for their album tracks. But their scope ... Read more in Amazon's The Smiths Store

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,315 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Reel Around The Fountain
2. You've Got Everything Now
3. Miserable Lie
4. Pretty Girls Make Graves
5. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
6. This Charming Man
7. Still Ill
8. Hand In Glove
9. What Difference Does It Make?
10. I Don't Owe You Anything
11. Suffer Little Children

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

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

Customer Reviews

This album is definitely one of my all-time favorites.
Aaron N. Law
While I wouldn't recommend this as your first Smiths CD to buy, it's definitely a great album and essential to your Smiths collection.
Sakos
Their strength lies primarily in Morrissey's beautiful voice and lyrics.
Erline Andrews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 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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12 of 13 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By harold 77 on May 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I had a group of friends that were into the smiths in the mid 80's but I was never really a fan until someone got me to pay attention to thier lyrics. This is without a doubt my favorite albumn of thiers. It is not as slick as the later albumns but song for song this cd is GREAT. Alot of critics say this albumn does not live up to the Smiths' ability but the underproduction is one of the best things of the albumn. If you are looking for a hits albumn get one of the compilations but if you want to hear the beginnings of a sound still going strong today this is the one.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Erline Andrews on April 1, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Having heard first the best of/singles compilations, The Queen is Dead, Strangeways Here We Come and a number of Morrissey's solo albums, and having read of Morrissey's extravagant boasts prior to the release of this record, The Smiths was a surprise.
It's so quiet, so introspective, so humble almost.
It crept into my heart slowly, after repeated listens.
The structure of the songs is very simple. Their strength lies primarily in Morrissey's beautiful voice and lyrics. Overall, the latter seem more personal here than on any other Smiths/Morrissey album.
The Smiths is also the most haunting album, made so particularly by Suffer Little Children and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, two beautiful but almost unbearably disturbing songs.
The 11 songs on The Smiths, with the exception of the last, explore dark, sometimes unsettling aspects of love and relationships.
I'm still learning and I won't call myself an expert by any means, but I can name no one who tackles personal dysfunction - desperation, insecurity, delusion, dependency - with as much honesty and with as sharp a ring of truth as does Morrissey.
Other bands use garish make-up, distorted guitars and vocals and other gimmicks to shock or disturb.
But The Smiths deliver a bigger emotional jolt using impeccable melody and a warm voice singing lyrics like these:
"...
Read more ›
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