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|"I might walk home alone
But my faith in love is still devout"
-- "Rusholme Ruffians", Smiths
Morrissey (vocal), Johnny Marr (Guitars),
Andy Rourke (Bass) & Mike Joyce (Drums)
1983 - 1987
"No other lyricist so vividly captured the
unbearable plight of the lonely, heartbroken, and disenfranchised. No other
vocalist sang with such beauty, bravely crooning where others would simply
shout. No other pop star dressed as well or had a better hairstyle than
Morrissey. ... Guitarist Johnny Marr provided the
perfect musical accompaniment to Morrissey's tales
of loneliness while bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce provided the
½ 1984: Smiths
"What Morrissey captures above all is a notion of despair reflected perfectly in the lacklustre sound of his cohorts, a death of the punk ideals that Morrissey is quite old enough to have been closely involved in. In turn what distinguishes him from a Weller is firstly his wit, and secondly the sensitivitiy to deal in despair without resorting to preaching in desperation.
What does this suitor offer? A calculated plan, perhaps, but enough to haunt the imagination. For the moment that's enough."
-- Don Watson, NME, Feb 84
1984: Hatful of Hollow
The LP is a collection of Radio 1 sessions The Smiths recorded for John Peel and David Jensen (forgive him, Lord), four sessions in all that, at the last count, have been transmitted 12 times, according to the rather nicely-written biog included here for the benefit of ignorant hacks. In addition, you get 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' and 'William, It Was Really Nothing' plus B-sides excluding 'Suffer Little Children'. (...) 'How Soon Is Now?' features an ominous mechanical throb which gives The Smiths a sinister quality somewhat removed from their usual Edwardian drawing-room whisper, while 'Reel Around the Fountain' really deserves better than they dull grey mix it receives here.
-- Adam Sweeting, Melody Maker
½ 1985: Meat is Murder
"Disciplined and succinct, each song relates an affecting tale or makes a point with killing precision. Musically, writer Johnny Marr contributes a clutch of his best melodies yet...
(...) Morrissey and Marr don't so much sink their talents into one, as give you two for the price of one."
--Paul Du Noyer, NME, Feb 85Morrissey's devastating solitude and sadness, and Johnny Marr's captivating textured guitars accompany you through this musical journey. A journey that starts with 'The Headmaster Ritual' and culminates into 'Meat is Murder', a lyrical and acoustic masterpiece, and a statement that will echo in your mind every time you bite into that juicy burger... "and the flesh that you fancyfully fry...it is murder". This is the Smiths most powerful record, including the now-so-famous 'How Soon is Now?', a classic dark tune, and a living assertion of Marr's talent.
-- S. Sukkarieh, Musicfolio, 9/99
1986: The Queen is Dead
"[The Queen is Dead] the album which history will in due course denote as being the key work in forcing the group's philistine opposition to down chisels and embrace the concept of The Smiths as the one truly vital voice of the Eighties.
The whole of the first side is nothing less than perfection, commencing with a title track of epic worth. 'Cemetry Gates' is the most pastoral effort here: a gorgeous loping gambol backing up Morrissey's most elaborate and dexterously rhymed stanzas.(...) 'I Know It's Over' is simply the finest piece of music The Smiths have produced. The song is essentially about loss of innocence or, in my interpretation, of romantic idealism, and is the first piece of music since Frank Sinatra's 'One For My Baby' to have brought me to tears."
-- Nick Kent, via geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Lounge/3438/Smiths/Disc/queen.htm
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head / See, the sea wants to take me / The knife wants to slit me / Do you think you can help me? / Sad veiled bride, please be happy / Handsome groom, give her room / Loud, loutish lover, treat her kindly / (Though she needs you / More than she loves you) / And I know it's over (...) / And it never really began / But in my heart it was so real ...
1987: Louder Than Bombs
"A compilation of singles, B-sides, album tracks and BBC sessions assembled for the American market, 'Louder Than Bombs' is an overlong and unfocused collection that nevertheless boasts a wealth of brilliant material."
½ 1987: Strangeways, Here We Come
"I don't think there's any point in comparing The Smiths with their pop contemporaries; a couple of dodgy singles aside they remained above and beyond the rest, ploughing their own furrow (digging their own grave?), setting their own standards. I passionately hoped this was not to be their last breath, but nevertheless, in case you haven't guessed by now, 'Strangeways, Here We Come' is a masterpiece that surpasses even The Queen Is Dead in terms of poetic, pop, and emotional power. "
--Len Brown, New Musical Express, Sep 87
'Strangeways...' was The Smiths farewell jewel, as Johnny Marr decided to put an end to a collaboration that touched so many souls. They were the charming romantic (as opposed to new-romantics) band of the Eighties and the revival voice of the 60's. Morrissey started soon after his solo career, producing records that pretty much resembled The Smiths music style, but failed to reach the height of his memorable achievements with Johnny Marr. Johnny ended up forming Electronic in 1989 with New Order's lead singer Bernard Sumner.
-- S. Sukkarieh, Musicfolio, 9/99
Since their breakup in 1987, several Best-of the Smiths compilations were released:
½ 1988: Rank
1992: Best of The Smiths Vol 1
1992: Best of The Smiths Vol 2
1995: The Singles
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