In 2012, this 1987 compilation album was ranked by Rolling Stone Magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time at 369/500.
Contrived by Johnny Marr, The Smiths evolved when Marr unearthed Morrissey and insisted upon a collaboration. The idea was to produce songs which were always instantaneous and listenable whilst also provoking deep thought; emeshing Morrissey's words with Marr's music in a sound which, above all, would stand apart without being inaccessible or esoteric. The guitar-based songs would blend melody without havoc, as the words - born out of absolute physical necessity - would tug at the straps of cultural straight-jackets.
Christened as an antidote to a prevalent idea that modern groups would near a far-reaching, multi-syllabic name to authorize their artistry, The Smiths were completed with Andy Rourke (the bass guitar) and Mike Joyce (the drums). Joyce had served time with a clump of healthily depraved groups, whilst the other three members were without any serious musical involvement. The Smiths first surfaced in September '82, and the group determined that all their moves be surefooted and worthwhile. As a live group, The Smiths believed that it was possible to replenish appetites of both the soul and the pelvis simultaneously. They were urban, but never bleak; there was a humor in tragedy, solace in unity. The voice was the collective rage of all suppressed hysterics: Morrissey popularized the creased brow.
Always Manchester-based, The Smiths contended that "one has to live somewhere..." and soon rewrote the history of their city. Following misdirected collisions with major record companies, the group were adopted by Rough Trade, and the first result was the single "Hand in Glove / Handsome Devil." The sound attacked the depersonalized sterility of their contemporaries whose clinical synthesized rhythms, The Smiths believed, left audiences feeling non-human and petrified of emotion. Lyrically, the fundamental idea was to use phraseology which had simply never been used before.
The Smiths took firm control of any promotional images which bore their name, and naturally their artwork would always counteract accepted ingredients of popular music, without being hostile. The Smiths maintained the integrity and ethos of their manifesto across four studio albums and a live album that was issued after their split. Their legacy matches their original ambition - to produce songs which were always instantaneous and listenable whilst also provoking deep thought. And there you are.
180g Audiophile Vinyl
1. Is It Really So Strange?
2. Sheila Take A Bow
3. Shoplifters Of the World Unite
4. Sweet and Tender Hooligan
5. Half a Person
8. Girl Afraid
9. Shakespeare's Sister
10. William, It Was Really Nothing
11. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby
12. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
14. Golden Lights
15. Oscillate Wildly
16. These Things Take Time
17. Rubber Ring
18. Back To the Old House
19. Hand In Glove
20. Stretch Out and Wait
21. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
22. This Night Has Opened My Eyes