Monday, November 10, 2014

Yes, I Know My Luck Too Well...

The penultimate choice in my Top 10 rundown was the one that took me the longest to choose, simply because the band in question had only 4 studio albums and I could have, for different reasons,  chosen any one of them. I mentioned in a post last week that my musical tastes changed somewhat back in '83 when I first heard "Reel Around The Fountain" and I always knew when I started this rundown that The Smiths would feature at some point. If I had bent the rules slightly I would have chosen "Hatful Of Hollow" but as it was not a studio album as such I did not include it.

The Smiths debut album sounds like nothing before and nothing since with the music and arrangements of Johnny Marr complimenting Morrissey's lyrics perfectly. It might not be as slick and well produced as the later albums but, for me, the lyrics and guitar work are unmatched by the albums that followed and the unpolished nature of the production is a plus point in my book. The Smiths, in their brief career, created something that was beautiful and unique and this is where it all started. Many of the eleven songs on "The Smiths"explore dark, sometimes unsettling aspects of love and relationships, but there is an elegant beauty to this album despite the subject matter. Album opener "Reel Around The Fountain" features some gorgeous piano/organ from Paul Carrack and a classically ambiguous lyric from Morrissey that sets the tone for what was to follow. It is a pretty bold decision to start a debut album off with a sprawling, six-minute song where the lead singer reflects on an early sexual experience with what sounds like someone much older. Not really what was lighting up the charts in '84. Nobody had written lyrics of this nature before for a pop song, especially on the closing track, "Suffer Little Children" which the press, as per usual, completely misinterpreted.

Thirty years on, ‘The Smiths’ remains a raw and powerful album that continues to tease and tantalize. I adore all four studio albums but the debut release is The Smiths album that I go back to time after time.

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle


  1. It's undoubtedly a masterpiece. As you say, not as slick, but in its way I think very powerful. The lyrics seemed to come out of nowhere. I was singin, to myself, What Difference Does It Make, this very morning. Who else wrote like that? Toptastic, Scott, Toptastic.

  2. I think in the case of The Smiths...Hatful of Hollow would be fair play. It's hard for not to think of them as a singles band as much as anything. I've always preferred the Peel Session takes when I can get them...they need a rough edge to them.
    If they would officially release those Troy Tate sessions...The Smiths would probably be my favorite too.

  3. The toughest of choices, but you have done well. Right now, this very second, I would go with the debut as well.

  4. Can we get a rundown at some stage Scott - I got a bit lost in the middle.
    Saving the best for last or is in no particular order?

  5. Before I post Number 10 I was planning on doing a rundown, along with some of the albums that just fell short of making the Top 10.
    Masterpiece is a much overused phrase but I feel is applicable to "The Smiths".