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Saturday, January 16, 2010


BEST...1 (1992)
320 KBPS

Massive stars in England and top-tier alternative rockers in the U.S., the Smiths combined a '60s pop sensibility with '80s ennui. Though singer Morrissey is most notorious--his lyrics read like jottings from an overly sensitive teenager's diary while his narcissistic poses are pure Oscar Wilde--the band was rooted firmly in the crystalline, shimmering guitar work of Johnny Marr. For the most part, the Smiths were a singles band, often leaving key tracks off their studio albums. In which case, a number of collections serve to capture the errant wonder of "Panic" and "William, It Was Really Nothing." The two-LPs-condensed-onto-one-disc Louder than Bombs is more comprehensive, but the two-volume best-of collections--lead by this 14-song set--have much to commend. Either way, this is as definitive as '80s Brit pop gets.

1. This Charming Man
2. William, It Was Really Nothing
3. What Difference Does It Make?
4. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
5. Girlfriend in a Coma
6. Half A Person
7. Rubber Ring
8. How Soon Is Now?
9. Hand in Glove
10. Shoplifters of the World Unite
11. Sheila Take a Bow
12. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
13. Panic
14. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want

BEST...2 (1992)
320 KBPS

Sequels to best-of collections tend to be a bit suspect, unless, of course, the band in question had an exceptionally long run that was prematurely anthologized midway through. In the case of this posthumous souvenir of the Smiths' four-year career, casual fans may be disappointed to find that you can't sulk to "Girlfriend in a Coma" (like most of their hits, it's on volume one) or even moo along to "Meat Is Murder" (saved for a projected volume three?). Then again, Morrissey and Johnny Marr were anything but one-hit wonders, and tracks such as "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again" make it clear the band could turn out high-quality, hummable odes to melancholia until the cows come home, which, by the time of this 1992 anthology, they already had.

1. The Boy With the Thorn in His Side
2. The Headmaster Ritual
3. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
4. Ask
5. Oscillate Wildly
6. Nowhere Fast
7. Still Ill
8. Bigmouth Strikes Again
9. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
10. Shakespeare's Sister
11. Girl Afraid
12. Reel Around the Fountain
13. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
14. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

1 comment:

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