The Sound of The Smiths
Over four years, from 1983 to 1987, the Smiths produced an enduring catalogue that included four studio albums and a slew of singles and b-sides often collected on a variety of compilation albums. This 2008 collection, overseen by Morrissey and Johnny Marr, collects 23 tracks in its “single-disc” edition and an additional 22 tracks, including B-sides, exclusive 12-inch releases and live recordings, for the “two-disc” expanded version. Taken either way, it’s an embarrassment of riches, as Johnny Marr’s lyrical guitar riffs supply the empathetic poetry necessary to support Morrissey’s emotionally charged lyrical concerns. From shameless self-pity to rampant narcissism, unrelieved sorrow to bursts of temporary joy, the Smiths took adolescence and channelled its hormonal wildness into gorgeous pop songs. The two-minute nightclub apocalypse of “Panic,” the wallflower ennui of “Ask,” and the sublime damp futures of “William, It Was Really Nothing” and “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” highlight the flow of The Smiths’ unrelenting single releases, while the majesty of such b-sides as “Half A Person,” “Girl Afraid,” and the live versions of “Meat is Murder” and “London,” attest to the group’s fully formed strengths.