Louder Than Bombs
Originally issued in the U.S. market in 1987 as a compilation of singles, b-sides, BBC sessions, and random album tracks, Louder Than Bombs proved to be the band's defining release for many stateside Smiths fans. The group's studio albums stretched out their approach, while the singles were guitarist Johnny Marr's métier. The band has since issued far too many collections of singles and greatest hits. As great as those are, Louder Than Bombs has an artistic sweep that's irresistible. Morrissey's lyrical acumen is never better targeted than during "Shoplifters of the World Unite," "Half a Person," "Panic," "William, It Was Really Nothing," "Ask," and the powerfully compact "These Things Take Time." The band's brilliance can't be overstated, and the pacing throughout is superb. The Smiths' ability to rock, reflect, and ache is second to none. This album is an embarrassment of riches, really, and along with Hatful of Hollow and the band's debut album ranks as a perfect look at the best rock 'n' roll band of the '80s.