|1. Reel Around The Fountain|
|2. You've Got Everything Now|
|3. Miserable Lie|
|4. Pretty Girls Make Graves|
|5. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle|
|6. This Charming Man|
|7. Still Ill|
|8. Hand In Glove|
|9. What Difference Does It Make?|
|10. I Don't Owe You Anything|
|11. Suffer Little Children|
"what a terrible mess i've made of my life"...who cant relate?
Popular music history has been unkind to The Smiths' debut album because the band had already generated enormous expectations before they even released an album and because the legendary poor production apparently failed to do justice to the songs' potential as proven in live performances. This is pure dusty, cobwebbed abstraction to those who discovered The Smiths after they split up, like me. I consider the unpolished nature of the production and of Morrissey's riveting and unearthly voice at this stage an aesthetic enhancement, perfect for these songs about romanticized desolation and squalor. The theme of the album (intended or not) is the passage from innocence to experience through sex or trauma (or traumatic sex), conveyed through ambiguous, evocative and suggestive lyrics that hint at kinkiness without ever being vulgar or sensationalistic.Read more ›
The sound of the Smiths? Jangly guitar pop, thanks to Johnny Marr and morbid crooning, thanks to Morrissey. As they were on an independent label at the time, rather than a big record company, the sound isn't as manufactured as a lot of contemporary 1980s recordings. It's more real, more raw. The treble and echo heavy production has dated a little, though.
The performance is great. Morrissey sings with passion, a little rawer than later albums, but just as powerful. Johnny Marr is a wizard on the guitar, to be brief. Andy Rourke's bass is particularly catchy, especially on tracks like "This Charming Man". Mike Joyce, the drummer, keeps a tight time as he should, and often adds a great intensity to the songs, such as on "Miserable Lie" and "Hand in Glove".
Morrissey, even at this early stage has witty and evocative lyrics, a combination of compassion and disgust. Lusty girls and passive guys make up a lot of the lyrical content, like on "Reel Around the Fountain", "Miserable Lie", "Pretty Girls Make Graves". Homosexuality features in "Hand in Glove". Unemployment crops up too, on "Still Ill" and "You've Got Everything Now" , (who else would have the guts to sing "I've never had a job because I'm too shy"). Worth a mention are the haunting lyrics of "Suffer Little Children", about the moors murders.
"Fresh lilaced moorland fields
Cannot hide the stolid stench of death"
The sampled child's laughter in that song makes things all the more creepy.Read more ›