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5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!
I love the Smiths, but until I bought this had only heard a bit of them. I really like this album! The guitar played is AMAZING! He lays some pretty driving stuff out. I love Morrisey's voice, it's haunting. This is a good album, with some of the best songs being "Pretty Girls Make Graves" and "What Difference Does it Make?" The singing in the later one brings tears...
Published on March 11 2012 by Emily

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3.0 out of 5 stars Second-weakest Smiths record
It's clear that the band was not yet musically mature. Morrissey's vocals are weaker than on classics like the Queen is Dead and Louder than Bombs. The songs are musically more spare and not as strong.
This one is for big Smiths fans. The rest of us should stick with Queen is Dead, Strangeways, and Louder than Bombs.
Published on Feb. 17 2004 by SRS


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5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!, March 11 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
I love the Smiths, but until I bought this had only heard a bit of them. I really like this album! The guitar played is AMAZING! He lays some pretty driving stuff out. I love Morrisey's voice, it's haunting. This is a good album, with some of the best songs being "Pretty Girls Make Graves" and "What Difference Does it Make?" The singing in the later one brings tears to the eyes!
This is a beautfiul album that I definately recomend to anyone!
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5.0 out of 5 stars good music..., July 5 2004
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
thats all that needs to be said...nobody seems to mention "You've Got Everything Now"...its my fav. on this album...
"what a terrible mess i've made of my life"...who cant relate?
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5.0 out of 5 stars "It's Time the Tale Were Told.", June 11 2004
By 
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
Back in 1984, when Culture Club, Wham!, and Duran Duran dominated the charts and airwaves, a group of four young Englishmen called the Smiths released their debut on the indie label Rough Trade. Although they recorded only four non-compilation studio albums, this Manchester-based quartet would be remembered as one of the most influential pop bands of all time. "The Smiths" is a smashing debut of a classic that was so unique in its flavor and form, that it really couldn't be compared to anything else. The recipe for the group's success was--in addition to John Porter's raw production--its clever and original songwriting. Singer Morrissey's sensitive and thoughtful lyrics and guitarist Johnny Marr's intricate melodies highlighted key tracks such as the opener "Reel Around the Fountain," the catchy "This Charming Man," and the ever-haunting "Hand in Glove." What's more, Morrissey's lyrics tackled some unconventional topics few pop stars in 1984 would bother to broach, from child abuse to homosexuality. "The Smiths" debuted at Number Two on the UK charts upon release, and while it never duplicated the same success stateside, it has quickly gained popularity as an underground classic. Two years later, the band would outdo themselves on their 1986 masterpiece "The Queen Is Dead" before disbanding the following year. Both that album, as well as this stunner of a debut, come highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the Naysayers: It's a Masterpiece, May 28 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
This is my favourite Smiths album(not counting compilations). I'm not alone in this either; a Rolling Stone article agreed with me, and so does Mark Simpson, author of 'Saint Morrissey.' (OK, now I probably sound like a Smiths fanatic, but I'm not, I promise; I just happen to like intelligent, accessible, and enthusiastic writing about popular culture!) I admire 'The Queen is Dead,' and 'Strangeways' and 'Meat is Murder' have their many virtues. If you fell in love with 'The Queen is Dead,' it's possible you may not like this as much, because it's quite different. If, however, you liked 'The Queen is Dead' but came away not fully understanding the fuss over this band--try this, as well as (and perhaps first)'Hatful of Hollow,' a radio sessions and B-sides compilation that has better versions of some of these tracks plus more great songs in the same vein.
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. The entirely unique imaginative universe Morrissey introduces the listener to manages to convincingly blend the ordinary and the exotic, allowing the listener to identify but still be intrigued. Johnny Marr's haunting, delicate, achingly melancholy compositions beautifully assist in conjuring this universe. No, not every song is a masterpiece--but 'This Charming Man,' 'Still Ill,' and 'Reel Around the Fountain' are, 'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle' and 'Suffer Little Children' are must-hears, 'Miserable Lie,' the album's one rock-out, is an insane experience (sort of 'Helter Skelter' with a hoarse falsetto and opposite lyrical content), and the others are seriously catchy, lyrically original guitar-pop.
There's already plenty of self-mocking irony at work in Morrissey's lyrics, but it's after "Hatful" that his work becomes largely divided into novelty songs and flamboyant melodramas, with some crossover, while Marr becomes increasingly experimental and rocks harder and the production gets slicker. However, this is like arguing about whether The Beatles are better circa 'Revolver' or 'Sgt. Pepper'--buy all the albums, this is one of the greatest bands in pop/rock history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever he has done, i have done..., May 17 2004
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
The Smiths debut LP is a classic in my book. Sure it isn't their best (The Queen Is Dead takes that honor) but there are tons of great tunes to be found on here. My favorite song on the whole album has to be "Suffer Little Children", a song that was inspired by the Moors Murders which took place in Manchester around the 1960's. There's also the classic singles "This Charming Man" and "What Difference Does It Make?" which can be found on this album. This is definately worth picking up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Flawd but great, April 2 2004
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This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
This is strange album.On the one hand it contains a few stone cold classics(This Charming Man , Hand In Glove etc..) while on the other it is a passable debut offering from a promising band (i don't owe you anything).This album could be great but doesn't quite reach the mark,settling for the status of excellent debut.I would reccomend that you make this the 3rd smiths album that you buy after the queen is dead and strangeways(both phenomenal).However I have to stress that you must buy a smiths album!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Early Morrissey, March 16 2004
By 
Matt Poole (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
The Smiths did a couple of things for music. They showed that it was still cool to have guitar in the synth filled 80s popscene, and they showed that music could still make you think and feel.
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.
Downsides, the songs are a bit samey musically, in themes, production and style. The tracks "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" and "I Don't Owe You Anything" aren't that great, just moody and repetitive. Still, us Smiths fans don't mind. You either love them or you hate them. Morrissey's voice, lyrics and attitude are pretty polarizing.
Personally, I like this album better than Queen is Dead, so I'd recommend this to newcomers, though a compilation may be better, as you'd get a taste of everything. For fans, The Smiths self titled is a must, really.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Second-weakest Smiths record, Feb. 17 2004
By 
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
It's clear that the band was not yet musically mature. Morrissey's vocals are weaker than on classics like the Queen is Dead and Louder than Bombs. The songs are musically more spare and not as strong.
This one is for big Smiths fans. The rest of us should stick with Queen is Dead, Strangeways, and Louder than Bombs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 80s British Pop Esstenial, Dec 31 2003
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
I like this a lot and the guitar riffs are probably my favorite thing about this disc. Soothing, melodic and catchy songs are made in the formula of Morrisey's weirdness and Marr's handy guitar-work. An 80s essential if you ask me, but to some just plain strange. The lyrics cover topics any mom, pop or whoever would make them cringe in disgust. Long story short, listen to the samples before you buy. You maybe disgusted or delighted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but better than almost all other records, Dec 18 2003
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
I can't remember exactly when I got into Morrissey/Smiths. It certainly has been a while. However, I just recently began to buy their albums, and I figured I would start with this one, being as how it was their debut album and also came first in the chronological order I'll be buying them in. I had already heard close to half the album when I bought it, but it still did not cease to amaze me. From the opening track, the sublime "Reel Around The Fountain," you can already tell that you've got a masterpiece on your hands. I think "Reel Around The Fountain" is probably my favorite song on the album. It really shows off Morrissey's outstanding voice and knack for poetry/songwriting. The following track, "You've Got Everything Now," is not quite as good, but still very energetic and well-written. As with a few of Moz's songs, the lyrics are a tad bit bitter. But, then again, who isn't bitter, eh? The next song, "Miserable Lie," is one of the truly different songs on the album. It starts out rather normal, then about 40 seconds into it, the bands speeds up tremendously and about 2 minutes into it, Moz starts singing in the strangest falsetto-like voice I've ever heard. The lyrics are wonderful, and I also enjoy the weird energy in the song, too, though some Smiths fans seem to think of it as a sort of failed attempt at trying to "rock out." The next song, "Pretty Girls Make Graves," is the song that made me go to record store and buy the album. I have no idea what it is about that song, but I listened to it on repeat for a week, and kept craving more. Moz shows off his vocal abilities once again. The celibate lyrics are also very, umm, interesting. "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" is also one of the shining moments on the album. Very serene and beautifully executed. I've read on quite a few occasions that it's about child molestation/abuse. Hard to tell. Upon first listen, it sounded like a love song. Then, I dug deeper, and it may very well be about molestation. I really couldn't say. "This Charming Man" is one of the singles that launched the Smiths career, and I still enjoy it much more than their biggest single (Meat Is Murder's "How Soon Is Now?"). Johnny Marr's guitar intro is amazing and I find this to be Moz's shining moment as a singer on the album as well. Song 7, "Still Ill," is one of the more depressing stereotypical Moz mope songs on the album. Still amazingly well-written and I'm a sucker for depressing anyway. "Hand In Glove," the wonderful song about the "homosexual experience" is also a shining moment on the album. Wonderfully well-written. "What Difference Does It Make?" comes next. Certainly not one of my favorites, but it's still quite good. I don't care too much for Morrissey's voice in this one. "I Don't Owe You Anything" is my least favorite song on the album. It's certainly not a bad song, but just not as good as the others. The final track, "Suffer Little Children" is the final shining moment on the album. Beautifully written about the Moors murders, it seems a fitting tribute to those lost. Also a wonderful name for a song. Well, that's the whole album. Certainly not a bad album to get acquainted with the Smiths. However, if you're new to the band, I would suggest Louder Than Bombs, a 20-some track compilation featuring quite a few of their best songs.
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