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BCB 100 - The Smiths

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 16:20
by geoffcowgill
Is this the band that splits the UK and the US most sharply? I really just don't see the monumental greatness of the Smiths. What I have (Queen, Strangeways, and Louder Than Bombs) I like, but I remain a bit mystified how others love.

I listened again to the two proper albums I have yesterday evening. I'd had Strangeways, Here We Come since not long after it was released, but I'd only gotten The Queen Is Dead a couple of years ago. I was quite disappointed that THE GREATEST ALBUM OF THE 1980s was not, frankly, all that great. I will say that I liked it more yesterday than I had on any prior listening, but Strangeways still sounded better to me. I'll leave others to pontificate on the majesty of The Queen. Their final album has a punch and energy that the other material I've heard from them doesn't. Maybe the Smiths shouldn't have punch and energy, I don't know, but I like that better than what they apparently should have. "Last Night I Dreamt..." sounds like Morrissey parody to me, and "Unhappy Birthday" and "Death at One's Elbow" are a bit slight, but the rest of the album sounds really top notch to me. The bookending songs are particularly good. In fact, "I Won't Share You" is likely my favorite Smiths song. That or "Sheila Take a Bow".

so...

Favorite Album- Strangeways, Here We Come

Favorite Song- "I Won't Share You"

Re: BCB 100 - The Smiths

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 16:28
by nathan
geoffcowgill wrote:I'd only gotten The Queen Is Dead a couple of years ago. I was quite disappointed that THE GREATEST ALBUM OF THE 1980s was not, frankly, all that great.

I just got it a couple years ago too and have grown to love it. I feel it is just as great as everyone says, and I love it more and more as I continue to play it.

But That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore will always be far and away my favorite Smiths track. It's just so gorgeous, and I think it was one of the few tracks of theirs where Morrissey doesn't go overboard. He uses his impressive pipes to lift up the song and not just carry it.

Re: BCB 100 - The Smiths

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 16:32
by RcL
geoffcowgill wrote: I was quite disappointed that THE GREATEST ALBUM OF THE 1980s was not, frankly, all that great.


It's not, and I'm a fan. The problem is that The Smiths didn't do things conventionally - all the studio albums are patchy. I think Strangeways is just one big patch, but others like it, I know. TQID and MIM are just so hit and miss - stuff like Cemetry Gates and Nowhere Fast are pleasant enough, but nowhere near what they could do, which was all too often found on B sides - hence many people rating LTB and HOH as their essential records. The first album doesn't have a less than brilliant song (though Miserable Lie can catch the wrong mood at times), but is famously produced in an ill-fitting manner.

Album: The Smiths (but I prefer the two comps)

Song: Wonderful Woman

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 16:34
by Tom Violence
Probably my fav band just about. Certainly in my top 5.

I didn't like much of it when i first got 'Singles' to be honest. But I plugged away and after half a dozen listens some of them, noteably 'Girlfriend in a Coma' and 'Panic' were sounding pretty decent.

Then HMV had a Smiths sale to promote whatever Mozza album was out at the time, might have been 'Maladjusted', so I bought the lot. And i listened to them in order and very soon I utterly loved it all.

It's the album tracks and the b-sides which are the best in my opinion. Stuff like 'Still Ill', 'Headmaster Ritual', 'Asleep', 'I Know its Over'....

I could go on all day, needless to say I love the melodies and a lot of the lyrics strike home which made me feel like Morrissey understood me or was like me in some way. Which is why he has such mass adulation from so many people I guess.

The band looked great as well, and it just all rang true with me, I was always one of the slightly awkward and socially clumsy kids, never in the cool crew. I think its easier to love the Smiths if you are a bit awkward/angst/lonely or whatever.

Fav album: debut

Fav song: Back to teh Old House

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 16:44
by Piggly Wiggly
I can't praise them enough. As much a part of my musical identity as The Who, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, et. al.

For it's elegant simplicity, directness, and conciseness - I nominate "Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" as their definitive achievement.

Album? The Smiths, without a doubt.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 16:45
by Leg of lamb
Geoff, you have spoken for me, and I thank you for that. 'I Won't Share You' is just so affecting and economical, it gets me like almost nothing else they did. 'How Soon Is Now?' is my runner-up - it's a motherfucker of a song.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 16:50
by geoffcowgill
Sounds like maybe I should go ahead and get their first album, huh?

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 17:14
by Matt Wilson
Gee, what do ya think the chances of this thread getting more replies than the Byrds one?

Odds, anyone? :lol:

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 17:23
by Bungo the Mungo
Leg of lamb wrote:Geoff, you have spoken for me, and I thank you for that. 'I Won't Share You' is just so affecting and economical, it gets me like almost nothing else they did.


It comes across as a very contrived, tear-jerky closer to their last album, I think.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 18:09
by toomanyhatz
They do cause a rift, don't they? If you love them or hate them, you do it with a passion generally. I won't say much here, because to a large extent, I just don't get them. This may be because I find Morrissey to be an annoying presence on the whole, but I do love Marr's playing. I don't hate them, but think it's weird that two so identifiable styles- one I like and one I don't- came together successfully for so long. While I don't own anything, and don't care to, I admit it's an impressive achievement.

Anyway, cliche or no, for me it's "How Soon is Now" for best song. It's just a staggering achievement guitar-wise. And one of the dour one's better vocals.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 18:16
by Bungo the Mungo
oh, enough praise for 'How Soon Is Now?' already! It's fucking dire!

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 18:23
by toomanyhatz
the name is Coan wrote:oh, enough praise for 'How Soon Is Now?' already! It's fucking dire!


Oh John, that's you all over! One compliment and you already have to throw stones. And don't offer anything positive in response.

Although at least this time you're talking about something you've actually heard!

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:25
by slightbreeze
Possibly the greatest band of all time.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:29
by Leg of lamb
the name is Coan wrote:
Leg of lamb wrote:Geoff, you have spoken for me, and I thank you for that. 'I Won't Share You' is just so affecting and economical, it gets me like almost nothing else they did.


It comes across as a very contrived, tear-jerky closer to their last album, I think.


Really? I've always liked it because it's an insight into how Morrissey is dealing with an actual relationship, rather than poncing about over not having one. And, given the circumstances, it's a beautifully restrained piece of music from Marr.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:32
by Matt Wilson
Leg of lamb wrote:
the name is Coan wrote:
Leg of lamb wrote:Geoff, you have spoken for me, and I thank you for that. 'I Won't Share You' is just so affecting and economical, it gets me like almost nothing else they did.


It comes across as a very contrived, tear-jerky closer to their last album, I think.


Really? I've always liked it because it's an insight into how Morrissey is dealing with an actual relationship, rather than poncing about over not having one. And, given the circumstances, it's a beautifully restrained piece of music from Marr.


Is it an insight into one of Morrisey's relationships?
I thought he was always going around saying how he was celibate in the '80s.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:33
by Butch Manly
Leg of lamb wrote:
the name is Coan wrote:
Leg of lamb wrote:Geoff, you have spoken for me, and I thank you for that. 'I Won't Share You' is just so affecting and economical, it gets me like almost nothing else they did.


It comes across as a very contrived, tear-jerky closer to their last album, I think.


Really? I've always liked it because it's an insight into how Morrissey is dealing with an actual relationship, rather than poncing about over not having one. And, given the circumstances, it's a beautifully restrained piece of music from Marr.


to be fair, it's highly unlikely that marr would have known what lyrics would have been put to the tune he came up with. generally, he did the music then morrissey added his two pen'orth.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:34
by Butch Manly
Matt Wilson wrote:Is it an insight into one of Morrisey's relationships?


of course it is. he was obsessed with marr.

it's no coincidence that he'd come up with "i don't mind if you forget me" and "he knows i'd love to see him" within a year of the split.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:38
by Leg of lamb
DiamondDog wrote:to be fair, it's highly unlikely that marr would have known what lyrics would have been put to the tune he came up with. generally, he did the music then morrissey added his two pen'orth.


Aye, fair enough. Still, the point stands that it's not a mawkish tearfest.

I've always marvelled at how that partnership must have worked. I mean, did Marr have any idea about what the vocal melodies would have been when he was writing the music?

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:39
by Matt Wilson
DiamondDog wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:Is it an insight into one of Morrisey's relationships?


of course it is. he was obsessed with marr.

it's no coincidence that he'd come up with "i don't mind if you forget me" and "he knows i'd love to see him" within a year of the split.


I never knew that Andy.
Is that the accepted interpretation of that song?

I know there's a book on the Smiths but I've never really thumbed through it.

So who's "Reel Around the Fountain" about? The first guy to pop Mozz's cherry? Don't tell me that... It'll burst my bubble re his so-called virginity.

Posted: 16 Jun 2006, 19:41
by Leg of lamb
I think it is the accepted interpretation, Matt. Or certainly the critically orthodox one after that Songs That Saved Your Life book (which is really good, actually - much more of a fan document than Revolution In The Head and, in some ways, all the better for it).