To say I dislike The Smiths would be an understatement. I don’t hate them so much as I hate the aura around them and this idea that they somehow saved British music from itself (and synthesizers! don’t forget the synthesizers), almost like a younger, hipper Bruce Springsteen (because Springsteen saved rock music from disco, don’t you know).
Their actual music I do not dislike but I have a hard time separating it from their reputation and, moreover, I pretty much despise Morrissey the man. If there’s one pop culture figure I find obnoxious, it’s him.
But it’s amazing what a little musical variety can do to my dislike of something. Here The Smiths expand their sound outside of their normal style and I actually like it! And enjoying these arrangements much more than usual, I find I spend less time focusing on Morrissey’s lyrics (which, though always good, I rarely like) to the point where I’m not sure one set of them annoys me like his lyrics usually do (only because I’m distracted).
But even more shocking to me and my impression of this man is Morrissey’s own personal risks here: he stretches his voice on at least two tricks but, far crazier, he plays a piano solo! And, even crazier, it is good! (For an amateur, sure, but it works for the song, which is all that matters.)
So, of all the Morrissey-related stuff I’ve yet (Smiths and solo), I find this far and away the best thing. I still don’t think it’s a masterpiece (it’s just well produced jangle pop, folks, and a really short LP at that) but I would much rather listen to this than anything else.
- “A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours” 3:00
- “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish” 3:47
- “Death of a Disco Dancer” 5:26
- “Girlfriend in a Coma” 2:03
- “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” 3:32
- “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” 5:03
- “Unhappy Birthday” 2:46
- “Paint a Vulgar Picture” 5:35
- “Death at One’s Elbow” 2:01
- “I Won’t Share You” 2:48