Whenever I'm telling someone new about my love of The Smiths there is a moment however slight when they pause and stare. At least this is the case with most people who are somewhat familiar with the band or their flamboyant frontman Morrissey. I can see the wheels in their head turning at that moment wondering about me as if they may have stumbled upon something secret and sordid . Misguided as these assumptions people make may be given that the response is fairly common. Its almost as if these people have never considered that a perfectly straight man can love Morrissey. Well I do - and so I was super excited to hear The Smiths Compete (came out** haha) this week
. The eight disc box set includes all four of the bands full length albums The Smiths (1984) Meat is Murder, The Queen Is Dead (1986) and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987) ; the live album Rank (1988) ; and three compilations, Hatful of Hollow (1984) The World Won't Listen & Louder Than Bombs (1987). Literally everything you could possibly want from the band is here remastered.
My favorite is still the self-titled debut - though The Queen is Dead comes in at a close second. I still haven't heard the live album as of yet but it's something I'm looking forward to. The guitar work by Marr is as good as ever and may very well be the element of Smiths tunes that can help it appeal to a wider audience. Still, I understand that Morrissey's singing style and voice will turn many people away from The Smiths even if they don't listen to his ambiguously gay lyrics and start to feel awkward ( I contend this response is more homo than the lyrics to "Hand In Glove") which is fucking classic. There isn't a lot I can do to change those people's minds but for those of you who aren't scared of a such nonsense I strongly recommend this collection. It's very expensive of course so it may be better just to search out the originals - but it's never too late to appreciate a band like The Smiths.
here is one of my faves from the aforementioned The Queen Is Dead "Frankly, Mr Shankly"