The Smiths “Rock Album”

TJ Burns

Active Member
To my ears there is a gem of a rock album tucked between the smiths final two releases. The singles released between the recordings of “The Queen is Dead” and “Strangeways” have their own sound and when played together, sounds as if it’s the closest approximation of what a Smiths “rock” album would sound like, with higher tempos and chunkier guitars.

Songs would include:
Sweet and tender hooligans
London
Sheila take a bow
Shoplifters of the world
Panic
Ask
Is it really so strange
You just haven’t earned it yet baby
Half a person (not really rock but a brilliant song written in this period worthy of inclusion)

Is there anything else you would add? This list is basically cutting out some of the fat and songs previously released from “Louder than bombs.”
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Interesting! Agree to some extent. But, Ask, though? That song is almost twee, to my ears.
 
R

Ragdale Road

Guest
Interesting! Agree to some extent. But, Ask, though? That song is almost twee, to my ears.
Apparently, it really rocked on the first recording and the break with the rushing waves and seagulls was really something. I think a lot of Smiths songs were reined in by unnecessary over production. Stretch out and wait was awesome, live, but sounded twee on the studio version.
 

Old Mathew

Well-Known Member
I included Ask because it is at least uptempo and from the same little run of recordings, but I do see your point.

If you listen to the demo of Ask, which has a harder sound, then it fits with your thesis.

It definitely felt like the sound of the singles and b-sides during that time were getting heavier. "Strangeways" was a conscious departure from that, I think, based on Marr's desire to have a less guitar-oriented album -- though of course "Stop Me" and "I Started Something" and "Paint a Vulgar Picture" would fit well in this list.

I like the lighter production of "Ask," personally. Sometimes it improves songs -- eg, "Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself" -- and sometimes it doesn't (the studio version of "My Love Life" feels inferior to me compared to the KROQ version).

Good topic. Thanks!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I don’t think this hypothetical album rocks as much as meat is murder. Especially the American version with how soon is now I want the one I can’t have what she said headmaster nowhere fast
 

TJ Burns

Active Member
I don’t think this hypothetical album rocks as much as meat is murder. Especially the American version with how soon is now I want the one I can’t have what she said headmaster nowhere fast

I agree in particular the case of how soon is now, but sweet and tender, London, shoplifters, is it really so strange, Sheila, and to a degree panic are unique in the use of distorted guitars playing power chords, something Johnny deliberately avoided at any other time in The Smiths era.
 
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