The Sound Of The Smiths
Sire/Rhino Records; 2008
By Ron Raymond
WMPG Music Director
Over the years, 80s modern rock heroes, The Smiths, have had their share of greatest hits collections, including the brilliant 1987 collective LOUDER THAN BOMBS. Now, Sire and Rhino have teamed up once again to bring fans THE SOUND OF THE SMITHS, a 23-track, one-CD offering of this 4-man band’s most memorable hits. Included are favorites like “Hand In Glove,” “This Charming Man,” “William, Was It Really Nothing,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” “Panic,” “Ask,” “Sheila Take A Bow,” “Girlfriend In A Coma,” the full-length version of “How Soon Is Now?” and the John Peel Sessions version of “What Difference Does It Make?”
For the diehard fans like myself, I opted for the 2-CD edition, in which the second disc features 22 B-sides and rarities, such as “Jeane” (which was later covered brilliantly by Billy Bragg), the New York vocal extended mix of “This Charming Man,” “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” the haunting “Asleep,” “Sweet And Tender Hooligan,” “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” and two great instrumentals, “Money Changes Anything” and “Oscillate Wildly.”
The songwriting team of vocalist Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr has been compared as the alt-rock equivalent of Lennon/McCartney, and The Smiths have inspired many past and present bands, including James, The Cranberries, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, Belle And Sebastian, and Blur, who apparently formed after seeing The Smiths on a British television show. If you are fan of The Smiths, and have been holding out for a 4-CD box set, well…this is the closest thing you’ll get – but it’s worth it, especially the 2-disc edition.