The Smiths : Louder Than Bombs

ltbALBUM OF THE WEEK

A compilation of singles, B-sides, album tracks, and BBC sessions assembled for the American market, Louder Than Bombs is an overlong and unfocused collection that nevertheless boasts a wealth of brilliant material.

Since Hatful of Hollow was unavailable in the U.S. at the time of the release of Louder Than Bombs, this compilation contains large chunks of that album, as well as several cuts from The Smiths, which makes the record a little redundant for most Smiths fans.

Also, Louder Than Bombs contains some of the worst material the group ever recorded, including the bland instrumental “Oscillate Wildly” and a cover of Twinkle’s “Golden Light.” Excluding all of this material, the remainder of the record is brilliant. The singles “Shakespeare’s Sister,” “Panic,” “Ask,” “Shoplifters of the World Unite,” and “Sheila Take a Bow” are all definitive, as are the elegiac “Unloveable,” “Asleep,” “Stretch Out and Wait,” and “Half a Person,” which are all unavailable anywhere else (excluding the British counterpart to Louder Than Bombs, The World Won’t Listen).

Furthermore, the sneering, bouncing pop of “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby” and the bizarre travelogue of “Is It Really So Strange?” are two other essential songs not available anywhere else. Though The World Won’t Listen is a more concise collection, Louder Than Bombs is a necessary purchase for any Smiths fan. [ review by Thomas Erlewine ]

Tracklist (favorites in bold)

  1. Is it Really So Strange
  2. Sheila Take A Bow
  3. Shoplifters of the World Unite
  4. Sweet and Tender Hooligan
  5. Half a Person
  6. London
  7. Panic
  8. Girl Afraid
  9. Shakespeare’s Sister
  10. William, It Was Really Nothing
  11. You Just Haven’t Earned it Yet Baby
  12. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
  13. Ask
  14. Golden Lights
  15. Oscillate Wildly
  16. These Things Take Time
  17. Rubber Ring
  18. Back to the Old House
  19. Hand in Glove
  20. Stretch Out and Wait
  21. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
  22. This Night Has Opened My Eyes
  23. Unloveable
  24. Asleep

Album Moods
Literate Witty Bittersweet Wry Amiable/Good-Natured Brooding Cathartic Cerebral Earnest Earthy Gentle Gloomy Intimate Melancholy Passionate Playful Refined Reflective Rousing Sad Sophisticated Stylish Theatrical

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