THE PROPER BEST OF THE SMITHS FROM A BORED FELLER ON THE TRAIN HOME.
The Smiths 'Reel Around The Fountain' 1984
Still the most romantic song I've ever heard - I thought that as an 11 year old (I certainly didn't know what romance was then) but this song made me feel like it was okay to not like football and like poncing about with my florist mum.
It also features the best middle eight ever written, musically ad lyrically ( 'I dreamt about you last night...') there are 2 good recordings of this - the one that John Porter produced (this one) on the debut lp being my favourite, for the sneaky piano part from Johnny in the middle eight.There is another version recorded by Troy Tate which is truly terrible and the Stephen Street one on Hatful Of Hollow.
Mike Joyce's drumming is really patient in this, which is unusual.
The Smiths 'Cemetery Gates' 1986
What's great is they didn't.
The band flare around Marr's melody for a minute and stop. The first example of Johhny under-doing arrangements brilliantly.
The Smiths 'Girl Afraid' 1984
The Smiths 'Suffer Little Children' 1983/4
Morrissey wrote the lyrics to the instrumental at home before arriving at the studio and freaking the other members out with what he'd written - a song about the moors murderers. The press got hold of this and tried to make out it was a terrible, sensationalist and contraversial song - before checking with the parents of the murdered children, only to find Morrissey had visited the parents and played them the tape of this, of which they all approved.
It was a tribute to the dead children that the parents fully supported. Sometimes (with that in mind) a bit upsetting to listen to, even 40 years after the killings.
A 50's rock n roll pastiche. Johnny was/is really into retro 50's music and culture, and partic guitar sounds.
Some unusual swirly effects from producer Stephen Street. Short and sweet - again, knowing when to stop.
Rourke playing at his slinkiest, and more great lyrics for all the lads to sing along to. 'See I've already waited too long...and all my hope is gone' has stuck with me for years and years (because I'm a miserable git but a very happy one)
The Smiths ' Last Night I Dreamt' 1987
The production and ideas (on the whole LP) is/are phenomenal. Really underated album is 'Strangeways Here We Come' - annoyingly so.
Some journalists like to refer to it as the sound of The Smiths breaking up. It really isn't. This is a great recording and perormance from their final album. I prefer this LP to The Queen Is Dead. It sounds more like Johnny Marr flexing his skills as an arranger.
People like to speculate on how they might have sounded after this album - and are generally negative.
I think they could have really done something amazing - this track being indicative of that
The Smiths 'There is a Light' 1986
I remember a couple of nights djing playing this and all the lads in a scrum spilling beer and doing that jumpy up and down thing (with pints) - all of them knowing every last word.
Makes me love Manchester, but not in a nostaligic way. The esscence of Manc lads is in this song.
alltogether now 'and if a tennn tunnnn truckkkkkkk'
The Smiths 'Back To The Old House' 1984
Moz has a day off - Johnny does a bit of showing off with Andy and Mike. Just a nice reminder of the fact that the band were great players.
Listen to ANYTHING Coldplay have recorded and remember where you heard this type of piano arrangement first.
If I had theme music when I walked in a room it'd be this.
Andy and Mike play really well together on this. Marr leaves room for them. Really well arranged with the string parts too. I love the way he says 'guts' (3.35) He's got a very odd accent really.
Blew the other band band members away having recorded it as an instumental before Morrissey came in with lyrics he'd written at home. The end section was extended 'mother I can feel...' when played live on the last tour.
'see the sea wants to take me - the knife wants to slit me - do you think you can help me?'
Meat is Murder was the album that changed so many people's lives - yet kinda gets forgotten a bit.
It's the best album they did in many ways - the relationship between the band and Johnny, and the band and Mozzer and all of them with producer Stephen Street - culminating in this. The Coda 'I've seen this happen...' is perfect and amazing. The panned overlayed guitars, the long snare reverb, the weird backwardy bits, the snakey totally Andy Rourke bassline. Sums up the sound of a band confidently coming of age.
The Smiths 'This Charming Man' 1984/5
Generally the first time anyone sat up and took notice and took them seriously.
I'll go so far as to say this is the first 'indie' record. It was.
I'm sure I'm probably an idiot for sitting on this train for 4 hours and writing this for (nobody) to read.
I don't forget the songs that changed my life - and the songs that made me smile.
See? I snook a Morrissey lyric in - even right at the end.