In the spring of 1987, one year following the group's masterpiece "The Queen Is Dead," the Smiths released two albums. In the UK, they unleashed "The World Won't Listen." But in the United States, they released "Louder Than Bombs," a double album of singles, b-sides, and rare tracks. A compilation of this nature shouldn't work, but, amazingly, it did. "Louder Than Bombs" shows why singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr weren't just simply leaders in mope rock--they were also among the most vital and influential British songwriters of the 1980s. Morrissey exposes his utter contempt for pop music in the semi-controversial "Panic," croons though the brilliant and self-loathing "Unlovable;" shines through the potent "Rubber Ring," and is even funny in the snide "You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby." But the heart of the album, I think, is the still-marvelous "Hand In Glove," the band's debut single replete with Johnny Marr's stellar guitars. But the songs I just mentioned only hint at the many riches this album has to offer. At 24 tracks, "Louder Than Bombs" is a huge platter of material, but the songs here are brisk and range from very good to brilliant. I played this to death when I first bought it, and it still gets the occasional spin in my stereo. A great album that earns its five stars.