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|1. Panic (2011 Remastered Version)|
|2. Ask (2011 Remastered Version)|
|3. London (2011 Remastered Version)|
|4. Bigmouth Strikes Again (2011 Remastered Version)|
|5. Shakespeare's Sister (2011 Remastered Version)|
|6. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (2011 Remastered Version)|
|7. Shoplifters Of The World Unite (2011 Remastered Version)|
|8. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (2011 Remastered Version)|
|9. Money Changes Everything (2011 Remastered Version)|
|10. Asleep (2011 Remastered Version)|
|11. Unloveable (2011 Remastered Version)|
|12. Half A Person|
|13. Stretch Out And Wait (2011 Remastered Alternate Vocal Version)|
|14. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore (2011 Remastered Single Version)|
|15. Oscillate Wildly (2011 Remastered Version)|
|16. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby (Uk Mix)|
|17. Rubber Ring (2011 Remastered Version)|
|18. Golden Lights (2011 Remastered Version)|
The songs on this album are probably more familiar to the casual Smiths fan, with songs like Panic, The Boy With the Thorn In His Side and There Is A Light That Never Goes out still getting fairly regular play on channels like VH2, and occasionally crop up on the radio. The sound here had become more pop orientated than the songs on Hatful... with Johnny Marr layering a number of different jangling guitar tracks and gorgeous melodies, which were really taking a greater dominance over the more pedestrian drums and bass. Panic is a great way to start the collection, with a sound that is very much in keeping with the other highlights of this collection and has that great lyric, "hang the DJ", which, I'd imagine, is familiar to people who don't even like The Smiths. This leads seamlessly into Ask, London (the great cover-version of this by the band Cinerama is well worth checking out), Bigmouth Strikes Again and the slight rockabilly of Shakespeare's Sister, before we reach the sublime beauty of There Is A Light... which is quite often, my personal favourite Smiths' song in the world.
Two more pop classics follow, with the storming Shoplifters of the World Unite and the bouncy, The Boy With The Thorn in His Side, which again, has that trademark Smiths' sound that has yet to be recreated by anyone since (including Morrissey solo). The collection moves seamlessly from the pure pop of songs like Ask and Shakespeare's Sister, to the cartwheeling angst of Bigmouth Strikes Again and You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby, right the way through to the utter despair of Unlovable and Asleep. Asleep is probably the bleakest song the Smiths' ever recorded, far surpassing previously dark offerings like How Soon is Now and I Know It's Over, with Marr and producer John Porter using atmospheric sound samples and stripping away all of the instrumentation to leave a simple, solo piano. Meanwhile, Morrissey invokes suicide ("sing me to sleep, I don't want to wake up on my own anymore") whilst singing in a voice that is at an absolute lulled peak.
The rest of the collection continues the greatness established by the first half, moving from the subdued Unloveable ("I wear black on the outside, coz black is how I feel, on the inside") to the darkly comic Half A Person, to the pastoral sounding Stretch Out And Wait (another perennial favourite of mine) and onto that great instrumental track, Oscillate Wildly. The collection comes to a close with the Paint a Vulgar Picture-precursor You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (which has that classic Smiths' sound), and the experimental pop song, Golden Lights, which features the vocals talents of Kirsty MacColl (as does Ask). The World Won't Listen, along with Hatful of Hollow, is an excellent introduction to the Smiths, and is probably the best example of their style and sound.
Get "Louder Than Bombs" instead - it does, as well as lots of additional tracks, most of which are also on "Hatful Of Hollow".
The only selling point of this collection over "Louder Than Bombs" is the alternate version of "Stretch Out And Wait".
Add to that the rather poor instrumental "Money Changes Everything" which Johnny Marr gave to Bryan Ferry for the basis of his "Right Stuff" single. "The Draize Train" would have been a better choice of Smiths instrumental to include in my opinion.
Another problem with this collection is that 5 of the tracks appear on "The Queen Is Dead" and "Meat Is Murder" LPs which makes the omission of "Sheila Take A Bow", "Is It Really So Strange" and "Sweet And Tender Hooligan" even more disappointing.
The songs get 5 stars but this is the least essential original Smiths release.
(I'm ignoring The Very Best Of, Best Of I and II, and Singles)
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