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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You've Got (almost) Everything Now
Anyone considering spending over 200 on this collection of previously-released material will be well-acquainted enough with the music of The Smiths to wish being spared tedious personal observations regarding the songwriting prowess of Morrissey and Marr. So, to the hulking behemoth that is "The Complete Smiths" box set...

Happily, the remasters are a genuine...
Published on 4 Oct 2011 by Chankos

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At []+ think twice
This is a review of the Collector's Edition boxed set and not the musical content which would be 5 stars, and some.

It's an expensive collectable filled with repetition rather than anything of great worth itself and seemingly very mild remastering at best.

It's clearly aimed at "collectors" (or mugs, me included) yet I would take the "strictly...
Published on 5 Oct 2011 by MaxiMoog


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You've Got (almost) Everything Now, 4 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Anyone considering spending over 200 on this collection of previously-released material will be well-acquainted enough with the music of The Smiths to wish being spared tedious personal observations regarding the songwriting prowess of Morrissey and Marr. So, to the hulking behemoth that is "The Complete Smiths" box set...

Happily, the remasters are a genuine improvement over the brickwalled disaster of 2008's The Sound Of The Smiths compilation. Perhaps inevitably, they are louder than the previous WEA editions, but they are also richer and tighter, with considerably more bottom end.

The BBC session tracks on "Hatful Of Hollow" are particularly powerful. As trite as it sounds, listening to the newly-polished "What Difference Does It Make" or "Reel Around The Fountain" really is the nearest you will get to being in the same room as The Smiths. Yet perhaps the most revelatory of all the albums is "Strangeways Here We Come". The anaemic mastering of the previous CD issue is replaced by a beautifully open and solid soundstage which allows the final "rockier" incarnation of the band to shine through. "Death Of A Disco Dancer", "I Started Something..." and "Last Night I Dreamt..." are especially authoritative.

But it's not all bombast. A myriad of subtler details emerge time and again across these albums. Marr's fingerpicking on the achingly beautiful acoustic version of "Back To The Old House" has never sounded so crystalline. The synthesized strings throughout "The Queen Is Dead" now have considerably more depth. It's thrilling to hear tracks you've listened to for so many years suddenly offer up a wealth of secrets.

The slight downside, to these ears, is a certain over-emphasis on the higher frequencies. I found this particularly noticeable on the eponymous debut, where Mike Joyce's hi-hats sound quite shrill. This is also evident on other "bright" tracks such as "I Want The One I Can't Have" and "Cemetry Gates". These CDs are not brickwalled to death but could have been allowed a little more room to breathe. Ultimately, though, the improvements will likely be enough of a trade-off for many listeners, this one included.

To the rest...

The mini-vinyl CD replicas restore the original album artwork for the first time, including the inner slip-cases, original front cover stickers and the free poster issued with "Rank". They are not quite as well rendered or solidly constructed as similar Japanese mini vinyls. Typically with these scaled-down editions, text size can be comically small, leaving many of the lyrics inidicipherable. Those minor caveats aside, these are a vast improvement over the nasty old plastic CD cases with the cropped artwork. The gatefold editions of "Hatful Of Hollow", "The Queen Is Dead", "Louder Than Bombs" and "Rank" are especially wonderful. The discs themselves replicate the original vinyl labels.

My turntable is currently in storage, so I cannot comment on the sound of the accompanying vinyls. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed poring over the artwork and lyrics (readable here!) in their original format whilst listening to the CDs. These LPs will be given a thorough spin once my turntable is up and running. Likewise with the 7" singles: as someone who was too young to buy these first time around, it's great to now own a complete set (including imports), which the earlier vinyl collection singularly failed to deliver. They have all been replicated splendidly, right down to the cryptic messages scrawled into the run-out grooves.

There are glossy 12" art cards of each album cover, presumably for framing. These are entirely pointless, as is the poster of Jurgen Vollmer's cover photograph, which is unlikely to be hung on many walls lest it degrade. The accompanying booklet is a rather flimsy concert-program affair with perfunctory notes by Sire Records' Seymour Stein, music journalist Lois Wilson, and endnotes by Engineers Stephen Street and Grant Showbiz. A hardback book would not have been too much to ask for in its place.

"The Complete Picture" DVD is the same bog-standard video retrospective which has been available for years and offers nothing more than even the ancient VHS edition. The flimsy slip case holder looks like a free DVD bundled in with a Sunday Supplement. Highly disappointing.

Of course, this box is not entirely "complete"; there are no CD versions of a small number of 12"-only B-Sides like "Jeane" or "The Draize Train". There are also no rarities. However, every essential release is included, and refurbished in a highly satisfactory manner. It could also be argued that the inclusion of rarities on such a limited edition would have provoked just as much ire from certain sections of The Smiths' fanbase.

Ultimately, this box set will be of particular delight to those obsessive fans whom, through accidents of birth, missed these releases first time around and had to make do with badly cropped artwork and the thin sound of early '90s CD issues. This is a magnificent housing for the music and art of this incredible band.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's this Box REALLY Like Inside and Out..., 21 Oct 2011
By 
This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
When I first learned of what this box was going to include, there was no way I wasn't going to get it. I knew that I wasn't going to pay Rhino's price, that was for certain.. And I certainly wasn't going to let Rhino charge me $110.00 to ship this to the U.S. - - but then I found it on Amazon(UK) for 188.00 pounds.. (221 minus VAT tax... Americans should never pay VAT). Only 3.08 to ship ($5.25 U.S. to ship).

So it's delivered on the Saturday after its release and it's massive and heavy. Weighing in over 17 pounds and about 20 inches across by 14 inches. The outer box is sturdy and is completely covered with the cover art. You open the lid like a chest and find the CDs as mini-LPs. All details captured, down to the embossed SMITHS on Strangeways, or the hype sticker on albums like "Hatful of Hollow". As far as the CDs go, they don't look quite as authentic as the Japan mini-lp issues from a few years ago, but still look nice. If I had one gripe, I wish the text could have been bigger. However, the sound quality is absolutely wonderful. Not 'just made louder', different and MUCH better than the 2008-2009 remasters...

The LPs pay the same attention to detail, but I haven't put them on the turntable yet.

The 7" collection replicates the artwork nicely, even including the reverse negative HAND IN GLOVE and a few rarities. You get a poster of the cover art, but who cares? You get a series of 12: thick stock high-gloss cards of the album art, and you get the COMPLETE PICTURE DVD, which works on all players (whether DVD, Blu-Ray or PS3), regardless of country or region code. Which was nice for me being in the U.S.

Here's a major gripe of mine... The download card. It says in every advertisememt "COMES WITH HIGH QUALITY MP3s of everything in the box"

They're partly correct, but you've also been duped. The albums, which is redundant as downloads, are indeed 320KBPS... Above the industry standard - which is why they're called HIGH-Quality... HOWEVER... the Singles... the MP3s of the Vinyl... MOST SONGS are 192KBPS! This is unacceptably LOW and it's false advertising really... For this, I cannot give the box 5 stars.

Overall, the sound improvement and the collectible nature of this box makes it well worth it. The sound really is amazing and different that the 2008-2009 masters from SOUND OF THE SMITHS or the Singles box sets of 2009, or the MP3 Codes that came with the vinyl LPs in 2009.

So let's address the misconceptions I've heard:

1. I have everything on the original Rough Trade label, why would I need this?

I didn't say sell the old stuff, but the sound quality is amazing... Why wouldn't you want the much better sound - with Johnny Marr's involvement or approval? Have BOTH.

2. But... But... Morrissey said don't buy it!

Morrissey does NOT care about you... If he wasn't whining about this, he'd be whining about how they're scaring squirrels for entertainment somewhere in eastern europe.

3. But Paint a Vulgar Picture! Best of! Most of!

What does a song about a record company milking a dead star's catalogue have to do with a founding member of the band deciding to make a box set???????

4. They just made it louder! Brickwalled! Louder! Brickwalled!

Not true. I was not so pleased with the mastering in the late 2000s, but this is splendid! STRETCH OUT AND WAIT, UNLOVEABLE, and WILLIAM... have never sounded so amazing.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At []+ think twice, 5 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This is a review of the Collector's Edition boxed set and not the musical content which would be 5 stars, and some.

It's an expensive collectable filled with repetition rather than anything of great worth itself and seemingly very mild remastering at best.

It's clearly aimed at "collectors" (or mugs, me included) yet I would take the "strictly limited to 3000" with a pinch of salt as I think the box says 4000.

On the plus side there are some nice touches
1) The 'Hand in Glove' single is a copy of the rare negative sleeve
2) The CD and the album covers have the same stickers as the original vinyl did
3) The CDs copy the Beatles 2009 Remasters by replicating the 12" artwork and inner sleeves (though the large barcodes are a bit unwarranted and this collection being on a different record label aren't identical)
4) It is big so at least you feel you are getting something for your money (even if it is the same thing in a variety of packages)

On the down side
1) 180g vinyl is generally aimed at the audiophile audience yet they have used inner sleeves seemingly made of thin sandpaper
2) The singles and cd singles are really a stocking filler as pretty much - if not - everything on them is contained on the albums
3) Complete: not really. where are the excellent variety of 'This Charming Man' mixes? or the Peel Sessions album? or perhaps the Sandy Shaw versions?
4) where on earth are you supposed to keep this thing: it's massive!
5) The 'Remastering' hmm? I admittedly haven't listened to all of the items yet but on listening to the vinyl it certainly doesn't sound significantly better than the originals on vinyl. So, I'm hoping the CDs will be where the benefit is felt more
6) The Complete Picture DVD is in a low rent cardboard CD Single sleeve

The standard 7" B sides are covered by the singles themselves (obviously) or Louder Than Bombs.
Surely a bonus disk of out-takes and alternate mixes would have at least made this fresh?
How about some a decent copy of the Troy Tate sessions?

Finally the 'bonus' download is a joke that leaves a bad taste as the website isn't secure so anyone can download them for free, nice touch!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW., 3 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This turned up in the post this morning. All I can say is WOW. It's huge. It's beautiful. It's EXACTLY how The Smiths should be packaged and the audio sounds BRILLIANT. I got the CD box last week anyway so I knew they would sound brilliant, but the 12"s just sound perfect. Seriously well done to Johnny and Rhino for making this. It's truly the star of my (ridiculous) record collection.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Stop Shop, 14 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I,VE BEEN WAITING 20 YEARS PLUS FOR THIS, EVER SINCE REPLACING THE ORIGINAL VINYL WITH CD,S, THE SMITHS HAVE NEVER SOUNDED QUITE RIGHT EVER SINCE, SO I GOT RATHER EXCITED BY THIS HUGE SET WHEN ADVERTISED ON RHINO.

SO FIRSTLY , IT IS HUGE! TAKES UP A LOT OF FLOOR SPACE , AND LOOKS BEAUTIFUL! INSIDE , ALL THE REMASTERED CDS, AND ALL THE VINYL ALBUMS ("RANK" SPLIT INTO A DOUBLE ALBUM, AS IS "THE WORLD WONT LISTEN" WHICH ALSO GAINS 2 EXTRA TRACKS, "MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING" AND "GOLDEN LIGHTS",)(WHICH NOW CLOSES THE ALBUM INSTEAD OF "RUBBER RING", BIT OF A DOWNER THAT! AS THE ORIGINAL CLOSER IS ONE OF THE ALL TIME BESTS, AND "GOLDEN LIGHTS" IS ONE OF THE SMITHS WORST TRACKS) AND..

...25 VINYL SINGLES, INCLUDING LOTS OF FOREIGN IMPORTS ETC, SOME OF WHICH ARE ON LOVELY WHITE VINYL, AND "SHOPLIFTERS" IS ON CLEAR VINYL, WITH "THE DRAIZE TRAIN" TUCKED AWAY ON A FLIP WHICH SHOULD HAVE REPLACED "GOLDEN LIGHTS" ON "THE WORLD WONT LISTEN".

THE BOOKLET ENCLOSED IS A BIT LIGHT WEIGHT, AND NEEDED A MORE THOROUGH OVERVIEW OF ONE OF OUR GREATEST EVER BANDS.

THE REMASTERING HOWEVER IS A STRANGE ONE. "DONE BY JOHNNY MARR" ALL OVER THE ADVERTS, ON THE STICKERS ETC, BUT ACCORDING TO THE BOOK DONE BY SOMEONE ELSE WHO ALSO DID THE SMITHS SINGLES BOX 2 YEARS AGO.

AND THE RESULTS ARE A BIT MIXED , THE VINYL SUITING THE MORE ACOUSTIC STUFF, AND THE CD THE ROCKIER SONGS, WITH "THE QUEEN IS DEAD" FINALLY SOUNDING AS IT SHOULD, BUT "CEMETRY GATES" LOSING ALL ITS WARMTH ON CD.

I BROUGHT A TURNTABLE PURELY FOR THIS RELEASE AND AM NOW HAPPLIY SPINNING THE DECKS TO THIS MOST PERFECT OF BANDS.

WORTH "230?, FOR ME YES, AS I WORSHIP THE GROUND MORRISSEY WALKS ON, AND AS I NOTICED ITS ALREADY SOLD OUT ON AMAZON, I THINK IT IS LIKELY TO BE A SOUND INVESTMENT, NOT THAT I'D EVER SELL.(DESPITE WHAT I TELL THE WIFE) AND THE SHEER SIZE AND SCALE OF IT IS A SIGHT TO MAKE EVEN THE MOST HARDENED OF COLLECTORS DO A DOUBLE TAKE.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time to collect dust?, 31 Oct 2011
By 
This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
My box set arrived, with a small dent in one carner last week.

I have had time to listen to and appreciate the remastered albums and they work done here is 5 stars all 'round.

This box set could have and should have been so much better. There is nothing new in the way of demo/live/out-take material the the DVD comes in a dreadful card slip sleeve, which makes me feel like it was an 11th hour idea to add the videos. Could there not have been a DVD of live material and interviews?

If you are looking for something extra special here then you will be left short changed. If you want a massive oversized box that will look pretty then this is for you.

I've been a dedicated Smiths/Morrissey fan since 1992 and I guess I had more expectations for such a massive release.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of moneyyy!!!!, 4 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I am a huge Smiths fan and see little point in this ridiculously priced, unecessary box set!
The re-mastered vinyls are NOTHING in comparison to the originals
I managed to get every Smiths LP for less than 100 and the sound quality is unbeatable
you can't get better than the original 80's records.
I implore you to seek out the original Smiths stuff and save yourself a lot of money!!!!!
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sounds good, looks poor, 5 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
to spend over []quid on basically the same thing in 4 different formats in one box, you expect good attention to detail.
the printing is awful, the vinyl, cd and print, all of which have the same image are printed differently and badly to each other and not true to the originals.
and the hand in glove 7" is terrible.

the CD versions also make that age old record company mistake of making everything on the vinyl the same size pro'd down, so you can't read anything, do it in the style but redesign for the different size for christ sake.
of course the barcode, which is surely unnecessary, is CD size, so huge in comparrison.

very shoddy.

i trust marr to have done a good job on the remastering, but if moz signed off on the printing, i would be shocked, not to his high standards at all, not to any standard.

very poor.

"best of, most of, satiate the need, slip them into different sleeves, buy both and feel decieved"

and to rub salt in the wound, amazon have just lowered the price, 2 days after release.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Smiths - Collectors box set - CD/LP/7, 4 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Remastering by J.Marr Esq is excellent for CDs. But.....

Nobody much interested in vinyls(12"/7") these days. So not possible to verify sound quality of this format for heavy grade virgin vinyl LPs. No cassettes of all 8 albums either.

Artwork pictures superfluous. mp3 downloadable files an extra bonus but why.?

Box is flat-horizontal (so all vinyls lie flat - not good idea) so vinyl fans may encounter problems with warped vinyl in years to come. But no special note from Warners(Rhino) to offer storage advice to avoid warp problems later on.

Strictly speaking recommended to only those fans who must abs own everything by Smiths. Mine is box no 1844/4000.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Paint a Vulgar Picture, 3 Dec 2011
By 
Confuseius (Virtual Space) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Complete Smiths: Collector's Edition [VINYL] (Vinyl)
OK, so a gigantic Smiths boxed-set, right?

Let me just quote some of the lyrics of "Paint a Vulgar Picture"

[...]
Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package!
Re-evaluate the songs
Double-pack with a photograph
Extra Track (and a tacky badge)
[...]

The whole point of The Smiths (and other 80's indie bands in a certain bracket) is everything that this boxed-set is not.

Does anyone know if this set was produced with, or without, the blessing of the band?

I'm aghast, frankly.
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