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Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal
Price: £9.76

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Album Filled With Morrissey Classics, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Your Arsenal (Audio CD)
The reason that Your Arsenal stands among Morrissey's best records is because there is not one single dull track on here. It is another rockablilly effort like Kill Uncle, although Your Arsenal is much richer and stronger than its predecessor.

The opener, You Gonna Need Someone On Your Side is a blazing opener, announcing Morrissey's return since the mediocre Kill Uncle and the following, Glam Rock of Glamourous Glue only adds to this effect. We'll Let You Know, apparently advocating football hooliganism, is a mellower track. It turns darker at the end and the celtic-esque flute in the outro is a spectacular ending.

With The National Front Disco, the sound turns again to the fast paced rockabilly sound. This is probably my favourate track on the record. Cetain People I Know is a nice winding down after the bleating of National Front. It is a pleasent, catchy tune and Morrissey's lyrics really make this the great song that it is, which continues with We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful. Really love it when Morrissey 'laughs' on that track.

You're The One For Me, Fatty, another catchy, quite pop-sounding track that is packed with Morrissey's trademark humour and sarcasm. This upbeat song is followed by the most downbeat, yet highly beautiful Seasick Yet Still Docked. It is a very bleak ballad, contrasting to the following, more hopeful sounding I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday.

The final Tommorrow returns to the rockabilly sound and provides a blasting finale to this giant of an album.

I think it is with Your Arsenal that Morrissey really proves that he does not need Johnny Marr in order to make a great record, because Your Arsenal for me, surpasses much of The Smiths canon by far and is one of Morrissey's most upbeat and consistant records out of his discography.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2013 9:54 PM BST

Kill Uncle
Kill Uncle
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.97

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, but still it is no masterpiece, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Kill Uncle (Audio CD)
There's always been much negativity surrounding this album, most likely because it is a poor follow up to Viva Hate and in hindsight, the following album, Your Arsenal surpasses it by far. However, in its own right this is a good album and one that I found quite accessible. The sound of this album is quite mellow and soft, making it a good album to listen to casually or when relaxing.

Our Frank is the single of the time. It is a classic Morrissey track and features over-dubs, something that Morrissey barely used, giving it a unique feel to it. Asian Rut is another track that lead to racist accusasions, but again, all you have to do is listen to the track and the tone of Morrissey's voice to realise that it is not. Also, the eiree strings in the track are quite atmospheric.

Sing Your Life had a prior, more rockabilly version that was far punchier than this, subdued version, yet that doesn't mean that this version is terrible. Mute Witness contains a nice piano piece and is a stand-out piece from the album. The following King Leer also contains a piano, creating a kind of hotel lounge or tea room feel, which I really liked. The lyrics in that track are also humorously tragic. Found Found Found is a rock track that seems somewhat out of place, yet it is nice to have a short blast of energy before the return to the subdued sound of Driving Your Girlfriend Home, which reminds me of a mellower version of King Leer.

The Harsh Truth of The Camera Eye contains some strong lyrics, weird music and vocal delivery, but is quite good. Unfortunately, the outro drags on too long and the music starts to get quite dull.

The penultimate track, (I'm) The End Of The Familiy Line is an ode to either loneliness, asexuality or homosexuality, but whatever you apply it to, it is a song full of meaning and has a fade out reminiscent of The Smiths days. I really enjoyed this song, which was sung full of meaning and again, a standout track. The closer, There Is A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends, is another gentle number, which is a great way of ending the album. It also stands as one of Morrissey's best songs from this era.

I would have to say to view this album as an experimentation, or side project rather than view it in comparison to the other albums, because in its own right, Kill Uncle is a nice little album in Morrissey's discography.

Viva Hate
Viva Hate
Offered by musicMagpie
Price: £4.68

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Underrated Masterpiece in the Wake Of The Smiths, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Viva Hate (Audio CD)
Because of the iconic reputation that The Smiths had, it was obvious that whatever Morrissey did next he would be slated for it. However, Viva Hate resembles a fresh sound and a change in direction for Morrissey. As I mentioned in a review of Strangeways, Here We Come, The Smiths always had the same sort of sound, which they then refined from album to album. With The Queen Is Dead and Strangeways, The Smiths had reached their creative peak and I don't think they could have refined their work into anything new. However, the break-up of the band lead Morrissey to create his own sound that is somewhat similar, but entirely different from The Smiths.

The opening track Alsation Cousin contains some great guitar work and Morrissey's voice and lyrics are still strong. Little Man, What Now is a good track, and a nice transition into the epic Every Day Is Like Sunday. That song should really have been a bigger hit than it was, for Morrissey's voice really soars and the inclusion of strings was a clear change from his previous sound. In addition, the song was incredibly lush and sent shivers down my spine when I heard it.

Bengali In Platforms, while slated for being racist, I always found was a compassionate number addressing the difficulties that immigrants face. The whole "life is hard enough when you belong here" racist thing is a joke. It is a blunt, yet truthful statement and of course somebody who has an entirely different way of life and culture doesn't belong in a completely opposing culture. That is common sense. I really liked the song anyway.

The strings return into the drmatically short, cinematic ballad, Angel, Down We Go Together. It is a standout track and a great way to introduce the following, dramatically long, epic ballad that is Late Night Maudlin Street. For me, Maudlin Street is Morrissey's strongest lament since I Know It's Over, and they are both equally matched in their various strengths.

Suedehead follows and is the highest charting single from this album. I like the opening guitar, especially the jangly sound that reminises the sound of The Smiths without replicating it too exactly. Break Up The Family is for me, the weakest track, perhaps just because it has to be great to follow up Maudlin Street and Suedehead, and it just isn't great enough.

The Ordinary Boys I have noticed, often gets slated, but I think it has a great message for outsiders and Morrissey's voice is wonderful in this track. I Don't Mind If You Forget Me is a catchy, throwaway number, but it is a good listen and probably the most upbeat song on the album. Dial-A-Cliché is a lush sounding number and starts winding the album down towards the closing track, Margaret on The Guilotine. The final track shows Morrissey's most biting lyrics and the instrumental outro is a wonderful, smooth exit to the album, cut short with the sound of a guilotine. That sound actually made me jump a little when I first heard it.

As I said before, this is a rejuvinated album that stands just as strong as anything that The Smiths did. The reason this album works is because of the split. All four members regard the making of Strangeways as the highpoint of their carreer. If it all stayed happy like this, there wouldn't have been the tension in the band that lead to the creation of such great records. Therefore, Viva Hate is by far a superior album to anything that would have been made had the Smiths not split, because it was born out of a very tense and hard time for Morrissey, as he knew he needed to prove himself or lose his carreer and thankfully, he made it.

Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £6.03

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Live Albums I've Ever Heard!, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Rank (Audio CD)
I've always been a fan of Live Albums, especially live albums of bands and singers that it is impossible to see live for whatever reason. The only negative to this album is that there are certain parts of it that were cut, such as the on stage banter and certain songs that were performed at the concert that were not included here for whatever reason. However, those set backs don't detrect from the fact that the sound quality of this album is great. I have several bootlegs of The Smiths live and the quality of this albums surpasses those by far.

Louder Than Bombs
Louder Than Bombs
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £8.23

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Strongest Compilation by The Smiths, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Louder Than Bombs (Audio CD)
Out of all of The Smiths' compilation albums, I think Louder Than Bombs is the best. It doesn't contain album tracks like The World Won't Listen and Hateful of Hollow; in addition in contains nearly all of the tracks from The World Won't Listen plus more.

From the perspective of someone who wants a listenable album, Louder Than Bombs doesn't work because it might be too long for some and the track listing isn't as carefully laid out as it is on other albums, although the songs here are really some of the band's best.

Overall this is a worthwhile buy for people who do not want to waste their money buying singles in CD format, because all of the B-Sides from the latter half of The Smiths' carreer are here. A worthwhile purchase.

The World Won't Listen
The World Won't Listen
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Redundant As You Might Think, 18 July 2012
This review is from: The World Won't Listen (Audio CD)
Because of Louder than bombs, this compilation seems a bit pointless, nearly all of the tracks on here are on Louder Than Bombs. However, this contains an alternate version of Stretch Out And Wait, which is the better version of the two. In addition, I think that the track listing here, being shorter and more carefully structured, makes for a better listen than Louder Than Bombs. In terms of completing one's collection, Louder Than Bombs is better as it has these songs plus more. However, if you are wanting to introduce yourself to The Smiths, this album proves a better listen. The only downside to this is the instrumental, Money Changes Everything. It is the weakest of all of the instrumental; Oscillate Wildly and The Draize Train are so much better.

Hatful Of Hollow
Hatful Of Hollow
Price: £6.67

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up There With The Studio Albums, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Hatful Of Hollow (Audio CD)
I have never seen the point of singles. You get only three songs and have to change discs every ten minutes. So compilation albums like this are the only way for me to get B-Sides and Singles that weren't included on the albums. I am glad that The Smiths released this otherwise I would never have such treasures as Handsome Devil, Please, Let Me Get What I Want, These Things Take Time, Back To The Old House and all of the others. I think it is definately true that The Smiths really cared about making quality B-Sides as oppose to just including pathetic remixes of the single or truly weak, low quality demos.

In addition to this, you get songs from the debut album, but most of them are far superior here than on The Smiths. The only song where I prefer the album version is You've Got Everything Now, because on Hateful it sounds too messy and shambolic. However, it is still an interesting take on the other version. Another oddity is the acoustic sounding version of This Charming Man. Again, it is an interesting take although the single does surpass it.

I think Hateful of Hollow ranks as one of The Smiths' best compilation albums, with only Louder Than Bombs surpassing it.

The Queen Is Dead
The Queen Is Dead
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rightful classic in The Smiths Discography, 18 July 2012
This review is from: The Queen Is Dead (Audio CD)
I have given this album five stars, though it isn't my favourite as I prefer their debut and Strangeways. However, the only Smiths album I wouldn't give a five was Meat Is Murder, because of the poor track listing. The Queen Is Dead however, is wonderfully and carefully listed for the most part and contains some of their must uplifting songs ever. People that pass this off as depressing clearly don't get The Smiths.

The title track is a great rock anthem that I initially loathed, but soon grew to appreciate as an excellent song. The following Frankly, Mr Shankly was the second Smiths song that I heard and the one that really hooked me. It is funny and pretty much anybody can relate to it.

I Know It's Over is my favourite of all of The Smiths ballads. I love the opening baseline and how the music slowly builds up to the shattering climax of the song. Morrissey is at his vocal best here and he is really meaning every word that he says. And though people might pass this off as depressing, the build of the song and it always uplifts me. Never Had No One Ever is a dark song, but I always found it quite creepy, perhaps a flip side to the previous track.

Cemetry Gates is a clever dig at critics, but also a touching depiction of Morrissey's friendship with Linder Sterling. It is a witty highlight of the album. Bigmouth Strikes Again is another witty track, full of humour that makes me wonder how people can pass this album off as depressing. The only track where Morrissey really moans is The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, but Marr's music counters this to make the song uplifting. Again, though the song is about the music industry, anyone who feels overlooked and neglected by their superiors can relate to the song.

Vicar In A Tutu is fast paced tune and while quite weak, is likable and funny. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out has always been regarded as one of The Smiths classic, iconic songs. I really love this song, though I wish Morrissey would stop overplaying it in his concerts. People who think this is depressing because of the references to suicide only need read the title to know that this song is not meant to be depressing at all.

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others is a nice way to round off the album after There Is A Light. Morrissey's lyrics are okay, but it is more of a musical piece than anything. I also really like the fade out at the beggining, apparantly done to create the effect of a door closing, and then opening.

So yes, for me this is an outstanding record by an outstanding band and after writing this view, I have realised even more just how uplifting the songs on here actually are. To all those who pass of the Smiths and Morrissey as depressing and miserable, stop listening to judgemental bigoted critics and actually listen to the music.

Meat Is Murder
Meat Is Murder
Price: £6.65

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Couple of Duds But Overall a Strong Effort, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Meat Is Murder (Audio CD)
In comparison to the other albums by The Smiths, Meat Is Murder ranks (for me) as their weakest effort. This isn't because the songs a bad, it is just because it doesn't really have the flow that the other three albums had. There is no single musical or lyrical theme that gives consistancy to the album. Also, there is the inclusion of some tracks that are just not very good.

The opener, Headmaster's Ritual is an example of Johnny Marr's best work. In addition, the rythm section is tight and strong, atop of Morrissey's strong vocal delivery it seems to make for a classic, but it never reaches it. Rusholme Ruffians is a great, Rockabilly track with another good performance from all members, but it doesn't quite flow properly from the opener, just like it doesn't flow into I Want The One I Can't Have. I Want The One I Can't Have is a highlight for me, but the following What She Said, took a while for me to appreciate. (I only started to like it after hearing it on 'Rank.')

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore is a stunning number, but again the music contrast awkwardly with the prior track. Nowhere Fast is a wonderfully strong, witty number and sets a certain pace, which the following track Well I Wonder, counters. Well I Wonder is itself a great track and a guitar masterpiece. I think however, it might have worked more effectively if placed better.

We then come to the only true failure on the album, which is Barbarism Begins At Home. It has a great funky rythm and though the lyrics are basicially about three different sentances repeated over and over, it kind of works. The failure lies in the length of the track, which is just too long. I like long songs, but they need to have some good, alternating hooks, rather than the same thing over and over.

I think the final track, Meat Is Murder should have been preceded by Well I Wonder instead of Barbarism, because again the two tracks don't flow well, especially as they are both rather long. Meat Is Murder however, is an example of a strong, long song. The sounds of the animals is a nice dramatic effect, the lyrics and Morrissey's voice are really heartfelt, showing that he really cares about what he is singing, something also reflected in the playing of the music. It is a great ending to the album overall.

To conclude, I have to say that while the majority of songs on this album are great, it could have been structered a lot better. In addition, I think that Barbarism should have been a B-Side, or shortened at the very least, as it really pulls the album down.

The Smiths
The Smiths
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £5.80

5.0 out of 5 stars A Five Star Debut!, 18 July 2012
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
I've found that a lot of people aren't keen on this album because of the production and I will admit that it could have been done better. The album feels incredibly subdued, although for me that doesn't ruin it and the inclusion of This Charming Man really works to brighten the otherwise bleak debut.

Out of all the Smiths Albums including compilations, it is this one that I play the most. I think it is their most consistently strong record of all. Reel Around The Fountain has always been a favourite of mine, and the duller drums and piano on this version add more beauty than the version on Hateful of Hollow, although Morrissey's voice does sound better there. You've Got Everything Now was another track that I've always liked, but the following Miserable Lie is very unnaccessable. I hated that song, mostly because Morrissey hasn't perfected his falsetto and it marrs the track a little, but it grew on me in the end.

Pretty Girls Make Graves is a good track, both musically and lyrically, providing a backstory (in my opinion) to Hand In Glove. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is as stunning as Reel Around the Fountain, and I always found it an uplifting song about fatherhood, as oppose to the darker interpritations of it by critics.

The strongest tracks on the album arrive in a delightful clump. There are the two classics, This Charming Man and Hand In Glove, the latter being a sadly overlooked track these days. Between these is Still Ill, which for me is Morrissey at his lyrical best, as well as Marr delivering a great musical performance.

I never understood why Morrissey hated What Difference Does It Make? I like the track, particularly the music and the rythm work of Rourke and Joyce. I Don't Owe You Anything is a nice track, but the weakest on the album (not meaning that it is at all bad) and Suffer Little Children ranks as one of the most haunting tracks of the Smiths entire catalogue.

Overall, this is a strong first album which needs more attention because it is a much more personal, meaningful album than the highly praised Queen Is Dead.

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