George Starostin's Reviews



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Chris Rosario <> (24.06.2005)

The Smiths' debut is my favorite album of all-time. Brilliance, I say.

The music, I don't think anyway, is repetitive or samey at all. I think that's half the album's charm. "Reel Around the Fountain" is gorgeous! One of the few ballads of the 80s by a popular band on a popular album I can think of with successful keyboard overdubs and sounding authentic at the same time.

"You've Got Everything Now" is just fun. Falsettos, groovy bass, a rollicking chorus, can you not get much different from the previous? And I must say, "Miserable Lie" has to be one of the funniest songs I've heard. 50 seconds of a gloomy ballad on reflection and lost love...morphing into a New Wave piece of caricature and humour? Morrissey was making fun of himself before his persona was even established.

The album is about as drastic in difference as you can expect from a band who uses the same set of instruments for every song. Just one reason why I love it.

On the actual songs, it took me a while before they really integrated into my mind. I don't think I could remember a single song until about the fifth listen. I just knew that I thought it was interesting. Not to mention I despised The Queen Is Dead, and I wanted to like the band, and this album piqued my interest.

Needless to say, I give this album a 10/10.

And kind of as a side thing, this is how I would rate the Smiths on the scale for you.

Listenability: 4/5. Songs like "Meat Is Murder," "Never Had No One Ever," and "Work Is a Four-Letter-Word" drop this a point. Otherwise, it's all hooks!

Resonance: 4.5/5. One of the most important bands of the last 20 years. Morrissey's words are still as vital and alive as they were in 1984. Not to mention still as funny, witty, and smart. But songs like "I Won't Share You" are flimsy and fake. But on the other hand "Suffer Little Children"....

Originality: 3/5. Difficult to palette. They presented a new style, college rock along with REM and to a lesser extent the Bangles with their debut, but they didn't expand upon it as they could have. Minus the debut, nothing was "original."

Adequacy: 4/5. Not a bad album in their brief catalogue! But there's always one or two bad or lesser songs on each.

Diversity: 3.5/5. Jangly guitars and acoustics always reigned supreme with the Smiths. But give them props for using orchestral arrangements and the occasional brass section in their later years. Also keep in mind they touched on rockabilly, unique guitar effects, funk, and downright experimental songs.

Overall rating: 3.7.

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