The Sound Of The Smiths
REVIEW BY: Kenny S. McGuane
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/12/2008
Ah, geez. Another Smiths compilation? Why?
My God, between Hatful Of Hollow, Louder Than Bombs, The Best Of The Smiths (Volumes I and II), and their Singles collection, it would seem that the powers that be have exhausted all efforts to convince record buyers to spend MORE money on Smiths compilations that they don’t really need…or will ever listen to.
Alas, Rhino’s newest compilation The Sound Of The Smiths is an utterly necessary buy. Do yourself a favor, too; don’t buy the single disc version, buy the deluxe version. Disc one is superfluous, yes, containing all the usual: “Hand In Glove,” “This Charming Man,” “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” “Panic,” and on and on and on. But because it’s now 2008 and The Smiths have been defunct for over twenty years, The Sound Of The Smiths serves as a definitive collection without some of the holes contained on previous compilations; holes that were necessary because Morrissey and Marr had not yet finished churning out their unforgettable, guitar-driven, melodramatic, and musical landscape-changing pop gems.
There are two features that make the two-disc deluxe version of The Sound Of The Smiths so very special and an absolute must-have for even the casual listener: 1) Every single song, under the close supervision of Johnny Marr himself, has been immaculately restored and re-mastered, this is The Smiths as you’ve never heard them before, and 2) Disc two features some fascinating live cuts (“Handsome Devil,” “Meat Is Murder,” “London,” and “What’s The World”) and some hard to get a hold of B-sides (“Jeane,” “Wonderful World,” “Money Changes Everything,” and the New York Vocal version of “This Charming Man”). To top it all off, the packaging for the set is gorgeous and it features album artwork from many of the band’s singles and a high-gloss booklet loaded with beautiful photos of The Smiths during their heyday as the most important band making music on the planet.
Sure there’s a tendency for music critics to give The Smiths their unwavering and perpetual stamp of approval -- after all, some have argued that The Queen Is Dead is the best and most important pop album of all time (that’s right, better even than Rubber Soul). But Rhino Records, with the help of Morrissey and Marr, have done an especially outstanding job with The Sound Of The Smiths. It’s the best Smiths compilation to date; it’s where any newcomer ought to start. This is the Smiths collection that shall carry us through the next century; it’s that comprehensive and it’s simply that good.
So even if you knew we would, The Daily Vault’s slappin’ this set with an A.