The Smiths
Meat Is Murder


3.5
great

Review

by Amanda Murray STAFF
January 16th, 2005 | 538 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist


NOTE: This album is #295 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of All Time.

The Smiths had released their debut album The Smiths one year before, and had also released a collection of B-sides, BBC recordings, alternate tracks and such as Hatful of Hollow. Meat is Murder was their second album of all-new material (save "How Soon is Now?" which was also available on Hatful). The Smiths were gaining fame in England at the time of this album's release.

Their first album wasn't exactly a roaring success, but it is now recognized as a pillar of alt/indie music, one of the "required albums" of the genre. The album did sell fairly well though, and expectations were high for their second album. Some say they disappointed: Meat is Murder is commonly regarded as the Smiths' worst studio effort. While it is far from being a terrible record (it is actually quite impressive), it pales in comparison to the incredible potential displayed on their first album, which they finally lived up to with their third effort, The Queen is Dead. But despite not being their best album, Meat is Murder has some incredible strong points.

The Headmaster Ritual
This song begins with a draw out introduction, and while it isn't exactly boring, it is a little too much of a winding way to begin an album. Of course, when Morrissey's vocals kick in, the song picks up quite nicely. This is a tale of the headmaster at Morrissey's Manchester school, presumably. It has some plain lyrics (I want to go home/I don't want to stay), along with some rather humorous and "provocative" lyrics (he does the military two-step/Down the nape of my neck). A nice pop-indie song, no complaints. Musically, I would say it is superior to the Smiths, a signal that Marr was definitely developing his sounds. Morrissey was standard on the track.
4/5

Rusholme Ruffians
This song has a very poppy, "circus" feel. The bass line is very catchy, and this album features some of Rourke's best work. It is a tale of a fair, the lyrics tell the story quite well. Some people may be turned off by the music, but I find the lyrics to be genius. Morrissey is recognized as one of the better lyricists of our time, and this song is a great example of this.
Scratch my name on your arm with a fountain pen
This means, you really love me

This is just one of the many great lines found in this song.
4/5

I Want the One I Can't Have
This is an amazingly catchy song. Much shorter than the other two (only about 3 minutes long), it is a great pop-indie tune. This one seems to be about coming out of the closet (On the day that your mentality/catches up with your biology/Come round/Because I want the one I can't have), but the meaning has probably been disputed. The lyrics are excellent (If you ever need self-validation/just meet me in the alley by the railway station), the music is incredibly catchy, and it is an all around great song.
5/5

What She Said
This song has been noted for its similarities with the Beatles' song "She Said, She Said":
the Smiths:
What she said: "How come someone
Hasn't noticed That I'm dead?"


the Beatles:
she said: "I know what it's like to be dead"

Still, it is quite a great song. It features another one of Mozza's great lyrics (I smoke/because I'm hoping for an early death/and I need to cling to something), and another catchy Marr tune. Nothing to complain about here either.
5/5

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Another self-pitying Smiths song, the kind we have come to know and love. Many casual fans know this song, as it was on a few complations (such as Singles). A slowish song, with excellent lyrics. They are funny at times (You should know/time's tide with smother you/and I will too), and overall this is another great Smiths tune.
5/5

How Soon is Now?
This is perhaps the most well-known Smiths song, next to "There is a Light That Never Goes Out". It is quite a catchy song, the lyrics aren't stunning or anything, but they work with the song:
There's a club if you'd like to go
You could meet somebody
who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home
and you cry and you want to die.

I have trouble rating this song because I have heard it sooo many times that I now skip over it (it gets difficult to listen to the same riff for 7 minutes...), but if you are new to this song, it is quite a fun one to hear, and it certainly deserves its popularity.
5/5

Nowhere Fast
This is one of my favourite songs, lyrically. Moz is at his best with wittyness and humour in this song. It is a fast-paceed, high energy song... nothing to deep, just good fun.
I'd like to drop my trouser to the Queen
Every sensible child will know what this means

...and the song features one of my favourite lines of all time:
And when I'm lying in my bed
I think about life and I think about death
And neither one
particularly appeals to me

This guy is good, trust me.
4.5/5

Well I Wonder
This is perhaps one of the best Smiths songs around, certainly the most underrated in my opinion. The music is beautiful, and Morrissey soars vocally. Lyrically it isn't the best he has done, but it is far from the worst. He also shows off his newly-improved falsetto, which was more comical than talented on the first album. This is a beautiful song, I recommend everyone download it/buy it, whatever. It is excellent. At the end of the track, you can hear rain falling. I have been told that this is actually the sound of meat frying (ties in with album title and the song Meat is Murder), but I do not know if this is true.
5/5

Barbarism Begins at Home
This song is quite a catchy one, and it features what I would consider to be Rourke's best bassline. Incredibly catchy, Marr's guitar is funky, Morrissey's yelping is humorous, and it is an all together great song. They really stretch it out for the last couple minutes of the song, just playing the same riff over and over. Since it is such a catchy riff I can forgive them, but after a while I usually end up skipping to the next song. Despite that, it is a great tune.
4.5/5

Meat is Murder
This song takes a while to settle in, it starts of with various sound effects and animal noises. I find this song to be too over-induglent, it just doesn't work for me. During the middle of the song, when things have settle in, it is quite a good song. Morrissey's lyrics have a point, promoting vegetarianism (it's death for no reason/and death for no reason is murder), but the eccentricities and sound effects are too over the top, it just doesn't work for me.
2/5

Overall this is quite a good album. I gave rather high ratings to most song, and that is because I believe that individually they are great songs. But they don't really flow well together, so as an album it isn't as good. If you are new to the Smiths, I would start out with the Queen is Dead, move on to the Smiths, then Strangeways. If you've made it that far, you are sure to enjoy this album. But as a casual listener that isn't really into the Smiths, I'd go with other Smiths albums, this one isn't the best way to start.

Smith fans 4.5/5
Fans of genre 3.5/5
outside genre 2.5/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
morrissey
Moderator
December 7th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you very much. I would recommend starting with another album, but this is definitely one to check out if you like what you hear from other CDs. Good luck This Message Edited On 11.15.05

Iai
Emeritus
December 7th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Excellent review.

Meat Is Murder really disappointed me. I really don't think it even comes near what they achieved on any of their other albums, including Louder Than Bombs, Hatful Of Hollow, etc. It's the only Smiths album I wouldn't recommend to somebody. I agree with most of what you said, though the track-by-track ratings seemed worryingly high.

[quote=Kif]I've been wanting to get into The Smiths, and by the sounds of things this might be one to look out for. [/quote]
Did you actually read the review? :confused:

morrissey
Moderator
December 7th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[QUOTE=Iai]Excellent review.

Meat Is Murder really disappointed me. I really don't think it even comes near what they achieved on any of their other albums, including Louder Than Bombs, Hatful Of Hollow, etc. It's the only Smiths album I wouldn't recommend to somebody. I agree with most of what you said, though the track-by-track ratings seemed worryingly high.


Did you actually read the review? :confused:[/QUOTE]

Yeah, but I found that I actually liked each song on the album, and individually they are great songs. If I had a playlist of Smiths songs on shuffle, I wouldn't find these to be any worse than others. It is just that as an album, it doesn't work as well as the other ones. It is actually a really good album. But when you compare it with some of the amazing CDs the Smiths released (basically every one but this one...) it doesn't stand out.

surfkauai
December 7th 2004


30 Comments


[QUOTE=Kif]Fans of genre: 3.5/5

I didn't say I would run out and buy it instantly, I said I would look out for it.[/QUOTE]

Get The Queen is Dead or The Smiths first, much better albums.

morrissey
Moderator
December 9th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^^ agreed.

Any other comments/questions etc.?

MaidenEngland666
December 12th 2004


1 Comments


ya bonkas m8. need help.

morrissey
Moderator
December 12th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[QUOTE=MaidenEngland666]ya bonkas m8. need help.[/QUOTE]

do you really need to come in here too? I figured irritating the hell out of everyone in S&L was good enough for you.

Iai
Emeritus
January 3rd 2005


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Eagle-eyed me just spotted that this is on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums Ever list. It's #295.

Morrissey, if you would be so kind as to add a note in the main review....

morrissey
Moderator
January 3rd 2005


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how the hell did this make it onto the top albums of all time?? :amaze:

Ah well, will do.

Dimes Make Dollars
January 20th 2005


241 Comments


This isn't their worst album at all, despite popular belief. It beats Strangeways, Here We Come and I tend to listen to it more often than The Queen Is Dead.

morrissey
Moderator
January 21st 2005


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I definitely prefer Strangeways over this one, but I still love the album. I think it's biggest problem is that it isn't as accessible to new listeners as the other albums, if that makes sense.

morrissey
Moderator
November 15th 2005


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't believe I actually gave the TT 2/5. It's Godawful. In a bad way.

morrissey
Moderator
November 15th 2005


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is funny, seeing as I loathe track by track reviews now.

At least I write shitty cumulative reviews at present.

morrissey
Moderator
November 15th 2005


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been working on a George Michael review since August but it just isn't happening. I might try something else but all the good reviews are already done by people who know what they're talking about wiaus.



Two-Headed Boy
March 18th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, especially for a first one.
I've heard a ton about the Smiths, but haven't bothered to check them out.

NEDM
May 4th 2006


1113 Comments


I'm just getting into The Smiths and I think this is what I may be downloading. Great review Moz, especially because it was your first. My first ones are like baby teeth and yours are like pre-teen molars.

morrissey
Moderator
May 4th 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Don't start here. End here. You'll appreciate it more. Go with what Sylvia said.

NEDM
May 4th 2006


1113 Comments


Okay, thanks for that.

morrissey
Moderator
May 4th 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And thanks for the pre-teen compliment. XD

morrissey
Moderator
May 4th 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

your first reviews were like fucking fuck where as mine are more fuck fucking fuck I guess



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