The Smiths
Strangeways, Here We Come


3.0
good

Review

by JAD USER (11 Reviews)
August 23rd, 2007 | 16 replies | 3,976 views


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Smith's followed up a classic with a decidedly uneven, but ocasionally brilliant swansong.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Its always surprised me that both Morrissey and Johnny Marr name Strangeways Here We Come as there favorite Smiths album. Perhaps they feel the need to help people remember it, because following their legendary The Queen is Dead, it certainly has its work cut out for it doing that. The album certainly has its charms, though, and several of its songs have gone to be staples of Morrissey’s solo sets. When the album is at its very best, it seems like it should rank with the Smiths best, but it also offers a good chunk of dull tracks that hamper it from becoming the classic it could be. Chances are, it would have ended up a transitional album, had The Smiths not broken up as it was completed.

The albums opener “Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours” is loaded with a steady harpsichord riff, marimba, and absolutely no guitar. Despite this, it features one Morrissey’s most memorable melodies, and offers a vivid snapshot into The Smiths that could have been. There are several other clear highlights that crop up later in the album. The classic Smith’s jangle of “Girlfriend in Coma” and “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before”, the later of which features some Johnny Marr's best guitar work, show Morrissey at his very best with lines like “There were times when I could have murdered her/but you know I’d hate anything to happen to her” or “I still love you, oh I still love you/only slightly less than I used to. And the dirge “Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me” comes close to replicating the epochal heights of “I Know Its Over.” The simple closer, “I Won’t Share You”, with lyrics almost certainly about Morrissey and Marr’s split, can also rank among the two songwriter's best.

Unfortunately, the great heights those songs reach replicated by some true stinkers. The glam-esque “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish” is a step in the wrong in the wrong direction for the band to have taken with its painfully synthesized saxophone and bland guitar riffs. On “Unhappy Birthday”, Morrissey comes off as little more than a parody of himself. “Paint a Vulgar Picture” would have been pretty great, if it was possible not to cringe at a band railing against a long gone band turning out useless best of compilations, when they would soon be doing just that. They even take another ill-fated dive in rockabilly on “Death at Ones Elbow.”

All this certainly doesn’t add up to a bad album. Strangeways Here We Come is eventually just good. But it certainly isn’t solid. While many albums who receive the rating I’m giving this one may earn it by turning out an album of generally good-but-not-great songs, Strangeways gives some true classics with some true missteps. It would’ve made a killer EP, or an interesting transitional work. And yet, its still vintage Smiths, right down to the title which consists of an amalgam of an infamous prison and a quote from an old British art film.



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user ratings (608)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (4)
A rush and a push and retirement is ours...

STOP SHOUTING! (4)
Morrissey's love letter to Johnny Marr....

Amanda Murray STAFF (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
August 23rd 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, but while this album does suffer from inconsistency, I don't think it's as severe as you make out. Only "Unhappy Birthday" is truly bad, the last two are just mediocre. I like everything else.

pulseczar
August 23rd 2007



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their best album.

The Jungler
August 23rd 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this album, but I probably listen to it least out of all the Smiths records I own. Good review.This Message Edited On 08.23.07

JAD
August 23rd 2007



200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm surprised some many people like this album so much, but to each his own.

tribestros
August 23rd 2007



918 Comments


Girlfriend in a Coma is a cool song, so is Stop Me...

This album is good, but The Queen is Dead and Meat is Murder are better.

Kaleid
August 23rd 2007



710 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Short n' sweet

The death knell was sounding, but it still has some great tracks. Girlfriend In A Coma is great obviously, but I actually think I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish is pretty good too

descendents1
August 23rd 2007



702 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree with the review and the rating. I think people enjoy this too much. Morissey puts people in a trance.

FR33L0RD
August 24th 2007



1461 Comments


I liked "The smith" back in the mid-80's when i was at University.It was cool back back in those days

Iai
Emeritus
August 24th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No way is Meat better than this.This Message Edited On 08.24.07

tom79
August 24th 2007



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, first half definitely is stronger. HoH and TQID are better though.

Digging: Rainer Maria - Look Now Look Again

Two-Headed Boy
August 24th 2007



4527 Comments


Still need to get this.

I bought a Smiths poster a couple days ago. :cool:

JohnXDoesn't
August 25th 2007



1267 Comments


i like this album. nice and lush. underrated by some poopty peoples

descendents1
August 25th 2007



702 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No way is Meat better than this.


I think Meat is way better than this! I think "How Soon is Now" is better than any 3 songs put together on Strangeways. BAM! Maybe that was a stretch but I'm at a loss for making a point.

JohnXDoesn't
August 25th 2007



1267 Comments


this is a fine recording. last night i dreamt that somebody loved me is incredible. death of a disco dancer, too. great guitar work by marr there. this album deserves much love.

Zebra
Moderator
August 26th 2007



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Smiths are just one of those bands that I can't really get into. They have a handful of excellent songs but none of their albums really connected me.

JAD
August 28th 2007



200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey, thanks for all the comments and such.This Message Edited On 08.28.07



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