Review Summary: A nice collection from one of the greatest pop rock bands ever
Last week I reviewed the companion piece to this compilation album, Best... I
. To briefly reiterate, The Smiths as a band released quite a bit of material that was never included on any of their studio albums. There are some other good Smiths comps out there, including Hatful of Hollow
(1984) and Louder Than Bombs
(1987) to help you catch up with some of these tracks. However, I've always been partial to this two-album set, which was released by Warner in 1992 right after they bought the rights to the band's back catalog.
Like Best... I
, there are 14 tracks on this album. Five of them are in that category of Never Released on a Studio Album, while the other nine include some The Smiths' best and most famous songs.
The five non-studio-album tracks comprise three A-sides and two B-sides. The A-sides include two of their very best, "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", which hit # 10 on the UK Singles Chart, and "Ask", which hit # 14. The third, "Shakespeare's Sister", only got as high as # 26. The B-sides include a really tasty (and atypical) instrumental number, "Oscillate Wildly", and "Girl Afraid", which was the B-side for "Heaven Knows...".
As for the previously released album tracks, they include a smorgasbord of Smiths treats, including "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out", "Bigmouth Strikes Again" and "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side", plus "The Headmaster Ritual" (from Meat Is Murder
), "Reel Around the Fountain" (from The Smiths
), and "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" (from Strangeways, Here We Come
I doubt we'll ever see The Smiths get back together again. Even thirty years later, the acrimony between the various band members (especially the two songwriters, singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr) still seems to be too intense. Which is all the more reason to treasure the full discography (and not just the studio albums) of this great pop rock band.