Strangeways, Here We Come Review

artist: The Smiths date: 02/09/2015 category: compact discs
The Smiths: Strangeways, Here We Come
Released: Sep 28, 1987
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Label: Rough Trade, Sire
Number Of Tracks: 10
"Strangeways, Here We Come" has been described as an album frozen in time due to The Smiths imminent split, meaning fans were denied the opportunity to hear the songs live. It is generally celebrated as a triumphant swansong.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 8
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overall: 8.3
Strangeways, Here We Come Reviewed by: benthegrunge, on february 09, 2015
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: "Strangeways, Here We Come" has been described as an album frozen in time due to The Smiths imminent split, meaning fans were denied the opportunity to hear the songs live; tracks like "Girlfriend in a Coma," "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" and "Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me" nonetheless became favourites, and "Strangeways" is generally celebrated as a triumphant swansong.

Production quality evolved between the debut and "Strangeways," as Marr felt the band should branch out sonically. This materialized in huge, sweeping string sections in "Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me," reverberant arena drums, pianos, synths and the glitchy, gothic "Death of a Disco Dancer," which sounds like "Dear Prudence" fornicated with "Bela Lugosi's Dead." As unorthodox as the band was, occasionally their musical lineage shows, such as how the rock n roll guitar posturings of "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish" form a bridge between the vintage era and the supersonic '90s - however, The Smiths blend was so stunningly fresh that even if you could analyse and trace pieces, their whole is something that stands alone. I love how Marr's solo is tastefully cut to a fade-out on "Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me," however I don't think this is the best album to showcase his guitar riffing; whereas Marr's guitar previously formed whole tapestries, "Strangeways" tends towards greater multi-instrumentalism. // 8

Lyrics: "Unhappy Birthday" continues in the vein of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," rendering harsh truths of the human condition so starkly it appears as p-ss-take novelty. In "I Won't Share You," Morrissey again explores the folly of the romantic relationship and it's lack of congeniality with freedom, and cannot resist a sarcastic reference to the band's straightedge identity, "has the Perrier gone to my head, or is life sick and cruel instead?" In terms of what's new, "Strangeways" will obviously be listened to through the lens of being their final album before a nasty split, and didn't disappoint critics who combed for clues of dissatisfaction. "Paint a Vulgar Picture" does just that, forecasting a debasing future at the hands of the music industry: "at the record company meeting, on their hands - a dead star, and oh the plans they weave, and oh the sickening greed." // 9

Overall Impression: All the Smithsian staples are here; the shuffle and chime of Marr's crystalline Rickenbacker chords, Morrissey's deadpan delivery and a contrastingly jovial, life-affirming rhythm section, just to be extra inappropriate. I maintain that this band had one of the best rhythm sections in rock history, and would argue that "Strangeways," even by Smiths standards, pushed the envelope for apprehensive, melancholic and soul-bearing moods, particularly in the picked minor chords and doomy orchestral stabs of "Last Night I Dreamt..." - this is certainly a song doubters should listen to, however "Strangeways" overall might not be the best record to turn beginners onto The Smiths. // 8

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