Monday, 18 July 2011

#440 - "Strangeways, Here We Come" - The Smiths

Released On:  Rough Trade, 1987

Johnny Marr's primary songwriting influence for this album was The Beatles, and it's just those sort of slow, druggy atmospheres that are all over moments like the epic coda of "Death Of A Disco Dancer".  As the last album the band ever released it is something of a disappointment; the band was beginning to break away from the sound that it had perfected on The Queen Is Dead but we will never know where they might have gone to had they not worked themselves to the breaking point.  Lead single "Girlfriend In A Coma" is really the only nod to their previous music.  Elsewhere throughout, there is an emphasis on a sort of piano-led Morrissey-driven bombast that is best exemplified by "Death Of A Disco Dancer" and "Last Night I Dreamr That Somebody Love Me".  Lyrically the album is haunted by the specter of death; people die, people contemplate murder, the death of the band is even foreshadowed in "Paint A Vulgar Picture".  This is, of course, really the only way to possibly end The Smiths - a band of such exquisitely dark snark can only end in theatrical bloodbath.  Interestingly, all four former members count the album as their favourite.

Where You'd Know It From:  "Girlfriend In A Coma" is a favourite of retro clubs and radio shows.  The album also went to #2 in the UK (#55 in the U.S.).



Track Listing:
1.  A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours (3:00)
2.  I Started Something I Couldn't Finish (3:47)
3.  Death Of A Disco Dancer (5:26)
4.  Girlfriend In A Coma (2:03)
5.  Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before (3:32)
6.  Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Love Me (5:03)
7.  Unhappy Birthday (2:46)
8.  Paint A Vulgar Picture (5:35)
9.  Death At One's Elbow (2:01)
10.  I Won't Share You (2:48)

("Girlfriend In A Coma")

("Death Of A Disco Dancer")

("I Started Something I Couldn't Finish")

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