I don't have it as a rule, but I have tended to steer away from complications on this blog. Not because I don't use them or like them - sometimes you just want the supposed star tracks or an odds n' sods collection can be better than some main albums from artists. But I thought I would break this written duck with an album that has a special place in my dark little heart with this little complication from the North West of England and The Smiths. Quite possibly one of the most important bands ever to come out of the UK (even if you do not like them, their place in the musical history of the UK is without question for good or bad). I can still remember purchasing this second hand in the local thrift shops with about £20 worth of CD's most of which I still have. This was a strange choice at the time as I was not really into Morrissey and had not heard much of The Smiths. But again, I played cover roulette so I took a shot and for £1 it was just a small chance that it might be good or a very nice coaster for my next can of beer.
This complication is made up of single releases, scrapped singles and b-sides from 1985-1986. This was when The Smiths were really loved by the press and their fans, but radio would not play them. The title was a reflection of Morrissey's frustration with the world and the feeling of contempt that he perceived was directed at the band. Now sometimes it is a bad idea for this type of release which is often blatant cash in by the band's record company to make money out of the fans. But what about the people who could not get the singles (for younger readers - ask you parents about this, you have missed a treat in the form of b-sides), the ones who missed those wonderful moments which are not available elsewhere. Whilst it might be an attempt to skin some fans more, it makes it easier for the rest of us to see what the fuss was about.
Musically it doesn't follow any sort of theme obviously, but the writing partnership of Johnny Marr and Morrissey has always been a strange one. Marr would right some fantastic riffs which are almost Summer in feel and Morrissey would come along and write "Unloveable". Seriously, when it comes to be ironic there is no great show of this than here with this group. You have songs like "Bigmouth Strikes Again" with its frantic rhythm and soul and Mozza talking about Joan of Arc and her burning walkman on the state. I always find it fascinating that they managed to get four albums out of the band as the tension was probably there from the outset with Mr Marr probably shaking his head but secretly loving it.
Now as complications go, this was slap bang in the middle of The Smiths most green period, when they just seemed to have the Midas touch and everything turns to gold. The quality on this album is unquestionable - "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", "Asleep", "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (my favourite track from the album and it so should have been a single), "Golden Lights" - I really could just quote every single song on here. There is not one moment which is of poor quality, as the band at the time was on top of their collective game. Are there better Smiths complications out there? Well, yes as there are others which cover their whole career, but if you are looking for a one off stop to see what the fuss is all about I would recommend starting here. The world might not have been able to listen at the time, but it should listen now.
8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
You can also purchase the original reissue here (for slightly cheaper at time of writing)
You can listen to it on Spotify here