The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow (Vinyl)

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Hatful of Hollow is a compilation album by English band The Smiths, released on 12 November 1984 by Rough Trade Records. The album features BBC Radio 1 studio recordings and two contemporary singles with their B-sides. It was released in the United States on 9 November 1993 by Sire Records, which had initially declined to release the album in the US. Sire instead released Louder Than Bombs in the US in 1987—which contains several of the same tracks as Hatful of Hollow—as well as The World Won’t Listen. When first broadcast, these radio sessions mainly featured songs which were otherwise unavailable—all were subsequently re-recorded for singles or for the following year's debut album. "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" was recorded in the studio in June 1984, but the only version ever released was the September Peel session.


Sleeve sticker says: 16 Tracks including 1983 John Peel & David Jensen show sessions, plus the hit singles "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" & "William, It Was Really Nothing".

Having dodged this album for a few years, (feeling in my teenage wisdom that the Smiths canon included four studio albums and being mostly content to let my exploration end there) I took a slow morning to give Hatful of Hollow a listen proper, I've fully realized the error of my ways.

It's no stretch of the imagination to say Sir Morrissey is not a popular character as of late. I'm still partial to his music, fitting into the broad, readily-stereotyped Latine coalition of unabashed Smiths fans, but that the Moz man has revealed himself to be a a loathable prick from time to time is pretty expected for me given the content of his lyrics over the years. Regardless, to someone disillusioned for a good year or two by my previous streak of undying infatuation for everything the man touched, Hatful of Hollow is like an otherworldly nostalgia trip for me.

I can see now why this compilation album inexplicably earns such a top spot for so many RYM users; I can imagine that even to someone hearing this band for the first time therein, the virtuosic talent of Marr, Rourke, and Joyce in particular is clear by design. The selection of tracks here were clearly well curated – to the effect that now, in 2020, they feel even to a Smiths fan like what hearing Meat Is Murder or the s/t for the very first time on a hot summer evening must have felt like even back in '84. The compressed sense of simultaneous nostalgia and wonder is helped, in part, by the inclusion of several fantastic live studio takes (some of which I still hadn't heard until today), equally genius in composition but full of even more charisma and chutzpah from our humble frontman.

In the past I've often scoffed at the idea of seriously rating compilation or best-of albums on artistic merit alone, since most of the time the content within is already married to its source release, and doesn't necessarily warrant a second look on a new release. Hatful of Hollow, I see now, is so timeless because to most people of the CD generation and quite likely the streaming one today, this album is the Smiths. For so many people, the dreary poetry of Moz overlaying vibrant, twangy, or sombre backing instrumentation that will forever be so uniquely Smiths is quintessentially laid out in this exact release. And if there never is a day in which Morrissey's idiocy continues to undermine his artistic legacy, I'll take solace in the fact that we'll always have Hatful of Hollow to bring us back to the heyday of a short-lived legend.

By: thntwrng.

A1 William, It Was Really Nothing
A2 What Difference Does It Make?
A3 These Things Take Time
A4 This Charming Man
A5 How Soon Is Now?
A6 Handsome Devil
A7 Hand In Glove
A8 Still Ill
B1 Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
B2 This Night Has Opened My Eyes
B3 You've Got Everything Now
B4 Accept Yourself
B5 Girl Afraid
B6 Back To The Old House
B7 Reel Around The Fountain
B8 Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want

The radio session versions of songs are different from other studio recordings. Some of the major differences are:
• "What Difference Does It Make?" has heavier and more natural-sounding guitars than the version on The Smiths. It is also in a higher key than the version on The Smiths.
• "These Things Take Time" features bass that is more prominent and drums that are less controlled than in the version from the "What Difference Does It Make?" 12" single. Sliding guitar figures accompany the chorus.
• "This Charming Man" has softer and more upbeat vocals, guitars and even drums than the version released as a single and on some versions of The Smiths. The bass line is louder and altered slightly. Additionally, there is no solo guitar introduction.
• "Hand in Glove" is the version that appeared on the original single, not the one on The Smiths. It features a fade-intro, louder bass, and vocals that sound very distant.
• "Still Ill" opens and closes with a harmonica solo, and sounds less hollow and slightly slower than the version on The Smiths.
• "You've Got Everything Now" is slower than the version on The Smiths and does not have any keyboard part. The bass line is also altered slightly.
• "Back to the Old House" (originally the B-side to "What Difference Does It Make?") is an acoustic piece with melancholic guitars and vocals.