The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs (Vinyl)

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'Louder Than Bombs' was released as the American counterpart to their recent British compilation The World Won't Listen and consisted of all singles and nearly all B-sides that had not at that point been available in the United States, either on single or album, with a few other tracks added. The title is borrowed from a line in Elizabeth Smart's extended prose poem By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept.

The album was intended to be a substitute for both The World Won't Listen and their 1984 compilation Hatful of Hollow, as these had not been released in the United States. This is why the non-single track "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" from Hatful of Hollow was included. Single A-sides "This Charming Man" and "How Soon Is Now?" had already been released in the US as bonus cuts on the LPs The Smiths and Meat Is Murder, respectively.

As with The World Won't Listen, this compilation includes the scrapped single "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (passed over in favour of "Shoplifters of the World Unite"), albeit in a different, shorter mix. However, this shorter version of the song was replaced when Bombs was reissued in 2011. Additionally, the Louder Than Bombs version of "Stretch Out and Wait" is the version from the B-side of "Shakespeare's Sister", which features slightly different lyrics. Also of note is the fact that "Ask" appears on both Louder Than Bombs and The World Won't Listen in a slightly different and longer mix than its single version.

Due to the album offering many B-sides (and the "Sheila Take a Bow" single) that had never been collected onto an album before, Louder Than Bombs became very popular on import with fans in the UK. To avoid high import prices being paid, the Smiths' domestic record company, Rough Trade, decided to release the compilation as well, provoking cries of outrage by fans[by whom?] who only three months previously had purchased the slimmer single album UK counterpart. The blow was somewhat softened by the fact that the double album retailed at single album price.

After WEA acquired the Smiths' back catalogue in 1992, all Smiths albums were re-released at mid price, including Louder Than Bombs.


For my money, The Smiths are the greatest singles band ever. So, the fact that this is a collection of previously released songs (and b-sides at that) and not a proper album means very little to me. The important thing is that these are really strong songs and there's a lot of them.

Get out your pencils and paper, we're gonna do some simple math...

good x more = great

Ok kids, time for recess while the rest of us discuss this album further.

"Call me morbid, call me pale" Morrissey sings on "Half a Person." The fact is, a lot of people do, Moz. But I don't buy that The Smiths are an ultra-depressing band. No, that title goes to Joy Division or Radiohead (both bands I love, btw) before The Smiths. Even in their greatest dispair, I can sense they're taking it all with a grain of salt and wry humour. It's a really delicate and fine balance, but they strike it well.

I mean, how can you hear the following line and not crack a smile?

"But she doesn't even like me
And I know because she said so"

And I've never heard a more catchy, beautiful, and sweet song about being unhappy at your job and jealously watching lovers entwined. Even within the same song, hearing that I'm not the only one that wonders why I smile at people I'd rather kick in the eye gives me comfort.

But even in the midst of all the self-pity, "Ask" displays a positive vibe and a sincerity that is infectious and even touching. It's an invitation to all the shy, reclusive ones out there to "ask" Moz if there's anything they'd ever like to try. "I won't say no, how could I?" he says. And it goes without mentioning that the tune behind it is downright infectious.

There's only one clunker in The Smiths entire career and it happens to appear here, of course I'm talking about "Golden Lights."

I don't know, I just don't see what there is not to love. Marr's guitar drives and colors the songs perfectly, the songwriting is top-notch and always engaging and energetic, and I think Moz is really a great singer, even if his style does take some getting used to at first.

So, in the end, if you listen to this collection of songs and still don't feel what the rest of us feel, at least remember that the Moz has already told you why.

You just haven't earned it yet, baby.

By: BtC.

A1 Is It Really So Strange? 3:02
A2 Sheila Take A Bow 2:41
A3 Shoplifters Of The World Unite 2:57
A4 Sweet And Tender Hooligan 3:33
A5 Half A Person 3:35
A6 London 2:06
B1 Panic 2:17
B2 Girl Afraid 2:48
B3 Shakespeare's Sister 2:08
B4 William, It Was Really Nothing 2:10
B5 You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby 3:21
B6 Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now 3:34
C1 Ask 3:15
C2 Golden Lights 2:38
C3 Oscillate Wildly 3:26
C4 These Things Take Time 2:21
C5 Rubber Ring 3:46
C6 Back To The Old House 3:04
D1 Hand In Glove 3:10
D2 Stretch Out And Wait 2:38
D3 Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want 1:50
D4 This Night Has Opened My Eyes 3:40
D5 Unloveable 3:55
D6 Asleep 4:16

Art Direction [Art Co-ordination] – Jo Slee
Artwork [Sleeve] – Morrissey
Bass Guitar, Cello – Andy Rourke
Drums – Mike Joyce
Guitar [Additional] – Craig Gannon (tracks: A5, A6, B1, B5, C1)
Guitar, Music By, Piano, Other [Vamp], Mandolin, Harmonica, Harmonium – Johnny Marr
Lacquer Cut By – F.A.*
Layout – Caryn Gough
Producer – John Porter (tracks: A1, A4, B1, B2, B4 to C2, C4, C6, D3), Johnny Marr (tracks: A2, A3, A5, A6, C5, D5, D6), Morrissey (tracks: A2, A5, A6, C5, D5, D6), The Smiths (tracks: B3, C3, D1, D2)
Voice – Morrissey
Words By – Morrissey (tracks: A1 to C1, C3 to D6)
Tracks A1 & A4 were produced for The BBC Radio 1 John Peel Show.
All songs published by Morrissey/Marr Songs Ltd. PRS except track C3 published by Carbert Music Inc. BMI

All rts. on behalf of Morrissey/Marr Songs Ltd. for the World controlled by Warner Bros. Music Ltd. PRS. All rts. on behalf of Warner Bros. Music Ltd. for the Western Hemisphere adm. by Warner Tamberlane Pub. Corp. BMI

Recorded in England from April 1983-November 1986.
Cover Star: Shelagh Delaney, reprinted from the Saturday Evening Post.

Lyrics and a b&w extended version of the cover photo are printed inside gatefold.

℗ & © 1987 Warner Music UK Ltd.

Made in the E.U.