Quick Review (LP): The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths

The Smiths
The Queen Is Dead
Rough Trade; 1986

My Rating: B+

Best Tracks: “I Know It’s Over”, “Cemetry Gates”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”

Not quite the masterpiece that most people insist it is, The Queen Is Dead is still the band’s best album-proper. None of the tracks dominate so much as on the band’s other albums, and the record is overall highly consistent. The biggest problem, however, is the production. The instruments are tinny and uneven, and Morrissey’s vocals are so high in the mix that many of the tracks sound like they were recorded in a karaoke bar (see “Never Had No One Ever”). “Cemetry Gates” suffers the most, being as it is an example of a great song poorly engineered. On a positive note, even the “filler” this time around comes off right (see “Frankly, Mr. Shankly” and “Vicar in a Tutu”). Finally, this is the album that contains “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”, and that’s a major statement right there. Thought not quite a classic, The Queen Is Dead is nevertheless one of the best rock records of the era and The Smiths record that every rock fan should hear.

AMG review
Wikipedia article
Love Songs On The Radio review
BBC review

3 Responses to Quick Review (LP): The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths

  1. well, you’ve got to agree that in comparison to their self-titled album, The Queen Is Dead has at least tolerable production… don’t really know what parallel could I bring, but “The Queen Is Dead” is to “The Smiths” what “Lifes Rich Pageant” was to “Murmur”. sort of.

    • John SGB says:

      To be honest, I don’t really like the production on either record. A few tracks sounds right on both records (“There Is A Light” for example is perfect), but a track like “Cemetry Gates” could be a lot more muscular. I think the production on REM’s early records blows the production on The Smiths’ records away.

      It’s funny though – The Smiths manage to sound right on all of their “singles.” It’s almost like they put all their attention towards those tracks, and just kind of gave the other ones a pass.

  2. Pingback: Career-In-Review: The Smiths « Sweet Georgia Breezes

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