Quick Review (LP): The Smiths by The Smiths

thesmiths The Smiths
The Smiths
Rough Trade; 1984

My Rating: B

Best Tracks: “Reel Around the Fountain”, “You’ve Got Everything Now”, “Pretty Girls Make Graves”, “Still Ill”

The problem for The Smiths is that they were a great singles band, perhaps the best of the 80’s. As a consequence, their debut at times feels padded around the tracks that preceded the record, the classics “Hand In Glove” and “This Charming Man” and the great “What Difference Does It Make?” These tracks are pop supernovae, and everything that surrounds them pales in comparison, but not necessarily for want of brightness. Opener “Reel Around The Fountain”, as well as the propulsive “You’ve Got Everything Now” reveal quite a different side to the band, and the album’s second half is nearly perfect. As a debut, this one feels a lot like Murmur, plaintive out of the gate rather than charging. I’d argue that if they’d left the singles off of this, they might have achieved a masterpiece. Instead, they created an interesting debut, but one that is ultimately forgettable.

AMG review
Wikipedia article
BBC review

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R.E.M.: Reckoning (1984)

RECKONING (1984) – 8: RECKONING was REM’s quick follow-up to
their debut. The band didn’t make any huge stylistic leaps here.
In fact, RECKONING might easily be written off as an album of
leftovers and re-treads if the songs weren’t so solid. While
half of the songs only achieve moderate success, the other half
register as certified classics. “Harborcoat” kicks things off in
righteous fashion. Full of intricate guitar and bass interplay,
their is no question that the band has coupled their unique
sound with more robust songwriting. “7 Chinese Bros.” and
“Pretty Persuasion” are other excellent examples of the band’s
ability to craft college rock genius. However, it’s “(Don’t Go
Back to) Rockville” that really stands out among the bunch,
truly setting the band’s country undertones to the forefront and
giving REM its first road song. For the most part, an enjoyable
and worthy record.
TRACKS:
1. Harborcoat (5/5)
2. 7 Chinese Brothers (5/5)
3. So. Central Rain (5/5)
4. Pretty Persuasion (5/5)
5. Time After Time (Annelise) (3.5/5)
6. Second Guessing (3/5)
7. Letter Never Sent (3/5)
8. Camera (3/5)
9. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (5/5)
10. Little AmericRECKONING (1984) – 8: RECKONING was REM’s quick follow-up to
their debut. The band didn’t make any huge stylistic leaps here.
In fact, RECKONING might easily be written off as an album of
leftovers and re-treads if the songs weren’t so solid. While
half of the songs only achieve moderate success, the other half
register as certified classics. “Harborcoat” kicks things off in
righteous fashion. Full of intricate guitar and bass interplay,
their is no question that the band has coupled their unique
sound with more robust songwriting. “7 Chinese Bros.” and
“Pretty Persuasion” are other excellent examples of the band’s
ability to craft college rock genius. However, it’s “(Don’t Go
Back to) Rockville” that really stands out among the bunch,
truly setting the band’s country undertones to the forefront and
giving REM its first road song. For the most part, an enjoyable
and worthy record.
TRACKS:
1. Harborcoat (5/5)
2. 7 Chinese Brothers (5/5)
3. So. Central Rain (5/5)
4. Pretty Persuasion (5/5)
5. Time After Time (Annelise) (3.5/5)
6. Second Guessing (3/5)
7. Letter Never Sent (3/5)
8. Camera (3/5)
9. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (5/5)
10. Little America (3/5)
REM_Reckoning_coverR.E.M.
Reckoning; 1984
IRS Records

My Rating: 8/10

RECKONING was REM’s quick follow-up to their debut. The band didn’t make any huge stylistic leaps here. In fact, RECKONING might easily be written off as an album of leftovers and re-treads if the songs weren’t so solid. While half of the songs only achieve moderate success, the other half register as certified classics. “Harborcoat” kicks things off in righteous fashion. Full of intricate guitar and bass interplay, their is no question that the band has coupled their unique sound with more robust songwriting. “7 Chinese Bros.” and “Pretty Persuasion” are other excellent examples of the band’s ability to craft college rock genius. However, it’s “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” that really stands out among the bunch, truly setting the band’s country undertones to the forefront and giving REM its first road song. For the most part, an enjoyable and worthy record.

TRACKS:
1. Harborcoat (5/5)
2. 7 Chinese Brothers (5/5)
3. So. Central Rain (5/5)
4. Pretty Persuasion (5/5)
5. Time After Time (Annelise) (3.5/5)
6. Second Guessing (3/5)
7. Letter Never Sent (3/5)
8. Camera (3/5)
9. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (5/5)
10. Little America (3/5)