Thursday, April 20, 2006

Upcoming Shows - April, May, June Edition

At this point, this list of shows is just for my personal reference, though it's a nicely condensed version of all the good bands coming to town.

Wilco - Sunday, April 23rd, Charlottesville Pavilion
Islands (former members of The Unicorns) - Tuesday, April 25th, Black Cat, $12
The Strokes - Wednesday, April 26th, DAR Constitution Hall, $29
They Might Be Giants - Wednesday, April 26th, 930 Club, $25
Elf Power - Thursday, April 27th, Iota, $12
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra - Friday, April 28th, 930 Club, $15
Phoenix - Saturday, May 6th, 930 Club, $15
The Concretes - Sunday, May 7th, 930 Club, $15
Mogwai - Wednesday, May 10th, 930 Club, $18
Tom Verlaine - Monday, May 15th, 930 Club, $25
Art Brut - Sunday, May 16th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $10
Pretty Girls Make Graves (w/Giant Drag) - Monday, May 15th, Black Cat, $13
Liars - Thursday, May 18th, Black Cat, $10
Depeche Mode - Sunday, May 21st, Nissan Pavilion
The Walkmen - Thursday, May 25th, 930 Club, $15
Prefuse 73 (w/Edan) - Thursday, June 1st, 930 Club
The Twilight Singers (feat. Greg Dulli) - Friday, June 2nd, 930 Club
Tapes N' Tapes - Thursday, June 8th, Fletcher's (Baltimore), $10
!!! - Friday, June 9th, Black Cat, $13
Devendra Banhart (w/Magic Numbers) - Saturday, June 10th, Sonar (Baltimore), $25
Eels (w/Smoosh) - Sunday, June 11th, 930 Club
Nine Inch Nails (w/Bauhaus & TV on the Radio) - Tuesday, June 13th, Nissan Pavilion
Cat Power - Wednesday, June 14th, 930 Club
Dungen - Wednesday, June 14th, Black Cat, $13
Echo & the Bunnymen - Monday, June 26th, Black Cat, $20
Kokono No. 1 - Friday, July 21st, Black Cat, $15
Diplo - Sunday, July 23rd, Black Cat, $13

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones

Oh New York City, I remember your glory days. Back in 2001 you were hailed as the "in" scene for music with The Strokes, The Rapture, Liars and so many others who were supposed to be the "next big thing". Well since those days that we remember so fondly, the Strokes essentially re-released their debut album before releasing an incredibly mediocre third album that didn't appear to have any direction at all. The Rapture released a spectacular album before deciding that they were going to apparently need five years to record the follow-up. And the Liars fired their rhythm section and released an album of noise before jetting off to Germany to become a freak-folk band. So much for the great NYC Rock Revolution of 2001, we've lost them all . . . or have we?

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs took an very different path than most of the other bands of that time. They were an extremely new band as 2001 was emerging, and instead of rushing out a debut album to jump on the bandwagon, they waited, releasing only two EPs worth of material in 2001-2002. They subsequently signed to Interscope and finally released their debut album, Fever to Tell, in April of 2003. The album initially was a bit of a flop as much of the band's hype from the early-NYC days had faded and the garage sound that filled most of the album was old-hat by then, but then something special happened. Nearly a year after the album's release, their label made one last push to make the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the stars they were supposed to be and released "Maps," an extremely unlikely slow, fuzzy song, as a single, and miraculously, it stuck. The next thing they knew, the Yeahs were appearing on the MTV Movie Awards and touring their debut all over again to a whole new audience. So what would they do for an encore? Well, after taking a well-deserved break, the Yeahs hit the studio last year to begin recording what would eventually be Show Your Bones, and my god, have they struck gold this time around.

The change in the band's sound is apparent 6 seconds into the new album as opening track "Gold Lion" starts up with, (gasp), an acoustic guitar. The song builds up and around the 1:15 mark, you find yourself in disbelief staring at the album cover going, "Is this really the same Yeah Yeah Yeahs? I mean, that does sound like Karen O singing, but they seem so much. . . better, more mature, more complete." The recording quality here is on a completely different planet than the hissy, garagey sound that dominated most of Fever to Tell. Plus, there's just so much going on in each song. On FtT, a song sounded complex if there was anything more than one guitar, drums and Karen's vocals. Now acoustic and electric guitars appear in the same song, pianos come in and out of the mix and a song without keyboards or synthesized atmospherics sounds too simple.

Just take "Way Out" as an example, it opens with acoustic guitar and keyboards going side by side giving the song of a bit of a country twang, but halfway through, Nick Zinner blasts through the speakers with one of his wild, crunchy solos, and the song takes on a whole new feel as 80s-style synthesizers appear in the background for the second verse. By the end, there are at least three guitars plus keyboards all playing together, and while it may not sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs of old, it is fucking brilliant.

Track #3, "Fancy," then pulls a bit of a trick on you. It starts out sounding like it could have come right of of the debut, except there's a creepy-sounding organ coming in and out of the mix. You start to think maybe the first two songs were just an anomaly, and that this really is just the same band. But then halfway through the second guitar comes in again, and then it all disappears as Karen sings "We rip for three days" repeatedly over a pulsing synthesizer. When the rest of the band kicks back in, it sounds almost Middle Eastern. The song again fades out into a quiet piano before it returns to the sound it started with, but even though it sounds like the old Yeah Yeah Yeahs, after that ride, you know this band is forever changed.

"Cheated Hearts" makes for an excellent centerpiece to the album and has "hit single" written all over it. It's one of the album's more straightforward songs, sticking largely with the simple two guitars and drums (and the occasional keyboard), and though it lacks a traditional chorus, its quiet-loud-quiet dynamic and handclaps make up for it. After the wonderful "Dudley" and the Show Your Bones' only real miss, "Mysteries," the album slows down a bit with the heavily acoustic "Sweets," "Warrior" and "Turn Into." Each has its own unique feel, however and each goes off in a different direction as the song nears its close. The album's closer, "Deja Vu" gets back to rocking with a pretty standard Yeahs' sounding verse, but on the chorus, Karen O almost sounds like Debbie Harry as she croons "It's Deeeeejaaaaa Vuuuuuu." The final 20 seconds perfectly sum up the band's new thick and developed sound as Nick Zinner solos overtop of another guitar and a synthesizer.

A few years ago, an album like this from a group like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs would've been greeted by puzzled looks all around, but with the way indie rock has permeated its way into the general public, the average listener is much more prepared for this in 2006. With the whole 80s brit-rock, Duran Duran/New Order/Gang of Four retread fading out, it's time for a new band to carry the indie rock-as-mainstream torch. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I think this is the album that could vault the Yeah Yeah Yeahs into that territory. They're not the niche band that Franz Ferdinand or The Killers are, they are extremely talented musicians who were willing to take a huge risk by not retracing the steps of their first album to create an amazing sophomore release. Who knows what they'll give us next.

(My goal was to get this review out before Pitchfork got their review up, my predicted Pitchfork review score: 8.3)

Also, you can stream the new album from here:

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Upcoming Shows - March, April, May Edition

The Pogues - Friday, March 10th, 930 Club (Sold Out)
James Blunt (w/The Boy Least Likely To) - Monday, March 13th (Sold Out)
The National - Wednesday, March 15th, Black Cat, $12
Silver Jews - Thursday, March 16th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), (Sold Out)
Matt Pond PA - Saturday, March 18th, 930 Club, $10
The Go! Team - Sunday, March 19th, Black Cat, $12
Animal Collective - Tuesday, March 21st, Black Cat, $13
Stereolab - Tuesday, March 21st, 930 Club, $18
Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) - Thursday, March 23rd, Birchmere
The Magic Numbers (w/The Elected) - Thursday, March 23rd, 930 Club, $15
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Friday, March 24th, Black Cat, (Sold Out)
Annie - Sunday, March 26th, Black Cat, $12
Arctic Monkeys - Monday, March 27th, 930 Club, (Sold Out)
stellastarr* & Editors - Wednesday, March 29th, 930 Club, $15
The Books - Wednesday, March 29th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $12 adv/$15 at door Magnolia Electric Co/Destroyer - Wednesday, March 29th, Black Cat, $12
South - Thursday, March 30th, 930 Club, $15
The Orb - Friday, March 31st, 930 Club, $25
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Monday, April 3rd, 930 Club, (Sold Out)
Dinosaur Jr. - Wednesday, April 5th, 930 Club, $30
Art Brut - Sunday, April 9th, Black Cat, $12
Neko Case - Sunday, April 9th, 930 Club, $15
Ghostface Killah - Monday, April 10th, 930 Club, $20 (late show)
Blackalicious - Tuesday, April 11th, 930 Club, $18
Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand - Tuesday, April 11th, DAR Constitution Hall, (Sold Out)
Wolf Parade - Wednesday, April 12th, Black Cat (Sold Out)
Gogol Bordello - Thursday, April 13th, 930 Club, $15
Ladytron - Friday, April 14th, 930 Club, $15
Islands (former members of The Unicorns) - Tuesday, April 25th, Black Cat, $12
The Strokes - Wednesday, April 26th, DAR Constitution Hall, $29
Pretty Girls Make Graves (w/Giant Drag) - Monday, May 15th, Black Cat, $13
Liars - Thursday, May 18th, Black Cat, $10

At the moment I've got tickets to Belle & Sebastian/New Pornographers, The National, The Go! Team, Stereolab, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Art Brut and Wolf Parade. That may be enough for the time being, but I could probably be convinced to hit up one or two more of these shows.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Album Release Dates

I thought I'd update the album release dates post with all the new stuff that's been announced lately. I also though I could add in some news here. First off, the new Morrissey album has been pushed back from March 21st to April 4th, but here is the album cover to tide you all over:

In other news, Grandaddy's Just Like the Fambly Cat will sadly be their last, as they have decided to break up. There won't even be a tour following the album release.

Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit - February 7th, 2006
Outkast - Idlewild - February 14th, 2006
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am That's What I Am Not - February 21st, 2006
Destroyer - Rubies - February 21st, 2006
Mogwai - Mr. Beast - March 7th, 2006
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - March 7th, 2006
Loose Fur - Born Again in the U.S.A. - March 21st, 2006
Liars - Drum's Not Dead - March 21st, 2006 (February 20th in the UK)
Islands (former members of The Unicorns) - Return to the Sea - March 21st, 2006
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones - March 28th, 2006
Morrissey - Ringleader of the Tormentors - April 4th, 2006
Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics - April 4th, 2006
Grandaddy - Just Like the Fambly Cat - April 4th, 2006
Pretty Girls Make Graves - Elan Vital - April 11th, 2006
Tortoise - R, R, C - April 11th, 2006
Built to Spill - You in Reverse - April 11th, 2006
Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops - April 18th, 2006
The Streets - The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living - April 25th, 2006 (April 11th in the UK)
The Futureheads - New Album - late April
Mission of Burma - Obliterati - May 9th, 2006
Radiohead - New Album - Spring/Summer, 2006
The Shins - New Album - Summer, 2006

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My Indie Valentine

What's this, two posts in one day? Crazy you say? Well, this one actually benefits me and is quite important. This Saturday, February 4th at the Satellite Ballroom in Charlottesville, How Soon Is Now? Productions (Ian and I) will be hosting our third Brit Pop and Indie Rock Dance Party. As you can see from the title of this post, the theme is Valentine's Day, done indie-rock style. On the screen we'll be showing John Hughes movies and I promise the music will make you dance your ass off. I don't want to reveal too much, but the music for this party has been prepared quite carefully and may contain an occasional 80s synth-pop hit to go along with the normal helping of brit-pop and indie rock. It'll only cost you $5 at the door, and then you get to drink $2 PBRs all night long (what other bar has $2 beers, seriously?). So come on over, listen to some amazing music, watch some awesome movies (without sound of course), lounge in the fabulous couches and dance, dance, dance.

Coachella 2006 Lineup Announced

The lineup for this year's Coachella Festival was announced today and though it's not as strong as the lineups of the last two years, it is still quite good. Highlights are as follows:

Saturday, April 29th
Depeche Mode
Franz Ferdinand
Sigur Ros
My Morning Jacket
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Cat Power
Animal Collective
Devendra Banhart
The Walkmen
The Juan Maclean

Sunday, April 30th
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Bloc Party
Scissor Sisters
TV on the Radio
Wolf Parade
The Go! Team
Art Brut
The Magic Numbers
Imogen Heap

If you'd like to see last year's full lineup, check it out here:

Unfortunately, I do not think I will be able to attend this year due to a trip to Europe in June, but I feel like there is one thing missing from this year's lineup: there aren't any big reunions or unique performances this time around. Last year we had reunions from Bauhaus and Gang of Four, not to mention several groups who made Coachella one of, if not their only US dates like New Order, The Prodigy and Black Star. Two years ago was the massive Pixies reunion plus Radiohead's only US date of the last three years. This time around, many of the bands are either currently on tour or were on tour in the last year. The only band who is at all unique is Tool, who likely have a new album coming out and will tour it following the Coachella performance. There were rumors of a Smashing Pumpkins reunion as well as Massive Attack and Portishead, but none of them came to fruition. It's a good lineup, but even if I wasn't going to Europe, I'm not sure that it's one that I'd spend all that money to go see this year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New Shows/Full Upcoming Concert List

All shows in green are new additions to the concert list, shows in red are sold out.

Robert Pollard (formerly of Guided By Voices) - Saturday, January 28th, 930 Club, $15
Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists) - Saturday, January 28th, Birchmere, $17.50
Deerhoof - Saturday, January 28th, Black Cat, $10
The Hold Steady - Wednesday, February 1st, Black Cat, $10
Low - Saturday, February 4th, Black Cat, $13
RJD2 - Saturday, February 4th, 930 Club, $15
How Soon Is Now? Productions Presents: My Indie Valentine A Brit Pop and Indie Rock Dance Party - Saturday, February 4th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $5
Feist - Tuesday, February 7th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $12 adv/$15 at door
Feist - Wednesday, February 8th, Black Cat, $13
Nada Surf (w/Rogue Wave) - Thursday, February 9th, Starr Hill (Charlottesville)
Fiery Furnaces - Saturday, February 11th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $15
Supergrass - Sunday, February 12th, 930 Club, $20
Wu Tang Clan - Monday, February 13th, 930 Club, (Sold Out)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (w/ Elefant) - Monday, February 20th, 930 Club
Stars (w/Magnet) - Friday, February 24th, Black Cat, $12
Of Montreal - Wednesday, March 1st, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $10 adv/$12 at door
Mogwai - Saturday, March 4th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $14 adv/$17 at door
The Wedding Present - Sunday, March 5th, Black Cat, $15
Belle & Sebastian/New Pornographers - Sunday, March 5th, 930 Club (Sold Out)
Belle & Sebastian/New Pornographers - Monday, March 6th, 930 Club (Sold Out)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Wednesday, March 8th, 930 Club (Sold Out)
Queen - Thursday, March 9th, MCI Center
Metric - Thursday, March 9th, 930 Club (Early Show)
The Pogues - Thursday, March 9th, 930 Club (Late Show) (Sold Out)
The Pogues - Friday, March 10th, 930 Club (Sold Out)
The National - Wednesday, March 15th, Black Cat, $12
Silver Jews - Thursday, March 16th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $16 adv/$18 at door Animal Collective - Tuesday, March 21st, Black Cat, $13
Stereolab - Tuesday, March 21st, 930 Club, $18
Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) - Thursday, March 23rd, Birchmere
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Friday, March 24th, Black Cat, (Solt Out)
Arctic Monkeys - Monday, March 27th, 930 Club, $15
The Books - Wednesday, March 29th, Satellite Ballroom (Charlottesville), $12 adv/$15 at door
Magnolia Electric Co/Destroyer - Wednesday, March 29th, Black Cat, $12
Art Brut - Sunday, April 9th, Black Cat, $12

In case anyone is interested, I currently have tickets for The Hold Steady, Stars, Belle & Sebastian/New Pornographers and Wu-Tang Clan. If anyone would like to join me at any of these shows, please let me know. I am also planning on going to see The National and Art Brut as well as maybe Stereolab, maybe Arctic Monkeys or both.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Smiths: A Retrospective

The Smiths are a band that is frequently name-checked in the indie rock scene, but I have a feeling that many of the people who are constantly referencing them have never actually heard more than a few songs. One of the great strengths of The Smiths is that their entire catalogue is extremely solid and there is very little filler on any of their albums. This is definitely one advantage of only being together for 5 years, offering no time to fade into mediocrity, but I digress. I wanted to give everyone out there a brief rundown of all The Smiths albums, especially for those who wish to discover them but have no idea where to start. There are tons of compilations out there and many of them are just modified versions of other compilations, so I will do my best here to break down the albums and let you know what you need to learn everything there is to know about The Smiths' music.

Absolutely Essential

The Queen Is Dead - This is the third studio album that the Smiths released and where everything they've been tinkering with over the first few years of their careers comes together perfectly. Not only does it contain three of the bands biggest hits ("Bigmouth Strikes Again," "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side," "There Is a Light that Never Goes Out"), but also has the finest non-singles tracks of any of their albums. "Cemetry Gates" and "Frankly Mr. Shankly" could've been huge hits had they been released on their own, and the title track is one of the darkest, most intense songs that Morrissey and Johnny Marr ever wrote. The album only slips up at one point, when "I Know Its Over" and "Never Had No One Ever" come back to back. They are both excellent songs in their own right, but putting the only two slow songs back to back early in the album might stop people from progressing into the album's second half. That is such a minor flaw, however, and should not deter you. This is one of my all-time favorite albums, I promise you will not be disappointed if you go out and buy it right now.

Louder Than Bombs - What is most confusing about The Smiths is that they did not include many of their best songs on their studio albums. They released several single-only songs which not only were some of the band's finest, but also contained some brilliant B-sides. Louder Than Bombs collects all of the Smiths non-album singles, as well as most of the B-sides that accompanied them (the only glaring omissions are "Jeane" and "Handsome Devil"). What's amazing is that if you don't know which songs are singles and which are B-sides, it is nearly impossible to distinguish which is which. Songs like "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby" sound perfect alongside hits like "Panic" and "William, It Was Really Nothing." There are countless compilations out there, but if you buy just one, this is the one to get, as if you buy this and all the studio albums, you will have nearly every song that The Smiths committed to record.

Also Essential

The Smiths - The Smiths' self-titled debut is not nearly as heralded as The Queen Is Dead, but it is damn close to being just as good. "This Charming Man" and "Hand In Glove" will always be the centerpieces of this album, but several of the surrounding tracks are equally as incredible. "Reel Around The Fountain," at nearly six minutes, is an interesting choice for an opener, given that it's one of the album's tamest songs, yet it works perfectly as Morrissey draws you in slowly with lyrics like "You can pin and mount me like a butterfly" and "You're the bees' knees but so am I," and by the end you can't wait to hear what's coming next. "Pretty Girls Make Graves" (taken from a line in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums) uses a wonderfully bouncy bass line coupled with Morrissey's now trademark moans and ambiguous lyrics to make a wonderfully catchy and danceable yet dark song. This album also features what I feel is perhaps The Smiths' most underrated song, "Still Ill" which features some fabulous lyrics like "There are brighter sides to life and I should know because I've seen them, but not very often," and an awesome chugging breakdown to close it out.

Definitely Worth Buying

Strangeways, Here We Come - This album was recorded as the band was falling apart and we can definitely see Morrissey taking the lead songwriting role here as many of the songs sound similar to material from his early solo career. However, this is not a bad thing and this is still very much a Smiths album. Opener "A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours" might use a greater variety of instruments than your average Smiths song (most notably an organ and a xylophone), but Morrissey's growl at the start of each chorus makes this one another classic. "Girlfriend in a Coma" is a fantastically catchy pop gem and "Stop Me if You Think You've Heard this One Before" is a excellent danceable tune in the vein of some of the earlier singles. Where this album falters is in a few of the slower songs, "Death of a Disco Dancer" and "Paint a Vulgar Picture" just don't have the same appeal as earlier tunes like "Asleep" and "Half A Person." One slow song does hit the mark though, "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me," perhaps the band's strangest choice for a single, is an amazing song in which Morrissey sings about what he knows best, self-deprecation. It is difficult to know if Johnny Marr left the band because Morrissey was pushing his ideas harder this time around or if Morrissey pushed his ideas because Johnny was on the verge of leaving, but this album has a much more elaborate sound with more string sections and complex arrangements than anything they'd done before.

Meat Is Murder - It's difficult to say that any Smiths album is "the worst," but if I had to choose one, this is the one I would choose. It does contain the Smiths' most recognizable song, "How Soon Is Now?" but the song sounds out of place, considerably darker and more atmospheric than anything else on the album. Songs like "The Headmaster Ritual" and "Rusholme Ruffians" keep this album entertaining, but besides "How Soon Is Now?" the only other great song on Meat Is Murder is "I Want the One I Can't Have." Johnny's classic jangly guitar is in full effect here and I can just imagine Morrissey flailing around in frustration as he performs this song live. This album also features one of my personal favorites, "Barbarism Begins at Home," where the only chorus is Morrissey barking. It's not necessarily a classic, but definitely worth hearing. The closing song, "Meat Is Murder," however, is perhaps the worst song that the band ever wrote. It opens up with the sound of saws and cows wailing in pain, and features some of the most ridiculous lyrics I've ever heard, like "the meat in your mouth as you savor the flavor of murder." Mmmmm, delicious murder.

Other Stuff
Rank - I actually do not own this album, but I have heard it in its entirety. It is a live album recorded at London's National Ballroom towards the end of The Smiths' existence, in late 1986. It contains one new song, "The Draize Train," but feels somewhat short for a live album(apparently there are a number of songs that were recorded that same night that did not make it onto the album). There is nothing especially mindblowing here, but this is an album worth getting, especially for those who want alternate versions of their favorite songs. This is definitely not a place to start and should only be purchased by long-time fans of the band.

Hatful of Hollow - This is essentially an earlier version of Louder Than Bombs that gathered up all the band's singles and B-sides through 1984. Instead of the singles from later years, it contains several BBC Session versions of songs from the debut album, which do not add a whole lot. What is significant here is that there are two B-sides not available on Louder Than Bombs. "Accept Yourself" is nothing special, but "Handsome Devil" is an amazing song that should've been included on later compilations. It is not worth buying this album solely for that song, but if you can burn a copy from someone else, it's worth having it in your collection.

The World Won't Listen - When Louder Than Bombs was released in the US, the UK got The World Won't Listen. Because Hatful of Hollow had already been released, this compilation gathers up most of the Smiths singles and B-sides post-1984. It contains several album tracks that were also released as singles, and if you already own all the studio albums and Louder Than Bombs, there is no reason to buy this album. The only new song it contains is an instrumental entitled "Money Changes Everything" which is nice to have, but definitely not worth the price of this album.

The Singles - This is exactly what it sounds like, a compilation of all the band's singles, no B-sides included. This is a very bare-bones compilation, but if you're looking for a place to start and don't want to plop down the money for both The Queen Is Dead and Louder Than Bombs, then this is not a bad purchase. It contains nothing new, and if you own LTB and all of the studio albums, this album becomes obsolete. If you've never heard the band before and aren't sure if you'll like them, you could do worse than this album.

The Best Of The Smiths Vol. 1 & 2/The Very Best Of The Smiths - These albums are not really worth buying as they contain nothing new and all seem rather arbitrary in the songs they include. None of them present the songs in any sort of sensical order either. If you want just one album to encompass The Smiths' career, The Singles is a much better place to start.