Archive for Strangeways Here We Come

Great Rock Albums of 1987: The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2021 by 80smetalman

A great perk of my job working with adults with Autism is that in the house I predominately work in, when the service user who requires 95% of my attention goes on a home visit, my evenings at work are quite leisurely. Such was the case last week. I was searching the Sky Movie channels looking for a film to watch when I discovered a film called, “Shoplifters of the World.” Reading the info, I gave it a watch and it was pretty good.

From the film: Shoplifters of the World

Set in Colorado in 1987, the film is about fans of British new wave rock band, The Smiths who are lamenting the band’s break up. As a result, one devoted fan breaks into the local radio station and pulls a gun on the deejay, who is a total metalhead, and demands he plays a bunch of songs by his favourite band. As the story develops, the Smiths fan and the metalhead deejay form a bond as the station draws a large crowd of the band’s fans in support. On a side note, I love how the deejay relates his story of how is wife walked out on him while he was listening to “Master of Puppets.” He was so engrossed in the album, he didn’t even notice her leave. Anyway, the film ends with a mutual appreciation between the gunman and deejay, which is what music is supposed to do. I recommend this film.

The movie had me doing more research into The Smiths and it might have been a good thing, as their 1987 album, “Strangeways, Here We Come” had totally passed me by that year. Maybe I was listening to too much metal then. Listening to the album now, it has slowly grown on me but it took a couple of listens for it to be so. The first two tracks are decent enough, a smooth light indie pop sound but then the band tries to stretch out a bit on the track “Death of a Disco Dancer,” for me it falls flat. If I listened to this track too much, the title could be changed to “Death of 80smetalman” because it is a song to slit your wrists to and this is coming from someone who listens to Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album.

Fortunately, that is the low point on the album as things drastically improve with the next two tracks. My favourite track on the album, “Girlfriend in a Coma” coming just after. The following track, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” carries things on. Then it appears that the album might be venturing back into “Death of a Disco Dancer” territory with “Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me.” It starts as if it’s going to be a slow, gloomy song but it then picks up. I think this song would have sounded even better with the use of power chords.

Since “Girlfriend in a Coma” was single, then by rules of 80smetalman, “Unhappy Birthday” is the hidden gem on the track. It’s a mid-tempo straight ahead rock tune and there is some good guitar work from Johnny Marr. Although he’s not a (insert great guitarist here), his work on this song is good. “Paint a Vulgar Picture” has a very impressive intro and is good, upbeat song and Johnny actually plays a guitar solo on it. Also, it might drag on a little too long. There is a rockabilly beat to “Death At One’s Elbow,” and is well done. However, the remaining track is unremarkable in my view but does the job of ending the album.

Track Listing:

  1. A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours
  2. I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
  3. Death of a Disco Dancer
  4. Girlfriend in a Coma
  5. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
  6. Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me
  7. Unhappy Birthday
  8. Paint a Vulgar Picture
  9. Death at One’s Elbow
  10. I Won’t Share You
The Smiths

Morrisey- lead vocals, piano, handclaps

Johnny Marr- guitar, keyboards, harmonica, marimba, harmonium, additional vocals, handclaps

Andy Rourke- bass, keyboards, handclaps

Mike Joyce- drums, percussion, handclaps

Thanks to a good film, I got to experience an album that passed me by back in the day. The Smiths would break up after “Strangeways, Here We Come.” While not their best album, it’s still good in places and worth having a listen to. But definitely watch the film.

Next post: Dio- Dream Evil

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com