In 1987, The Smiths released their forth album, fifth if you count Hatful of Hollow, to complete their obligation to Rough Trade. The Band’s plan was to upgrade from Britain’s biggest independent record label (Rough Trade) to Britain’s biggest major record label EMI. The World Won’t Listen in the UK (and its counter punch Louder Than Bombs in the US) would complete the deal. It would also make a lot of noise around the controversial single Panic which was taken (unfoundedly) to be racist and homophobic by some of the listening audience in the UK. Like Hatful of Hollow, ‘Bombs’ was a collection of singles, B-sides and previously released material packaged and repackaged. What’s interesting here is to hear the new singles like Panic, written in part as commentary to the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, and the highly danceable Ask, juxtaposition to the older singles like William, It Was Really Nothing and Hand in Glove. You can really see how the earlier singles are less produced with the crisp sparkling guitar of Marr shining through to compliment and enhance Morrissey’s baritone vocals. The newer songs in some respect lose that twinkle. This album also houses some Smith’s classics like Unloveable, the brilliant Rubber Ring, and Asleep.
New and old, 24 songs in all, Louder Than Bombs clocks in at 1.2 hours.