Background
The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We ComeReleased in September 1987 and approaching its 30th anniversary, Strangeways, Here We Come is the fourth and final album from British alternative rockers The Smiths. Recorded at The Wool Hall, a recording studio owned by Tears for Fears, the album was certified Gold in both the U.K. and U.S. and is largely considered one of the best albums of the 1980s. Both singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr have said Strangeways is their favorite Smiths record, and that “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” was their favorite song. No less than David Bowie concurred with that sentiment, telling Q magazine that “I still rate Morrissey as one of the best lyricists in Britain” in a 1992 interview.

Why I’ve Been Avoiding It
The Smiths have long been my musical white whale. I know that I should like them, and I’ve tried a variety of entry points, but I just couldn’t force myself to get it. A big part of that was Morrissey’s voice, an airy croon that can sound out of place at first on a rock record. Another factor would be the “jangle pop” tag The Smiths are often saddled with. Something about the word “jangle” just rubs me the wrong way, kind of like some people feel about the word “moist.” However, after discovering and loving Morrissey’s solo albums Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I, and reading that Marr himself was growing disillusioned with “jangle pop” around the recording of Strangeways, I’m ready to dive in again. Continue reading