It’s impossible for me to separate The Smiths’ music from my strong personal connection to it. The Smiths were the first band that truly connected me with a world outside of where I had been before. From art, to humor, to the morose, to loneliness and isolation, the music touched me.
I came to find the Smiths in my early teens after a very major car accident in which I fractured my hip, pelvis, wrist (in two places) and had severe nerve damage down my leg. I was in the hospital for a month and a half in traction, unable to move my leg…stationary, idle, and in unbelievable amounts of pain. I had two major surgeries during that time. After the hospital, I had difficulty walking for years, lots of pain, and felt very self-conscious of being different and having different experiences than my friends. It was impossible to feel connected.
Before the accident, I mainly listened to Top 40: Prince, Van Halen (DLR era, thank you sweet baby Jesus), and other mainstream music. Post accident that music didn’t speak to me any longer. I can’t remember how I came across their music…probably 120 Minutes, Rolling Stone (remember when that was a good magazine?), or Spin (ditto), but when I did it hit me like a lightning rod, mainlining directly into the nerve center of where I was and how I was feeling. The Smiths are a touchstone band for me, marking a period of growth, understanding and exploration of music that still envelops my life today (and always will).
Rhino’s new box set includes all eight digitally remastered Smiths albums, including the four studio albums, the three compilations (Hatful of Hollow, The World Won’t Listen, and Louder Than Bombs), as well as the live album, Rank. The remastered music is pristine and the songs timeless.
A deluxe edition includes both CD and vinyl all 25 of The Smiths’ singles on 7” vinyl, art prints, a poster, and a DVD. These are individually numbered and limited to 4,000 worldwide.
It lacks extra vault offerings that remain unavailable due to well publicized differences on just about everything between band members, which disappoints. However, if you haven’t discovered the Smiths, now is a great time to dive in. If you are a fellow rabid fan and haven’t upgraded to the far superior sound of the releases this year, you won’t be disappointed.
How did you first connect with music?
[Editorial note: The “Complete” title is misleading since the set is missing a handful of officially released b-sides, notably “Wonderful Woman” and some live stuff.]