March 10, 2015

The Smiths - Meat Is Murder (1985)


Meat Is Murder is the second Smiths album and also my second favorite to the debut. Their sound is rounded out on number two and can be credited to experience and a more sophisticated production. Unfortunately, this means that the music loses a lot of the edge, bite, and hefty dynamics that make the first album what it is, but even though there is less brilliant exaggeration, the fact that the band can muster such a great album after that untouchable debut says incredible things about them.

Morrissey doesn't change much in either his delivery or lyrics. The first three songs alone are child abuse, apt descriptions of British urban life, and a struggle with one's sexual preference and lost expectations of love, but it's hard to say that Morrissey is following the same formula since every song is so amazingly different. The slightly altered music and production is going to change him a bit though. Here Morrissey is more embedded in the music and while still more than noticeable, he brings less of a theatrical performance than on the first album (save for the final song). As a result, Meat Is Murder is mellower and less lyrically intense. The band has more opportunity to show off its skill and diversity; ranging anywhere from the Western train themed Nowhere Fast, disco inspired Barbarism Begins At Home, or even a jangly British take on rockabilly with Rusholme Ruffians. Surprisingly and unsurprisingly it all goes well for The Smiths, and while there's nothing on here that takes the album to legendary status, it feels complete, thorough, and very real.

Sample

Meat Is Murder