Having only released four studio albums during their career, The Smiths may be one of the only bands on the planet to have never disappointed fans with a weak record. Their second album, Meat is Murder, is probably my personal favorite.
The melancholy, railroad rhythm of Nowhere Fast with the delightfully snide line:
“Each house hold appliance is like a new science in my town”
is one of their best songs, but the entire track list reads like a best of indie rock's greatest 80's achievements. The Headmaster Ritual, Rusholme Ruffians, I Want the One I Can't Have, How Soon is Now?, and Barbarism Begins at Home–these are impeccable songs. From its vegetarian title to the content itself, this is the most political record The Smiths made; that's a still from the 1968 Vietnam documentary In The Year of the Pig on the cover
At the time of the album's debut, only the sorrowful That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore was released as a single; surely a decision on the part of Morrissey and Marr (who produced the album on their own), who I assume delighted in the irony of releasing just one non-catchy single from an album filled with songs more appropriate for the pop charts.
This band meant the world to me when first I discovered them in my sister's tape collections and on college radio stations as a kid but, unlike many of the things that sparked my interest as a junior high schooler, The Smiths still sound spectacular–I can listen to them any time of day, any day of the week.