Tim's Twitter Listening Party - "Strangeways, Here We Come" with Stephen Street (Sep. 28, 2020)

Bluebirds

Well-Known Member
33 years old. Crikey. I remember listening to it for the first time in 1990 and thinking 3 years earlier was a mystical time zone.

Not sure if it's my favourite Smith's album but it is certainly the most lush and, for those of who were late to the party, there is a poignancy to Strangeways which will never be diminished.
 

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
According to Wiki - The cover of the single is a picture of British actor and singer Murray Head from a still of the 1966 film The Family Way (a movie that would also be the source of the photograph on the cover of "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish")

Uncropped.

The Family Way 1966 lobby card.jpg


Sourced by the supreme dudes at...

https://twitter.com/deadposhuk/

And the full Avril, with the restoration of the Pickled Wilfred...

The Family Way 1966 lobby card 2.jpg



Stop me alt cover.jpg


.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Their most uneven. Some proper masterpieces (Dreamt, Share, Vulgar) rub shoulders with some real clunkers (Birthday, Elbow - both contenders for their worst ever songs). Furthermore, I’ve always felt that Stop Me is kind of overrated, and I’ve never gotten into Disco Dancer. Rush, Coma and Started, however, are all magnificent songs.

Love the feel of the album, though. It’s very wistful, very English. And the production is warm and rich.

I’ll give the album as a whole 8/10.
 
M

Mandingo

Guest
I always thought it had spooky serial killer atmosphere - like he was disappearing into fog. I wonder if it was the precursor of Jack the Ripper?
Perhaps or he just happened to spot the link to the venue when he last played there, he always has some local knowledge that he slips in wherever he plays but that was particularly clever.
 
I always thought it had spooky serial killer atmosphere - like he was disappearing into fog. I wonder if it was the precursor of Jack the Ripper?
I'm always surprised when people hate on Death At One's Elbow. I have a soft spot for it, I LOVE the gory lyrics in combination with the weird "country"/rockabilly/psychobilly vibe. It's Strangeways' Vicar In A Tutu.

Maybe it's because I'm also a big Misfits fan and thematically it always reminded me of something they could have done (the fact that M sings it as a warning to "Glenn" probably helped, although that's obviously just a coincidence.)

The click track and sound effects at the beginning are such a great kick-off. It's also the only song Johnny did backing vocals on. "His tremulous quaver on Death at one’s elbow is a honeyed flow, although he insists that he cannot sing."

Bit of background on the lyrics from Mozipedia:

"It was significant that the song’s title was taken from the diaries of 60s playwright Joe Orton, beaten to death with a hammer by his lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967. Returning to his home in Leicester the day before his mother’s funeral on 28 December 1966, Orton wrote: ‘As the corpse is downstairs in the main living room it means going out or watching television with death at one’s elbow.’"
 
Last edited:

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
I'm always surprised when people hate on Death At One's Elbow. I have a soft spot for it, I LOVE the gory lyrics in combination with the weird "country"/rockabilly/psychobilly vibe. It's Strangeways' Vicar In A Tutu.
Maybe it's because I'm also a big Misfits fan and thematically it always reminded me of something they could have done (the fact that M sings it as a warning to "Glenn" probably helped, although that's obviously just a coincidence.)
The click track and sound effects at the beginning are such a great kick-off. It's also the only song Johnny did backing vocals on. "His tremulous quaver on Death at one’s elbow is a honeyed flow, although he insists that he cannot sing."

Bit of background on the lyrics from Mozipedia:

"It was significant that the song’s title was taken from the diaries of 60s playwright Joe Orton, beaten to death with a hammer by his lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967. Returning to his home in Leicester the day before his mother’s funeral on 28 December 1966, Orton wrote: ‘As the corpse is downstairs in the main living room it means going out or watching television with death at one’s elbow.’"
I, personally, find that rockabilly riff completely unremarkable on Elbow. A pedestrian effort, and perhaps starkly so given the lushness of other tracks.
 
In celebration of the anniversary, The Smiths' Facebook page posted a link to a misleadingly titled, mistake-riddled article. As reaffirmed by Mike Joyce's comments tonight, the recording of Strangeways was by no means "fraught", apparently they had a great (if not the best) time in the studio.(Or at least the band and Street did.)


(The Morrissey quote at the end of the article is from 1994, not 2007.)
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
Elbow and Birthday are the clunkers on the album for me too. And I’ve never much cared for Never Had No One either.

Meat Is Murder is the flawless masterpiece, I feel. And only the production lets the debut down—otherwise that’s perfect too.
This is where you and I agree most. I recently expressed the exact same sentiment in another thread. Meat is Murder and the debut feel the most like proper, cohesive albums. All songs coming from a similar place emotionally and tonally, the production (for better or worse) giving them all a unified sense of place. I've always felt like TQID and Strangeways were sort of wobbly, uneven collections of songs that don't particularly feel like "albums."

Funny thing. For a band that doesn't really have a single bad song, their albums aren't all that great. In my opinion, with the exception of Kill Uncle, the first 10 years of Morrissey's solo career functions better in the album format than the recorded output of The Smiths.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I'm always surprised when people hate on Death At One's Elbow. I have a soft spot for it, I LOVE the gory lyrics in combination with the weird "country"/rockabilly/psychobilly vibe. It's Strangeways' Vicar In A Tutu.
Maybe it's because I'm also a big Misfits fan and thematically it always reminded me of something they could have done (the fact that M sings it as a warning to "Glenn" probably helped, although that's obviously just a coincidence.)
The click track and sound effects at the beginning are such a great kick-off. It's also the only song Johnny did backing vocals on. "His tremulous quaver on Death at one’s elbow is a honeyed flow, although he insists that he cannot sing."

Bit of background on the lyrics from Mozipedia:

"It was significant that the song’s title was taken from the diaries of 60s playwright Joe Orton, beaten to death with a hammer by his lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967. Returning to his home in Leicester the day before his mother’s funeral on 28 December 1966, Orton wrote: ‘As the corpse is downstairs in the main living room it means going out or watching television with death at one’s elbow.’"

I love the whole album. I think Elbow's a great track. Very Gothic Folk Horror.

Coincidentally, I also love Joe Orton & he & Moz are together on my pin board.

20200928_235942.jpg
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
@Hovis Lesley, if you could turn the clock back and choose a different producer for The Smiths debut, who would you pick? What kind of sound would you go for?

It may seem silly to some, but I've often fantasized about a version of the debut that was produced in the same style as the first Dire Straits album. "Still Ill" should have had the same lean and agile touch that "Sultans of Swing" has. I can hear it so clearly.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
This is where you and I agree most. I recently expressed the exact same sentiment in another thread. Meat is Murder and the debut feel the most like proper, cohesive albums. All songs coming from a similar place emotionally and tonally, the production (for better or worse) giving them all a unified sense of place. I've always felt like TQID and Strangeways were sort of wobbly, uneven collections of songs that don't particularly feel like "albums."

Funny thing. For a band that doesn't really have a single bad song, their albums aren't all that great. In my opinion, with the exception of Kill Uncle, the first 10 years of Morrissey's solo career functions better in the album format than the recorded output of The Smiths.
Well, you clearly won’t be convinced but that’s what I love about Dog: It holds together really well, I feel, as a start to finish listening experience.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
Well, you clearly won’t be convinced but that’s what I love about Dog: It holds together really well, I feel, as a start to finish listening experience.
I know what you mean. I once had four straight days of raging indigestion that also held together as a cohesive sort of experience from start to finish.
 

Trending Threads

Top Bottom