Though I kind of feel like I’m cheating using this album since it’s a compilation album, Louder Than Bombs was originaly released in the U.S. only, made up of singles and B-sides that hadn’t yet been released in America on any albums or singles, as well as a few other tracks that were added. However, out of all The Smiths’ albums this is without a doubt the one I’ve come back to most frequently.
Louder Than Bombs for the most part displays The Smiths’ at their most pop-friendly with catchy numbers such as “William, It Was Really Nothing” and “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby”. And even though it features some of The Smiths’ most easily accessible material, Morrissey’s signature lyrics are just as gloomy as on any Smiths record, but the melodies are nonetheless infectious. And even though many people criticize Morrissey’s lyrics for being altogether depressing, I think many of the songs on this album show Morrisey displaying a wide range of subjects and themes lyrically. You’ve also got plenty of layers of Johnny Marr’s jangly guitars that have always been at the heart of The Smiths’ sound, and I’d say he gives many of the songs a much warmer sound on this album.
Although overall Louder Than Bombs features what is probably among The Smiths’ poppiest material, they still cover a wide range of song styles on the albums lengthy 72 minute running time. Songs like “Sweet and Tender Hooligan” and “London” show a much more aggressive approach, while songs like “Half A Person” and “Ask” are hopelessly romantic ballads.
Though I don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to all 24 of the tracks on Louder Than Bombs in one sitting, there really isn’t any filler on this album, and displays Johnny Marr and Morrissey’s songwriting prowess from start to finish. You’d be hard pressed to find a single UK alternative band that haven’t been at least somewhat influenced by The Smiths, and Louder Than Bombs is a shining example of why.
Favorite Tracks: “William, It Was Really Nothing”, “Ask”, “The Night Has Opened My Eyes”