Released: November 1984 H Feburary 1987 W July 7, 1987 L
HHatful of Hollow WThe World Won’t Listen LLouder Than Bombs
H W L
Album Tracks: H
William, It Was Really Nothing L
What Difference Does It Make?
These Things Take Time L
This Charming Man
How Soon Is Now?
Hand in Glove L
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now L
This Night Has Opened My Eyes L
You’ve Got Everything Now
Girl Afraid L
Back to the Old House L
Reel Around the Fountain
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want L
L Featured on Louder Than Bombs.
Album Tracks: W
Bigmouth Strikes Again
Shakespeare’s Sister L
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
Shoplifters of the World Unite L
The Boy with the Thorn in His Side
Money Changes Everything *
Half a Person L
Stretch Out and Wait L
That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
Oscillate Wildly L
You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby L
Rubber Ring L
Golden Lights * L
L Featured on Louder Than Bombs.
* featured on 18-track version of the album
Is It Really So Strange?
Sheila Take a Bow
Shoplifters of the World Unite W
Sweet and Tender Hooligan
Half a Person W
Girl Afraid H
Shakespeare’s Sister W
William, It Was Really Nothing H
You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby W
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now H
Golden Lights W
Oscillate Wildly W
These Things Take Time H
Rubber Ring W
Back to the Old House H
Hand in Glove H
Stretch Out and Wait W
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want H
This Night Has Opened My Eyes H
H Originally on Hatful of Hollow. W Originally on The World Won’t Listen.
-- H, W, L
300,000 H, -- W, L
-- H, W, L
300,000 H, -- W, L
-- H, W, 62 L
7 H, 7 W, 38 L
Hand in GloveH, L (5/83) --
This Charming ManH (11/12/83) #25 UK
What Difference Does It Make?H (1/28/84) #12 UK
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable NowH, L (6/2/84) #10 UK
William, It Was Really NothingH, L (9/1/84) #17 UK
How Soon Is NowH (2/9/85) #16 UK
Shakespeare’s SisterW, L (3/30/85) #26 UK
That Joke Isn’t Funny AnymoreW (7/13/85) #49 UK
The Boy with the Thorn in His SideW (10/5/85) #23 UK
Bigmouth Strikes AgainW (5/31/86) #26 UK
PanicW, L (8/2/86) #11 UK
AskW, L (11/1/86) #14 UK
Shoplifters of the World UniteW, L (2/7/87) #12 UK
Sheila Take a BowL (4/25/87) #10 UK
There Is a Light That Never Goes OutW (10/24/92) #25 UK
Louder Than Bombs
Hatful of Hollow/ The World Won’t Listen
The Smiths released only four studio albums over their short career from 1984 to 1987. However, it was only months “after releasing their first album, [that] the Smiths issued the singles and rarities collection Hatful of Hollow, establishing” (Erlewine H).
a “funny, annoying, and/or incredible thing about both the Smiths and Morrissey” (DiGravina) – “a tradition of repackaging their material as many times and as quickly as possible” (Erlewine H). This may not be entirely troublesome to Smiths fanatics, however, since “many people consider the Morrissey/Marr duo to be the last great songwriting team [hence] any release by the Smiths is indispensable” (DiGravina) to “any die hard fan of the Smiths” (DiGravina). Besides, “many of their finest songs were never issued on their studio albums” (Erlewine H) because “the Smiths treated singles as individual entities, not just ways to promote an album” (Erlewine H).
“In 1987, Rough Trade released…two collections of singles and B-sides by the Smiths” (DiGravina). “U.K. fans were handed The World Won’t Listen, with 16 tracks” (DiGravina), although an 18-track version was released as well. That album collected non-album singles and cuts from 1985-1986 as well as the singles featured on Meat Is Murder and The Queen Is Dead.
Meanwhile, though, “the U.S. audience saw the release of Louder Than Bombs, which collected 24 assorted tracks” DiGravina), 13 of which had been on Listen. “Since Hatful of Hollow was unavailable in the U.S. at the time of the release of Louder Than Bombs this compilation contains” (Erlewine L) 8 cuts from that album, “which makes the record a little redundant for most Smiths fans” (Erlewine L).
The result is that “Louder Than Bombs is an overlong and unfocused collection that nevertheless boasts a wealth of brilliant material” (Erlewine L). Bombs mostly does a great service by tidying up the Hollow and Listen collections. By whittling out the songs on those collections that appeared on the Smiths’ studio albums, Bombs fits neatly beside the studio albums without overlap. The one exception is the presence of Hand in Glove, the band’s first single. This seems an odd choice since there were still three non-album cuts (Handsome Devil, Accept Yourself, and Money Changes Everything) from Hollow and Listen that weren’t transported over to Bombs.
However, let’s focus on what is here. Hollow and Bombs share a fair share of “classics, including the sweet rush of William, It Was Really Nothing, and the sardonic Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, the tongue-in-cheek lament of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, the wistful Back to the Old House, [and] Girl Afraid” (Erlewine H). “With such strong material forming the core of the album, it’s little wonder that Hatful of Hollow is as consistent as The Smiths and arguably captures the excitement surrounding the band even better” (Erlewine H).
Unique to “Hatful of Hollow are BBC versions of songs from The Smiths, the versions on the compilation are nervy and raw – and they’re also not the selling point of the record” (Erlewine H). Amongst the studio album singles, there is “the pulsating, tremolo-laced masterpiece How Soon Is Now?” (Erlewine H).
As for The World Won’t Listen and its shared tracks with Louder Than Bombs – while they contain “some of the worst material the group ever recorded, including the bland instrumental Oscillate Wildly and a cover of Twinkle’s Golden Light” (Erlewine L). However, “Shakespeare’s Sister, Panic, Ask, [and] Shoplifters of the World Unite…are all definitive, as are “the sneering, bouncing pop of You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby” (Erlewine L) and “the elegiac Unloveable, Asleep, Stretch Out and Wait, and Half a Person” (Erlewine L).
Bombs also adds “the bizarre travelogue of Is It Really So Strange?” (Erlewine L), Sheila Take a Bow, and Sweet and Tender Hooligan, all of which rank with the Smiths’ best.
In the end, the completist will have all three of these collections. However, in the DMDB’s opinion, Louder Than Bombs not only outshines the other two collections, but the Smiths’ studio albums as well. The Queen Is Dead may be the band’s most acclaimed album, but with classics like ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,’ ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,’ ‘William It Was Really Nothing,’ ‘Is It Really So Strange?,’ ‘Sheila Take a Bow,’ and ‘Half a Person,’ on the same album, Bombs showcases the best of the Smiths throughout their career, making it the ideal launch pad for beginners.