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Released: Feb. 20, 1984

Rating: 4.406 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: college rock

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Reel Around the Fountain
  2. You’ve Got Everything Now
  3. Miserable Lie
  4. Pretty Girls Make Graves
  5. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
  6. This Charming Man
  7. Still Ill
  8. Hand in Glove
  9. What Difference Does It Make?
  10. I Don’t Owe You Anything
  11. Suffer Little Children

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 0.5
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 0.5


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 150
peak on U.K. album chart 2

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Hand in Glove (5/83) --
  • This Charming Man (11/12/83) #25 UK
  • What Difference Does It Make? (1/28/84) #12 UK


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums

The Smiths
The Smiths
“Arriving in an era dominated by synth pop and gloomy post-punk, the Smiths’ eponymous debut was the bracing beginning of a new era.” STE It is a showcase for “Morrissey’s morose wit and Johnny Marr’s guitar chime, trudging through England’s cheerless marshes in Still Ill and This Charming Man.” RS

On the surface, the Smiths’ sound wasn’t radically different from traditional British guitar pop – Johnny Marr’s ringing, layered guitars were catchy and melodic – but it was actually an astonishing subversion of the form, turning the structure inside out. Very few of the songs followed conventional verse-chorus structure, yet they were quite melodic within their own right” STE and the “juxtaposing of [Morrissey’s] lopsided grin of gloom and the light doodling of [Marr’s] almost always perfectly placed guitar was virtually unheard of.” CL

“Marr’s inventive songwriting was made all the more original and innovative by Morrissey’s crooning and lyrics” STE, “cultivated from a batch of Morrissey’s diaries.” CL “Writing about unconventional topics, from homosexuality (Hand in Glove) to child molestation and murder, Morrissey had a distinctively ironic, witty, and literate viewpoint whose strangeness was accentuated by his off-kilter voice, which would move from a croon to a yelp in a matter of seconds.” STE

“Reference points were rare, apart from Morrissey’s adopted Oscar Wilde demeanor, to which the press clung with a morbid fascination. It remains a delicate set of knowing quaffs and rounded, innocent eyes, beguiling the listener with some wonderfully crafted pop – when they weren’t laughing behind their hands.” CL

“While the production of The Smiths is a little pristine, the songs are vital and alive, developing a new, unique voice within pop music. Though the Smiths continued to improve over the course of their career, their debut remains startling and exciting.” STE

Review Source(s):
  • STE Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
  • CL Colin Larkin, Virgin All-Time Top 1000 Albums. (1998). Virgin Books: London, England.
  • RS Rolling Stone: The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (2005). Edited by Joe Levy. Wenner Media, LLC: New York, NY.

Related DMDB Link(s):

next album: the archival ‘Hatful of Hollow’ (1984) next studio album: Meat Is Murder (1985)

Hand in Glove (live video)

This Charming Man (video)

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Last updated May 22, 2010.