Music News: You’re Not Supposed To Buy The New Smiths Compilation, Plus David Archuleta, Same Difference, Christina Aguilera, Steps

GuestbloggerRobbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

The two-disc "Deluxe Edition" Sound Of The Smiths was released on Tuesday by Sire/Rhino, and I told myself I wouldn’t buy it. After all, wasn’t it Morrissey who sang, "Best of, most of, satiate the need/ Slip them into diffferent sleeves, buy both and feel deceived," in "Paint A Vulgar Picture" 21 years ago?

SmithsdeluxeYeah, so I bought it. And the band pictures inside the included booklet are lush and glossy. Most of them I’ve never even seen before. The booklet itself  even smells like the books you bought as a kid to put all your Scratch-and-Sniff stickers in.

Previously unavailable (in the U.S.) b-sides "Jeane" and "Wonderful Woman," the "New York Vocal" remix of "This Charming Man" and the demo of "Pretty Girls Make Graves" might still evoke some interest from those who are a tad dubious about giving Warner Bros. any more money for yet another Smiths compilation…so it’s good that The Sound Of The Smiths is available on iTunes, for single-song picking and choosing.

None of the band’s prior albums had ever been put up for download at the online store, possibly because of Morrissey and Johnny Marr’s longstanding legal woes with their former bandmates. Also fulfilling the "Paint A Vulgar Picture" lyrical prophecy of "Extra track and a tacky badge," the iTunes edition of the collection contains the rarity "The Draize Train."

It should be stated that in the whole 28-page booklet, there aren’t any liner notes. But those photos are really glossy.

road.jpg  Some music clips for the week:

1. Christina Aguilera, "Keeps Gettin’ Better": Title track from her greatest hits set, out this week in Target stores only, and available everywhere next Tuesday.

2. Same Difference, "We R One": Debut U.K. single from the brother-sister duo who were last year’s X Factor runner-ups. It’s like Grease and High School Musical meets Steps.

3. Steps, "Stomp": In the spirit of Same Difference, the lead single from the now-disbanded pop quintet’s third and final album.

4. David Archuleta, "Crush" on the Today Show. Pretty flat, but kudos for actually singing live.

David_archuletaroad.jpg  THE WEEK’S NEW RELEASES:

American Idol runner-up David Archuleta’s self-titled debut.

Taylor Swift’s second studio album Fearless. First day sales totalled 217,000. By comparison, this week’s #1 album, the Twilight soundtrack, sold 165,000 over the course of the whole week prior.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman’s Our Bright Future.

Enrique Iglesias’ Greatest Hits, containing the new songs "Away" (featuring Sean Garrett) and "Takin’ Back My Love" (featuring Ciara).

Lost_2R&B singer Deborah Cox’s The Promise.

Coldplay’s "Lost!" EP, containing a stripped-down piano version of the song, a live version and a remix featuring Jay-Z.

T-Pain’s third album Thr33 Ringz.

Enya’s winter/holiday-themed seventh album And Winter Came… .

Seal’s collection of cover versions, Soul.

New singles from Keith Urban ("Sweet Thing"), The Script ("Before The Worst") and Nickelback ("If Today Was Your Last Day").


  1. crispy says

    I’m not in favor of a blanket boycott against all Mormons, but for Archuleta I’d make an exception.

  2. Paul R says

    I’m still embarrassed about sleeping with Pete Shelley on the first Buzzcocks reunion tour (circa 1991, when he was still presentable), and having brunch the next day with him and a guy who looked REALLY familiar. But I was slightly hungover and it just never hit me.

    Then I got home and my roommate said, “My god, you had brunch with Mike Joyce?”

    Hilarious. I also got a signed CD from Pete, the incessant mocking of many friends, and the nickname “Starfucker.”

    I still think the Smiths are being horrible hypocrites (along with Bowie and Saint Etienne, among others) for all this reissue, repackage, etc.

  3. Henry Holland says

    Paul R., The Smiths have no say whether WB put out comps; a standard record contract gives away that right. That said, they were hypocrites when they were together as both “Hatful of Hollow” and “Louder Than Bombs”/”The World Won’t Listen” were B-sides/radio/leftovers comps. Plus, compared to how much The Who, Deep Purple and other classic rock bands like that have been endlessly recycled, The Smiths are pretty good. Still, doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, The Smiths are one of the greatest rock bands ever and will forever be a source of comfort for shy, lonely gay boys the world over.

  4. Jack says

    Listening to the Smiths always makes me feel better. The new CDs sound is not as crisp as I would like, but I don’t care. And Tracey Chapman is awesome. Try to catch her in concert – she plays for at least two hours each show. Just terrific.

  5. Paul R says

    Henry, I see your point and mostly agree. Hatful of Hollow came out oddly early in their career (though initially only as an import, as I recall paying a fortune for it). But it is a fantastic compilation! The World Won’t Listen didn’t have nearly as good a dynamic, and those Smiths Best 1… and 2… were just way over the line.

    If they had a contract with WB, presumably it was for a set number of records, whether new material or recycled. That doesn’t give WB the right to put out a new compilation whenever it wants, does it?

    I guess I’m also ticked that it’s a double CD, which double the ripoff quotient. But they do have sufficient quality material to fill two CDs…Whenever I listen to them now I laugh at all the sexual innuendo I never caught when I first listened to the records 24 years ago. Though I should add that Moz and the band have provided a lot of solace for straight boys, too.

  6. Alex says

    I think we’re forgetting the great thing about this Smiths comp is it’s REMASTERED. Fortunately Rhino is doing the remastering (they did a beautiful job with The Talking Heads albums). I am skipping this comp in hopes that the albums will all be reissued (I need to get cracking and get the New Order ones Rhino just did!).

    I did make a playlist with all the tracks on the first disc of that comp and it’s a pretty good mix. Nice to see a lot of Meat is Murder tracks getting their due.

    And this will sound like heresy, but I prefer listening to Louder Than Bombs to Hatful of Hollow. Maybe it’s because it’s got more tracks or something.

  7. ChrisM says

    Rarely does a band own their own catalog or masters of their music. Actually many times they are fortunate if they had enough forsight to protect themselves as far as continued royalities go. So I evaluate every comp, best of, ultimate collection, etc., etc., etc., that comes along and determine if it is worth my money or if I’m simply duplicating what I already have. Sometimes remastered product is well worth the money however, that isn’t always the case as some original material actually suffers from sloppy work and a total misunderstanding of the material with which they are working while being remastered.