- Number of Discs: 8
- Released: September 26, 2011
- Label: Rhino
Magnet - p.51
"[W]hate emerges from COMPLETE is a guitarist equal to the likes of Ry Cooder and Mark Ribot: a master musician capable of creating new worlds as easily as he inhabited and recombined old ones without ever hogging the spotlight."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1104 stars out of 5
-- "LOUDER THAN BOMBS and THE WORLD WON'T LISTEN prove how indecently productive The Smiths were....[COMPLETE] affords a quarter-century pause to reflect that this epochal group ended at the right time."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.995 stars out of 5
-- "Marr's the one who soars on these records -- now more than ever....Morrissey sounds sensual -- check him out on 'Stretch Out And Wait' -- and altogether adult."
Uncut (magazine) - p.965 stars out of 5
-- "It took one single to make them seem interesting, another to confirm that they were special, and then an early 1984 b-side to prove that they were magnificent."
Personnel: Morrissey (vocals); Johnny Marr (guitar, mandolin, harmonica, piano, harmonium); Craig Gannon (guitar); Andy Rourke (cello, bass guitar); Mike Joyce (drums); Orchestrazia Ardwick.
Liner Note Author: Ivor Jones.
Photographers: Ian Tilton; Steve Wright; Jo?lle DepĒnt; Andy Catlin.
First off, no, this box set doesn't contain the Complete Smiths, not even in its super-deluxe edition containing vinyl replicas of the group's singles and LPs. Stray B-sides don't appear here, nor do the scrapped sessions for the first album and a few other heavily bootlegged numbers, but what is here are sterling remasters -- allegedly supervised by Johnny Marr -- of the band's four albums, three compilations, and lone live album, all released during the band's exceedingly brief lifespan. What matters is that the remastering is exceptional, the best comparison being the Beatles 2009 remasters, where layers of grime seemed to be removed from familiar recordings, so the songs sounded vibrant and alive, yet didn't sound tweaked, buttressed, or burnished for a new millennium. That is what makes The Complete Smiths essential: no surprises in terms of material, but the presentation is exquisite, sounding familiar and fresh, a stunning re-presentation of records that were teetering on the edge of over-familiarity. Guitars and vocals pop equally, the original mixes simply brightened, a task harder to achieve than it is to imagine, the music sounding part of its time yet easily transcending it. Far from a vulgar picture, this is what Smiths fans have been waiting years for. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine