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Hatful of Hollow – The Smiths

The Smiths Hatful of Hollow

Hatful of Hollow

(1984), 8.5/10
More like a compilation of available tracks than the proper followup to their debut, Hatful of Hollow flows well enough that it feels like a studio album. Five of the tracks are BBC Radio 1 recordings of material from their eponymous debut, while the group’s non-album singles to that point are also included. Hatful of Hollow is largely in the style of the debut, but with more diversity coming from the later singles, while the reworked songs are tangibly rawer than their original incarnations.

Many of the tracks still have a relatively low key approach, although the excellent singles ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’, ‘William It Was Really Nothing’ and particularly the more elaborate and pulsing ‘How Soon is Now?’ stand out with more direct arrangements. The sameness tends to bury some of the less memorable tracks, particularly in the second half of the album, but Hatful of Hollow is filled with gems. Opener ‘William It Was Really Nothing’ is an utterly perfect two minute pop song, ‘The Night Has Opened My Eyes’ has an alluringly mellow riff, while the plaintive ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ is concise and gorgeous.

Hatful of Hollow is a much stronger buy than their debut and contains many of the same tracks – unless you’re a hardcore fan, you might just want to skip the debut and start here.

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