Meat Is Murder Explained

Meat Is Murder
Type:studio
Artist:The Smiths
Released:11 February 1985
Recorded:Autumn 1984
Genre:Alternative rock, indie pop
Length:39:46
Label:Rough Trade
Producer:The Smiths
Last Album:The Smiths
(1984)
This Album:Meat Is Murder
(1985)
Next Album:The Queen Is Dead
(1986)

Meat Is Murder is the second studio album by the English alternative rock band The Smiths. It was released in February 1985 and became the band's sole number one album in the UK charts during the band's lifetime, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. It reached number 110 in the US. In 2003, the album was ranked number 295 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Writing and recording

After the relative production disappointment of the band's debut album The Smiths, singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr produced the album themselves, assisted only by engineer Stephen Street, whom they had first met on the session for "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and requested the contact number of.[1] Officially, the record's production is credited to "The Smiths", with Rourke and Joyce allowed say about their instruments' sound-levels in the mixing.

Meat Is Murder was more strident and political than its predecessor, including the pro-vegetarian title track (Morrissey forbade the rest of the group from being photographed eating meat), the light-hearted "Nowhere Fast" and the anti-corporal punishment "The Headmaster Ritual" and "Barbarism Begins at Home". Musically, the band had grown more adventurous, with Marr adding rockabilly riffs to "Rusholme Ruffians" and Rourke playing a funk bass on "Barbarism Begins at Home".

Morrissey also brought a political stance to many of his interviews, courting further controversy. Among his targets were the Thatcher administration, the monarchy, and Band Aid. Morrissey famously quipped of the last, "One can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it's another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of England."[2]

Release

The subsequent single-only release "Shakespeare's Sister" was not a great success in chart terms, nor was "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore", the sole single from the album. Many considered this an odd choice for a single, with its backwards guitar and lack of any consistent hook. The charts reflected this, with it barely cracking the top 50, peaking at 49. September 1985's "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side", however, was an indication of bigger things to come.

The song "How Soon Is Now?", originally issued as the B-side of "William, It Was Really Nothing", was added on to the U.S. edition of Meat Is Murder after becoming a success in American dance clubs and on alternative radio (it was also added to post-1992 WEA re-issues of the album). This song was eventually released as a single in its own right in the UK, reaching No. 24 in the charts. Two Meat Is Murder album tracks—"Well I Wonder" (from the "How Soon Is Now?" single) and "What She Said" (from the "Shakespeare's Sister" single)—were also originally B-sides of singles. The 2011 remaster of Meat Is Murder restored the album's original UK track listing.

Cover

The album's sleeve features an edited still from Emile de Antonio's 1968 documentary In the Year of the Pig. The legend on the soldier's helmet originally read "Make War Not Love". On vinyl and American CD releases, four copies of the image were used, whereas only one was used on European CD issues (presumably for reasons of legibility).

Track listing

"How Soon Is Now?" was added to the U.S. edition and to post-1992 UK WEA re-issues, as track 6. The 2011 remaster restored the original UK track listing.

Personnel

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Interview With Stephen Street. HitQuarters. 27 Sep 2005. 12 May 2010.
  2. Web site: 18 November 2004. Band Aid vs. Morrissey.... http. Overyourhead.co.uk. 22 April 2007.