Dec 15, 2011

Kyle's Cassettes: The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs

The Smiths
Louder Than Bombs
1987 Sire

Hands down this is probably the weirdest tape that I own. I came across someone’s entire collection of Smiths tapes a while back and bought them all because, even though I own them all on LP, it was like what the fuck? It’s a no brainer right, I mean it’s like a no duh situation because it’s THE SMITHS, you just got to have it.

Whatever though. I originally intended to use these as visual artifacts more than actual audio documents. However, when my girlfriend and I moved in together there were like two weeks when my records, still packed up, were un-playable. All we had was an old AM/FM stereo with a tape player. And presto: I was all, ”Wait a minute dear, let me just dig out my entire collection of Smiths tapes to get us through these challenging first few of weeks co-habitation.”

In retrospect The Smiths may have saved what has turned out to be the greatest relationship of my life. I should write Morrissey a letter, but I probably won’t because I’m not one of those fans that brings flowers to his shows and then cry all over the place when he starts playing “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.” I’m just not going out like that. But whatever, I’m not even to the point about how weird this tape is.

By the time I got around to putting Louder Than Bombs on I was pretty deep into the zone, as in like I didn’t want to listen to anything non-Smiths related at that point. So you could imagine my surprise when side two clicked on and I was all juiced to hear “Ask,” “Golden Lights,” etc. and Herb Alpert came on. Apparently whoever had owned this tape prior to me had jammed some little bits of paper into the little divots on top of the tape, thereby making it a recordable cassette. With this industriously won freedom they chose to record Herb Alpert’s 1979 jazz/instrumental pop/disco opus Rise. It was, given my circumstantial desolation, an unnerving moment for me, but I let it ride.

Rise is a pretty tight album on its own terms, a little soft here and there, but overall a pretty smooth affair. Biggy actually sampled the title cut for “Hypnotize.” So maybe you’re feeling me now. This is all kind of beside the point though. The point is that of all of the records in the world to put together why would you choose these two? I mean is this some sort of statement or is it just the mad rambling of some musical savant? The shit is post-modern. Whatever the case, this is the sort of thing that gives me hope. Of all the things in this world that there are to know you can never know them all and there is a certain beauty in that notion. This tape is somehow the realization of that very notion made physical. Many things in this world are more rare than you might realize.

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