‘Panic’ is one of the better-known tracks from Louder Than Bombs, The Smiths’ 1987 compilation of singles and B-sides that hadn’t had a U.S. release. Pound for pound, this album rivals any of the band’s studio releases.
The story goes that Morrissey and Johnny Marr wrote ‘Panic’ after listening to coverage of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster followed immediately by a silly pop song. The opening verses describe a chaotic scene as people react to world events, before the chorus shifts to a call to arms against the DJ whose music choices are too frivolous.
I have a great musical memory.
I don’t mean that I can easily recall melodies or lyrics. On the contrary, I butcher the lyrics even to songs I know very well.
I mean that I can vividly remember the experience of hearing certain songs — the time, the place, the people I’m with.
I know there aren’t a lot of Smiths fans in these parts (at least not among my frequent commenters) so I’m sure today’s Random Weekend selection will go unappreciated.
But I love it. ‘London’ is exactly the sort of track that makes this band, and the compilation album Louder Than Bombs in particular, a favorite of mine.
I’m interrupting this weekend’s random selection for a last-minute movie review/song appreciation.
I just got in from seeing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a lovely adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 novel (Chbosky wrote the screenplay and directed the film himself). The movie contains several references to the song ‘Asleep’ by The Smiths — the closing track of their 1987 singles compilation Louder Than Bombs.
The Smiths released a lot of non-album singles and B-sides during their first few years, as well as a couple of Britain-only compilation albums. In 1987, American record company Sire Records compiled all of those tracks and released them in the U.S. on a double album titled Louder Than Bombs.
Only a couple of these tunes can be considered throwaways: a syrupy cover of Twinkle’s ‘Golden Lights’ and instrumental track ‘Oscillate Wildly.’ The rest are solid enough to make this collection of 24 odds and ends an unofficial fifth Smiths studio album.