“Hatful of Hollow” by The Smiths: where to begin?
Probably not the best Smiths album, and certainly not their first, it is however my favourite.
The first Smiths album, the eponymously titled (Pretentious? Moi?) “The Smiths” was released at the start of 1984, and “Hatful” at the tail end of the same year. Whilst their debut was relatively polished, “Hatful” was a Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from Radio 1 sessions, odd-bin recordings, and pieces of Morrissey’s falorn heart spirited into life by the electric fingers of Johnny Marr. Like The Monster, “Hatful” was raw, thrashing, dizzy, smokey, and drunk, but also melancholy, lovelorn, shy and alone. As a young, frustrated ginger student in the 80s this album spoke to me more than any other music had ever done before. And probably since.
The jangling guitar at the opening of “William, It Was Really Nothing” to me still heralds memories of the start of a frenzied, drunken student Friday night. Slug a few cans before jumping in a cab heading for town. The sleezy “This Charming Man” is followed by the drunken haze of “How Soon Is Now”. A quick tactical vomit at “Still Ill” before heading “Back To The Old House” alone.
“Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”.
“Hatful” has two of my favourite Smiths tracks ever: “How Soon Is Now” and “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”. To me, today, they still sound electric and make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
My unworthy review has had many rewrites, but my love for this beautiful, raw album is constant.