The first line of the first song on the first Smiths album contains, like some fractal, the essence of their entire oeuvre.
"It's time the tale were told of how you took a child and you made him old," sings Morrissey, encapsulating the adolescent angst which blossomed over and over throughout the band's career, with varying degrees of wit, empathy, contempt and self-pity. In Johnny Marr's endlessly inventive playing, meanwhile, the arpeggiating strands of African guitar music and West Coast folk-rock combined to lay the groundwork for a generation of Britpop six-string artisans. Remastered by Marr, the band's entire oeuvre is assembled here on 8CDs housed in replica album sleeves whose lyric screeds may possibly be read with the assistance of an electron microscope; alternatively, you can splash out for the "super deluxe" version offering the albums on both vinyl and CD, along with 25 vinyl singles (anorak optional).
Download This: How Soon Is Now; There Is A Light That Never Goes Out; This Charming Man; Panic; Girlfriend In A Coma