The Smiths No. 2 - Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
Oddly, this album is the band's second-best when it has no business being. The group disbanded months prior to the album being released and there was little hope that even during the recording of the record the band was going to last much longer. Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr always seemed like a strange pairing as they approached music from different directions. There was no real humor to Marr's jazz-infused playing while Morrissey's words were almost always intended with a knowing smirk.
Recorded at the Wool Hall in Beckington, Somerset, England - a studio owned by the band Tears for Fears - the record has a much fuller sound than any of the band's previous three stuido albums. Maybe this is simply a creation of the studio itself (the Smiths might have borrowed a few ideas from Tears for Fears), but there is definitely a lushness to the songs.
The album charted well in the UK (the Smiths were never as successful in the United States as they were in the UK and Europe) and reached number 2 on the album charts. Critically, the record was received well and has since made some top-100 albums of the 1980s lists.
Four singles were released off the album, including "Girlfriend in a Coma," "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish," "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me," and "Stop Me if You Think You've Heard This One Before." At least two of those songs don't sound like tracks you'd hear on the radio now, but that's how brilliant the band was. And again, like many Smiths albums, some of the best tracks are not singles. "Unhappy Birthday," for instance, will get stuck in your head for days.