The Smiths never really could do any wrong. I mean that. Everything they did, save maybe a song or two in their career, was pure gold to my ears. Meat is Murder is just another chapter in their illustrious career.
Johnny Marr is clearly the star of this album. His guitar shimmers, jingles, glides, twists and turns. His ideas are crisp and he executes them with precision. And I'll be like the 25 thousanth person to say that his guitar on "How Soon is Now?" is one of the most mesmorizing, gorgeous guitar parts of all time.
Morrissey's approach seems little more...I dunno...dry on Meat is Murder. The vocal melodies are there, but there's an undertone of sadness that seems more evident and palpable than on their debut. Even The Queen is Dead has moments of slight levity. Here he sounds kind of depressed in a rainy day in London sort of way (especially on one of my favorite songs, "Well I Wonder" - which is appropriate since it actually has rain sound effects towards the end). I mean, he's always had a sad streak going on, but he usually matches it with dry wit and humour to balance it out. Not so much here that I can tell.
Now, regarding the much maligned title track. Look, I don't care for the mooing cows much either, nor the overdramatic message, and nor will I ever become a vegetarian. But the song itself isn't as horrible as others make it out to be. It's a little....dramatic, sure. But I don't think it *quite* ruins the album. If anything, it just reinforces to me that this album is the one to take the most seriously as subject matter, I suppose. Even the song before it, "Barbarianism Begins at Home," has a "plodding with a purpose" sort of feel to it. Like it's travelling to a specific destination and nothing will stop it.
It's not usually the first Smiths album I pull out when I'm in the mood for Moz & co., but by no means does that mean it's not a dang good album.