Several months after releasing their first album, the Smiths issued the singles and rarities collection Hatful of Hollow, establishing a tradition of repackaging their material as many times and as quickly as possible. While several cuts on Hatful of Hollow are BBC versions of songs from The Smiths, the versions on the compilation are nervy and raw -- and they're also not the selling point of the record. The Smiths treated singles as individual entities, not just ways to promote an album, and many of their finest songs were never issued on their studio albums. Hatful of Hollow contains many of these classics, including the sweet rush of "William, It Was Really Nothing," and the sardonic "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," the tongue-in-cheek lament of "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want," the wistful "Back to the Old House," "Girl Afraid," and the pulsating, tremolo-laced masterpiece "How Soon Is Now?" With such strong material forming the core of the album, it's little wonder that Hatful of Hollow is as consistent as The Smiths and arguably captures the excitement surrounding the band even better.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine