The The

Solitude

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Solitude collects alternate versions and remixes of songs from The The's back catalog as well as a couple of tracks from the Shades of Blue EP. For the most part, it's an entertaining, compelling album, but that's not to say the original versions of most of the songs aren't superior. Some tracks definitely fared better upon original release. "That Was the Day" is a slower, somewhat goofy alternate version of The The's minor classic "This Is the Day." It's weakest element seems to be the cheap-sounding keyboard that dominates the mix. It's almost as if the song has been turned into a theme song for a children's television program. "Dis-infected" in no way improves on the original song "Infected"; it simply creates a grungier atmosphere. "Jealous of Youth," the remixes of "The Violence of Truth" and "Helpline Operator," and the live version of "Another Boy Drowning" are immensely enjoyable. Thanks to the work of Johnny Marr, the four tracks suggest the common ground between The The and Marr's output with Electronic. Longtime fans of Matt Johnson and Johnny Marr should be overjoyed with all four tracks, though the remix of "The Violence of Truth" does percolate a bit too loosely at times. "Another Boy Drowning" sees Johnny Marr playing guitar in the virtuoso style he displayed on nearly every track with the Smiths. It's definitely nice to hear the live, Johnny Marr-era version of "Another Boy Drowning"; the song originally appeared on Burning Blue Soul. "Dolphins" and "Solitude" are two of the most beautiful, quiet songs Johnson has recorded; they're taken from the Shades of Blue EP. The remix of "Dogs of Lust," which closes the collection, is probably meant to sound like a fuzzier, underwater version of the song. Like most remixes, it pales in comparison to the original; the weird sound effects detract from the moody edges of the song as heard on Dusk. The The's Solitude is possessed of many fine charms. It would be best to look into the original albums before approaching these versions of the songs, though fans of Johnny Marr will need to have Solitude in their collections.

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