Best of the Bay 2011: BEST HOW SOON IS WOW

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Smiths-mania is an admirable torment that afflicts any teen worth her salt who craves morosely literate lyrics paired with driving, jangly melodies. It can continue to affect its victims well into adulthood, too — from nostalgic Gen-Xers who slip on Meat is Murder when the sky is gray and the black dog is growling softly, to folks like author Simon Goddard, whose Mozipedia meticulously breaks down the particulars of every song the 1980s British group recorded. Another work of genius that a feverish Smiths obsession has engendered? Janice Whaley's The Smiths Project. The Bay Area singer produced a six-CD, 71-song a cappella recreation of the melancholic Mancunians' entire catalog — in one year. The ingeniously layered beauty of Whaley's voice fills in all the parts of classics like "How Soon is Now" and "The Queen is Dead." But all the ache of the originals remains.

thesmithsproject.blogspot.com