How Will I Laugh... is crucial to Suicidal Tendencies stylistic developments in that it sees the band abandoning most of their full-fledged punk influences in favor of a more thrash metal-oriented sound. One could see this stylistic changes in this album's predecessor Join the Army, but this album had a distinctly more defined metal sound; more complex and lengthy songs, as well as better production values.
The addition of a rhythm guitarist, Mike Clark (who had played in Muir's side band No Mercy, which was supposed to originally be a metal only side project) changed the band's style heavily as well. Clark writes much of the music for this album, and he gives lead guitarist Rocky George more soloing time. Thus creating another factor in this album and future albums' more metal-oriented sound.
Reviews for How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today have been mostly positive. AllMusic's Steve Huey awards the album four-and-a-half stars out of five, and described it as "one of its best efforts". For the musical direction, Huey states, "The band's thrashy fusion of its hardcore roots with speed metal was fully developed by this point, and Mike Muir's social commentary and self-analysis were as ragingly compelling and by turns amusing as ever."
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today was semi-successful, peaking at #111 on the Billboard 200. It remained on that chart for eleven weeks. The album featured singles "Trip at the Brain" and the title track, both of which managed to become successful with their target audiences.
In August 2014, Revolver placed the album on its "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own" list.
Track notes: "Suicyco Mania" is exclusive to the CD version of the album and does not appear on the vinyl or cassette versions. A near instrumental version (removing all the vocals outside of the title chant) was released as the B-side of "Trip at the Brain" and can also be heard on theF.N.G.compilation.