Disclaimer: I think I had better confess at this point, that I have a bit of a thing against the Smiths. This is mainly because my student days in the indie clubs of Durham (erm…) were plagued by the spectre of There’s A Light That Never Goes Out. We would be having a good time, dancing away to endless repeats of Mr Brightside by the Killers (those Durham DJs had it going on!) when Morrissey’s depressing tones would slice through the atmosphere, draining the joy from the room like a poetic dementor*. Suffice to say, Dave did not feel the same way (see below for a no doubt raving-review).
This is not to say that the Smiths are no good. Listening to this fortnight’s album, The Queen Is Dead is the first time I have heard much Smiths besides There’s A Light That Never Goes Out, and despite my prejudice I quite enjoyed some of it. The lyrics are at times excellent, but they are just so glum! And Morrissey’s voice could never be described as charismatic.
My favourite track on The Queen Is Dead is Frankly, Mr Shankly. At first this was because it is the most upbeat song on the album, but after a few listens the lyrics began to shine. Morrissey’s blend of poetry and pessimism works very well in a more whimsical context, and his account of a disgruntled employee is very entertaining.
This is an album to listen to when you’re feeling miserable; that is, if you want to remain miserable. I am saving I Know It’s Over in particular, for my next breakup. Hopefully I won’t have to use it; the bitterness in that song is enough to push anyone over the edge!
Lyric of the month: “Frankly, Mr Shankly, this position I’ve held, it pays my way and it corrodes my soul”