Sunday, February 15, 2004

#72) The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (released in 1986, I seriously cannot remember where or when I got it on cassette)

Song for song I’d argue Morrissey’s solo career is much more consistent than that of the Smiths, but as far as this “juvenilia” goes, what’s worth having is definitely worth having. Ironically, it’s not the guitars that the Smiths sometimes have on the later stuff but the rhythm section – sometimes Andy Rourke’s bass is as attention-grabbing as Morrissey’s witticisms. Sprightliness is what these guys do best, and The Queen Is Dead is their most energetic work (Louder Than Bombs sadly separates the crooners from the rockers, making side two almost intolerable for me). “Never Had No One Never” bored me less back when I’d had no one never, but “Boy With The Thorn His Side” still entertains even if I don’t feel that misunderstood anymore. Any critic who doesn’t get a kick of out “Bigmouth Strikes Again” is either a jerk not enough of a jerk to be a good critic: at the very least they should appreciate the munchkin chorus (U2, which the music reminds me of, could never be this playful). More and more this album makes me think about previously felt emotions rather than current ones (only the Mozz’s cries of premature burial at the end of “I Know It’s Over” keep me from smirking), but the irreverent spirit of the title track and the sweetness of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” helps makes this album one of the most acute and least torpid cries of adolescent isolation I’ve heard. Judging by what I hear on the radio, there isn’t much competition afoot.

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