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From the Archives: 10 Years of Liking The Smiths

[First posted on my Tumblr September 16, 2017.]

As you know I’m a huge, huge fan of The Psychedelic Furs and wrote many blogs about them on [Tumblr]. How much I appreciated them, the concerts I attended, albums, and more. And also I wrote a couple blogs about Green Day, another band that I love. But on this blog I want to talk about The Smiths, another band that I love too.

I want to write this because it’s been 30 years since The Smiths broke up, and this month will be 30 years since they released their fourth and final album, Strangeways, Here We Come. But also this December it will be ten years since I started liking The Smiths.

When I was a kid I remember hearing my dad listening to “How Soon Is Now?” and a thing that I remembered well was I thought the first part of the lyrics (“I am the son and the heir”) said “I am the sun and the earth.”
Years later on November 2007 when I was 15 my dad got The Smiths’ compilation album Singles (1995) for his birthday. Next month when I went with my mom Christmas shopping she would borrow the CD and listen to it in the van while driving to the stores. When “How Soon Is Now?” came on I immediately recognized it and thought, “Oh my gosh, it’s that song!” As the days went by I started liking some of the songs, and eventually on Christmas I got the same CD.
I didn’t really listen to the whole CD but I would listen to the songs that I liked. But in 2008, when I was 16, I finally listened to it and after that, I started loving The Smiths, and finally got their albums.
Next year will be ten years since I became a fan of The Smiths. I can’t believe those years have flown by so fast. After becoming a fan of The Smiths, I started getting into 80s music.

Growing up my parents always played 80s music and the two songs that I first remembered hearing when I was a little kid were “Shout” from Tears For Fears and “People Are People” from Depeche Mode, and when I was seven or eight my parents had a Howard Jones greatest hits album on cassette and we would listen to it in the car (I still have it in my collection of tapes on my bookshelf). But when I was an older kid and would hear my dad listening to that type of music, I really didn’t like it. I thought the songs sounded so weird and would even sometimes make fun of them.

I used to listen to Evanescence, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani’s solo albums, Kelly Clarkson, and 30 Seconds To Mars. But after listening to The Smiths, my music taste changed. I got into Kate Bush, Rush, Howard Jones, Pat Benatar, Morrissey (lead singer of The Smiths), Tears For Fears, David Bowie, and The Psychedelic Furs. I realized how great 80s music is, and nowadays I don’t even listen to the former artists I mentioned anymore. I mean when I think about them or hear one of their songs I get nostalgic, but I don’t listen to them right now.

Before I go any further, I want to thank The Smiths for their songs and for getting me into 80s music, classic alternative, and new wave. If that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have gotten into different 80s music, I wouldn’t have been a fan of Psychedelic Furs, heck, I wouldn’t have seen them live three times, met the guitarist two times, and give them my letter. The Smiths really changed my life musically, and I really, really, appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Anyway, instead of ending this I want to write my top favorite albums from The Smiths. Only their main four studio albums. Their compilation albums don’t count!

So let’s begin, here is my top four favorite Smiths albums!

4. Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)

The very last album. The end of an era. The Smiths no more. I can’t believe it has been 30 years now. I wonder how the fans felt back then. Probably shocked, sad, and heartbroken. Even though this happened, The Smiths and their music are still celebrated years later, and would go on to have new younger fans, including myself.
Morrissey and Johnny Marr (the guitarist) both said that Strangeways is their favorite album. I think my favorite song on this album is “Death Of A Disco Dancer,” but I also love “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish,” “Girlfriend In A Coma,” “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” and “Paint A Vulgar Picture.” “Death Of A Disco Dancer” was the first song to feature Morrissey on an instrument; the piano.

3. The Smiths (1984)

The debut album. Morrissey and Marr didn’t like the production quality on this but with me, I like that raw, feel of it. My favorite song on The Smiths is “This Charming Man,” and before any of you say that this song wasn’t on the album, sure, it was not included on the UK release but it was included on North American releases (which I have). Although the song was in UK cassette formats (maybe in the French release too) and on the WEA rerelease in the 90s. My second favorite song is “What Difference Does It Make?,” a song that Morrissey doesn’t really like, but was a top 20 hit in England.
Some of the songs are inspired by Shelagh Delaney’s play A Taste Of Honey (and the film adaptation too) and “Suffer Little Children” is about the Moors Murders that happened in Manchester in the 1960s, where this man and woman killed some teenagers and kids and would bury their bodies at Saddleworth Moor. When I first heard about this it was really disturbing and heartbreaking. Marr’s guitar playing at the end of that song is just so sad and hauntingly beautiful.

2. The Queen Is Dead (1986)

Their critically acclaimed album, their masterpiece. I have two favorite songs on this album but for different reasons. One song is light and one song is dark. The lighter song is “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side,” and the darker song is “I Know It’s Over.” The latter makes me cry and even thinking about it makes me feel emotional. It has such beautiful music and lyrics, and contains a line that is one of my favorites of all time: “I know it’s over/And it never really began/But in my heart it was so real.” Marr said that recording “I Know It’s Over” was his favorite moment when recording The Queen Is Dead.
The last song “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” has a fake fade out at the beginning, and on Australian releases, the fade out was “fixed,” because the Australian record label thought that there was an error and so fixed it. Interesting story.

1. Meat Is Murder (1985)

My number one favorite album from The Smiths. Meat Is Murder was their first and only studio album to reach number one in the UK and was a change lyrically and musically from The Smiths. In the latter, the lyrics are poetical, dreamy, and romantic, but in the former, some of the lyrics are political.
This album includes the vegetarian anthem, the title track, and made many fans go vegetarian or vegan, including Mike Joyce (the drummer). I have to shamefully admit, I ate meat and whenever I would listen to this song, I would feel guilty. But now I’m currently doing a vegan diet, and it makes me feel so much better not eating meat and dairy products.
My favorite song is a tie between “I Want The One I Can’t Have” and “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.” But there are other great songs like “The Headmaster Ritual,” “How Soon Is Now?” (included on North American releases of the album which I have) and “Nowhere Fast.”

So that concludes this blog and thank you for reading it. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing (or typing) it.

“And if you have five seconds to spare
Then I’ll tell you the story of my life.”


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