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Sunday, April 4, 2010

I don't feel so alone with The Smiths

When I was a kid, I first heard The Smiths and absolutely hated them. They were depressing. On the other hand, they were real.

As an adult, the frank statements in Morrissey's lyrics are a stunning listen and read, so I have included a few favorites. Their plain approach to music and advertising makes one realize how genius they truly were. Please have a listen while you read more.

They seemed to be against the excesses of other groups--just a simple black and white image borrowed from somewhere else would do when other groups were technicolor. And while I find myself feeling like I "shouldn't" listen to their lyrics because I'm Christian and my hope is supposed to be in Christ, church leaves the modern single often feeling disconnected from others.

You know you feel it, too. It feels better to sing along with "stretch out and wait" or "You just haven't earned it yet, baby" rather than hear one more person say, "Perhaps the Lord is using this time of singleness to teach you something." Plan or no plan, God or no God, Morrissey is just like you. Nerdy, bookish, sometimes shy, and other times bombastic. Celibate? Some people don't buy it, but considering how some people can be so cruel when you don't give them what they want, I can relate.

I find myself putting up with the disrespectfulness of a song which states that the church just wants your money or how Morrissey would like to drop his trousers to the Queen because the other songs are ones I relate to. There is no pie-in-sky about it, no huge hedonistic party to be had.

Morrissey's lyrics are comforting because he seemed to understand our pain--even after all these years it seems like he's right there. His dismal side revealed an acceptance that life has an end, it's OK to be odd, it's hard to find someone who suits you. The beautiful voice, great musicality in bass and drums and the Johnny Marr guitars almost seem like manna from heaven.

And in fact, through the group led a troubled existence behind the scenes, they never had it as good as they did then. Even Morrissey, who remained highly regarded in the public eye, was more famous with The Smiths than after.

Two lovers entwined pass me by and heaven know I'm miserable now. I was looking for a job and then I found a job. Heaven knows I'm miserable now. In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die?

A dreaded sunny day, so let's go where we're happy
and I'll meet you at the cemetery gates.
Keates and Yates are on your side. Wilde is on mine.
So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people all those lives Where are they now?
With loves, with hates, And passions just like mine
They were born and then they lived, and then they died
Which seems so unfair, and I want to cry.

shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you
from doing all the things in life you'd like to
so of there's something you'd like to try
ask me, I won't say no. How could I?

Does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body? I don't know.

If a ten ton truck kills the both of us
to die by your side, the pleasure, the privilege is mine.

I know I'm unloveable.
You don't have to tell me.
For message received loud and clear.
I wear Black on the outside
Because Black is how I feel on the inside
And if I seem a little strange
Well, that's because I am
But I know that you would like me
If only you could see me
If only you would meet me

If you're wondering why
All the love that you long for eludes you
And people are rude and cruel to you
I'll tell you why
but you wouldn't believe me
You just haven't earned it yet, baby

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment!


TabithaVenasse said...

I can't claim to know The Smiths very well (I recall having heard some of their stuff in the past), but they sound pretty cool.

And I wouldn't call them a band to not listen to just cause you're Christian... from what they're singing... its not like they're telling you to burn the church or kill Christians. Some of the most profound and epic music I listen to is definitely not Christian. But it reaches into my soul.... it makes me feel as if the music understands me.

Novaseeker said...

I always saw Morrissey's lyrics as a bit over the top in terms of being whiny. Much of his whining has/had to do with his sexual orientation, which by all accounts seems to be gay yet maintains an ambiguity. What made the songs appealing, I think, was the justification between the often very upbeat music, on the one hand, and the whiny/dark/tongue-in-cheek-depresso style of the lyrics. This continued to a certain degree in his solo records as well -- a kind of intentionally exaggerated whininess that was fairly unique and fairly polarizing as well. Back in the day, The Smiths were either loved or loathed, really -- there weren't too many who were lukewarm about them.

SavvyD said...

There were some songs which were about sexual orientation and many which were not. They were not always about Morrissey's own sadness, but the sadness of all. I didn't like them when I first heard them. Now I think they are genius.

there were whinier more over the top groups. The Smiths were at the very least well sung and played.

Still prefer the early Bunnymen in many ways.