Wednesday 29 April 2015

The 15 Greatest Smiths Lyrics Ever

according to me

I used to have this girlfriend and we got along pretty well, until one day she proclaimed that she thought The Smiths were shit. Such a blasphemous utterance occurred in public, and so I politely asked her not to embarrass me, quick to detail as to why one cannot say such a thing out loud. The reason, of course, is because The Smiths are one of those bands, like say, Pink Floyd or The Sex Pistols or Black Sabbath or Bruce Springsteen—examples I specifically mention because I do not adore them quite like your average music student, but find it necessary to value them on an influential basis; one of appreciation, not so much for what they did, but for what they inspired others to do. We simply cannot disregard these huge figures as “shit” so matter-of-factly, as it is offensive to the entire sensitive web of music history and shows a lack of education. Perhaps we can label them “overrated” (they're aren't) or “not our cup of soup” (bad taste), but we must at very least acknowledge their existence as ones which changed the paths of multiple other artists to come, some of which we may even enjoy more than their forefathers. My girlfriend, however, was having none of it.

“I don’t like his voice,” she stated. “It’s too boring.” Alright, I could sympathise. It’s not like when I started my own Morrissey journey I jumped straight into adoration; it took patience to penetrate his somewhat monotony in order to reveal the true genius beneath. It was like Dylan all over again, never so much how he said it, but what he was saying—the lyrics, rather than the voice—which to this day I consider up there with the greatest of the greats. A true bitter poet who appears so uncomfortable with his person that one could not help feeling disgust for their own human whilst analysing his words. “That’s exactly the problem,” my girlfriend muttered. This spurred a three day argument following and we are no longer together.

"I was looking for a job and then I found a job. And Heaven knows I'm miserable now."

- Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now [0:24]
non-album single, later included on Hatful of Hollow (1984)

“Heifer whines could be human cries. Closer comes the screaming knife. This beautiful creature must die. This beautiful creature must die. A death for no reason, and death for no reason is murder.”

- Meat is Murder [1:49]
Meat is Murder (1985)

“Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ, because the music that they constantly play, it says nothing to me about my life.”

- Panic [1:02]
non-album single, later included on Louder Than Bombs (1985)

“You say: ‘ere thrice the sun done salutation to the dawn,’ and you claim these words as your own. But I've read well, and I've heard them said a hundred times, maybe less, maybe more. If you must write prose and poems, the words you use should be your own. Don't plagiarise or take on loan. ‘Cos there's always someone, somewhere with a big nose, who knows, and trips you up and laughs when you fall.”

- Cemetry Gates [0:53]
The Queen is Dead (1986)

“Oh, I didn't realise that you wrote poetry. I didn't realise you wrote such bloody awful poetry, Mr Shankly.”

- Frankly, Mr. Shankly [1:43]
The Queen is Dead (1986)

“And when I'm lying in my bed, I think about life, and I think about death, and neither one particularly appeals to me.”

- Nowhere Fast [1:51]
Meat is Murder (1985)

“I would go out tonight but I haven't got a stitch to wear. This man said ‘it's gruesome that someone so handsome should care.'"

- This Charming Man [0:45]
non-album single, later included on The Smiths reissues (1983)

“Oh, let me get my hands on your mammary glands. And let me get your head on the conjugal bed, I say, I say, I say. There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more.”

- Handsome Devil [1:58]
live John Peel session, later included on Hatful of Hollow (1983)

“Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, it's really serious. There were times when I could have murdered her, but you know, I would hate anything to happen to her. No, I don't want to see her. Do you really think she'll pull through?”

- Girlfriend In A Coma [0:17]
Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)

“I thought that if you had an acoustic guitar, then it meant that you were a protest singer. Oh, I can smile about it now but at the time it was terrible.”

- Shakespeare’s Sister [1:34]
non-album single, later included on Louder Than Bombs (1985)

“The devil will find work for idle hands to do. I stole and I lied, and why? Because you asked me to. But now you make me feel so ashamed because I've only got two hands. Well, I'm still fond of you.”

- What Difference Does It Make? [1:01]
The Smiths (1984)
“Sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking when I said I'd like to smash every tooth in your head. Oh, sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed. And now I know how Joan of Arc felt. Now I know how Joan of Arc felt as the flames rose to her roman nose and her walkman started to melt.”

- Bigmouth Strikes Again [0:06]
The Queen is Dead (1986)

“And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die. And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side, well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine.”

- There Is A Light That Never Goes Out [1:02]
The Queen is Dead (1986)

“There's a club if you'd like to go. You could meet somebody who really loves you. So you go, and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home, and you cry and you want to die.”

- How Soon Is Now? [2:44]
b-side for "William, It Was Really Nothing", later included on Meat is Murder reissues (1985)

“Oh, has the world changed, or have I changed? Some nine year old tough who peddles drugs, I swear to God, I swear, I never even knew what drugs were. So I broke into the palace with a sponge and a rusty spanner. She said ‘eh, I know you, and you cannot sing,’ I said ‘that's nothing, you should hear me play piano.’"

- The Queen is Dead [1:36]
The Queen is Dead (1986)