Not quite ready to let the posting streak die, so here's one from The Smiths that pairs nicely with "Not Too Soon" by Throwing Muses.
Perhaps not my favorite Smiths song, but it's certainly in the top 10. Maybe even top 5. Johnny Marr's guitar bit may not be particularly complicated, but damn it's satisfying.
Missed this song for the longest time because it's not on one of the studio albums.
The final album by The Smiths, Strangeways Here We Come is a fitting close to a brief but brilliant career.
The Smiths' star shone brightly and burned out quickly, but they were prolific as Hell for the brief time they were together. Strangeways is their fourth and final album, released in 1987. That's four albums in five years, a live album the year after they broke up, and a slew of singles and b-sides, besides.
Let me tell you a little secret – there's not a bad one in the bunch. No bad albums, no lousy singles, and even the b-sides are good. (Especially, "How Soon Is Now?", which isn't featured on any of the original LPs.) But Strangeways is especially good.
Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #10 ("Strangeways Here We Come")"
The Smiths didn't last long, but they left behind an amazing legacy and incredible impact. By the time the band recorded The Queen is Dead they were already fraying at the seams, but it didn't diminish their ability to create amazing tunes.
"Frankly, Mr. Shankly" is Morrissey at his lyrical best, or worst, telling off an imaginary boss. The line about making Christmas cards with the mentally ill took me for a loop the first time I heard it, it was so offbeat. The music is compelling, but quirky, and completely unique.
The incredibly downbeat "I Know It's Over" positively wallows in rejection and despair, but without sacrificing any of the cutting commentary that Morrissey is so well known for. The sepulchral bass on this one and Morrissey wailing "I can feel the soil falling over my head" is just so satisfying. Oddly enough, I find this song cheers me up every time I listen to it, as if it's some sort of audio Dorian Gray painting that absorbs unhappiness.
Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #50 ("The Queen is Dead")"
When I first got my hands on Your Arsenal back in 1992, I knew from the first few notes of "You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side" that it'd be a winner.
No disrespect to Moz, but it's tough to carry a band with vocals and lyrics alone. Johnny Marr's guitar playing and musical contributions (as well as from Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, but Marr in particular) were essential to the band's sound. The folks Morrissey gathered for Your Arsenal were up to the task.
Your Arsenal has a harder edge to it than Morrissey's solo work immediately after leaving The Smiths. I might even argue that it's a bit harder than most of The Smiths' albums, but there are probably a few Smiths tracks where Marr and company match the band here.
Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #66 ("Your Arsenal")"