The Smiths-The Smiths.

20 02 2012

“Reel around the fountain. Slap me on the patio, I’ll take it now…”

Manchester, Manchester- you beautiful city. Look at what you have given us. John Cooper Clarke, The Fall and of course The Smiths. On a damp and dreary (I’m going to assume it was, I was born just under 3 years later) an album by one of the world’s most influential bands was released. A debut record is a record critics will thrive off picking about and throwing away. That didn’t happen with The Smiths debut first record. If I have it in me, I’m going to attempt to put my all into writing this. Expect sentences that ooze frustration because I cannot say what I want to say. I’d like to mention I am writing this drinking tea out of a Morrissey mug.

I want to delve right into the very core of the album’s opening track, and one of my favourite songs by the band EVER. I want to go into detail about how gloriously sexually charged the lyrics are. Thing is, Morrissey’s lyrics have always had this wonderfully subtle sexual connotations that click with certain kinds of people. The shy ones, like myself who lack charm and anything to offer another (Moz has the charm, we all know that.) The Smiths made the outsider feel part of something. They made you feel as if you had found a home, a safety haven. All your desires and longing came true in this band. They also voiced them because you couldn’t do it. Can you do it now? I know I can’t. If only it was okay to say to someone you liked, “I like you but I cannot sum it up..so listen to this song by The Smiths.” Reel Around The Fountain has a verse that I just adore. It makes me want to cuddle that young, shy Morrissey and say, “It’s okay lad, you’re better than everyone anyway.”

“I dreamt about you last night. And I fell out of bed twice.  You can pin and mount me like a butterfly.  But “take me to the haven of your bed.” Was something that you never said.”

I, like most fans of the band can relate to nearly EVERY lyric and this is just utterly divine and accurate. Moz says the things I seem to have on the tip of my tongue, no exceptions.

Not a band to shy away from negative criticism from the press and anyone in-between, The Smiths felt the brunt of their open music when Suffer Little Children was placed as the B-Side to Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. I love The Smiths more than I can put into words, but this one song that I’ve only listened to..not even a handful of times. It is far too painful and to the core. Personally, I don’t find it distasteful so for certain shops to pull the record from the shelves was too much. If anything, it was a tribute to the victims of one of the most horrendous and brutal crimes ever committed. It was also one of the first songs that Morrissey and Johnny Marr wrote together.

You really do not need someone like myself to tell you just how important this record is. From the lyrics to the music to the excellent production that is present on this record. Anything and everything The Smiths ever did was nothing short of perfection. Even the imperfections and glitches were beautiful. Sometimes I am asked “The Smiths or Morrissey?” And, I usually do say Morrissey for many many reasons. I guess I can relate more to his solo work, but this debut record is just one of the greatest records ever made. Of course being released through Rough Trade wasn’t a bad thing either.

The debut record is exquisitely honest and vulnerable. Morrissey just pours out all the frustrations you can possibly handle. 28 years on since its release, and it undoubtedly still is as important and apt as ever.

I cannot write this in a way that reads as something critical. I’m just throwing these words out as a fan, that’s all I can do. The first song I remember hearing by The Smiths was Hand In Glove. I just loved the sounds I was hearing, I was far too young to understand the lyrics but as I hit my teens..I paid full attention to the lyrics. The Smiths and Morrissey didn’t only just put out music that saved my life, they BECAME my life.

It angers me when people say “Oh they HAVE to get back together.” They don’t. They really bloody don’t. When a band splits, that should be it. It’s like getting back with an ex isn’t it? Royally pointless and a dumb thing to do. The Smiths will always be one of the most influential and best bands ever. The music and the memories we have are more than enough. It all started 28 years ago today with this record. I’ve loved them for so long, and I couldn’t imagine my life and record collection without them. It’d be awful and dull (both my life and music.)

Listening to this record again, to write this- there is always one line that has forever stuck out for me. A line that I constantly have flailing around my heads causing me to probably overthink :

“Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I dunno…”

It has been many many years since I first heard this record, and I am still trying to work out what rules what. Maybe it is just safer to say that the heart rules everything, but at the same time probably cocks everything up. There is a song on this record for every point in one’s life. Miserable Lie will help you get our something or someone. Hand In Glove will help with acceptance. What Difference Does It Make will help you see that people are sometimes, not worth the hassle. Reel Around The Fountain will make you pine for that person you cannot get out of your head. It described life for so many 28 years ago, and it still does the same now.

It is obvious just how vital this record is, and what it for music. Time may drag and drain us all, but with records like this, it makes the whole process less painful.


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