With the release of their second album in early 1985, the Smiths began the year on a high note and put any fears about the dreaded sophomore slump to rest. They also provided me with an album that remains a favorite for all sorts of reasons. Morrissey’s lyrics and music composed by Johnny Marr were a match made in musical heaven, even if their relationship with one another appeared to be pure hell and ultimately led to the demise of the band.
This album has stood the test of time. The angst ridden, political, and sarcastic lyrics sung by Morrissey in all of his bravado still are as relevant today as they were when I was in college. The longing to belong and to be loved on the alternative music darling How Soon Is Now. The tale of abuse on The Headmaster Ritual. The case being made for vegetarianism on the title track. Listening to this album now has the uncanny ability to transport me to back to the 1980s, when I first heard and felt their music.
As I sit here listening to How Soon Is Now, it is impossible not to recall the heartache of unrequited love and the end of relationships and the inordinate sense of being alone. At most people’s core is the desire to love and be loved, and Morrissey captures that desire perfectly:
When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
Well when exactly do you mean?
See I’ve already waited too long
And all my hope is gone
You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does
Drops the mic . . .
It still astounds me that The Smiths were only together for 5 years (1982-1987), but they left an indelible mark on the music world and on my own world. Although Morrissey has gone on to have a very successful solo career, I still wonder what might have been had the band stayed together. We will never know, but thankfully, we still have their music. And I still thoroughly enjoy Meat is Murder, which given the title, sounds like an odd thing to proclaim. But I do. I really do! The Smiths are dead! Long live The Smiths!
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story