The Smiths/The Queen Is Dead

The Queen Is Dead is the 3rd studio release from famed Manchurian, The Smiths. Released in June 1986, the release reached the #2 spot on the UK charts. Produced by Stephan Street, this is regarded by many as the bands best release. The title, taken from a chapter of Hubert Selby’s novel Last Exit To Brooklyn, the band garnered extra attention in the UK because of the title and title track alone. This was recently ranked as #219 on Rolling Stones Top 500 Albums of all time.

The Queen Is Dead [Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty Medley]—-In classic Smiths style, of course the song enters with a nice soundbite than exceptional drums….the song builds and builds before it erupts on your lap. Morrissey comes from the noise with his tender vocal managing to sound forceful and angry. I love the backdrop overlays and the lyrical content is priceless…British or not, you get this sarcasm. The band is in huge form….everyone playing top-notch as the song dissolves in a wonderful pool of noise.

Frankly, Mr. Shankly—-One of my favorite tongue in cheek Smiths songs ever!!! This is remarkably wry and delivered in an even sarcastic tone. This is brilliant!!!! The guitar is a nice jangly British sounding flower power sound. This is beautifully constructed…with different lyrics this could have been an international hit. the chorus is a fun little ditty that sticks in your brain and Morrissey still sounds as wry and tart as always. this is marvelous.

I Know It’s Over—-With a morbid and intense nod to the idol James Dean, Morrissey delivers a 50’s sounding ballad that is so intense and goose bump inspiring you listen to it dozens of times. This is pleasing indie pop, before there was such a thing. Morrissey is so clear and emotive, you hang on every word. this is some of the bands finest works. Brilliant!!!

Never Had No One Ever—-From the onset. the song is easy and laid back. The vocal is classic…Morrissey never lets us down, but damn he was so much better here. This is a pure journey into self loathing and mundane feelings. The songs that ‘everyman’ found a way to relate to. Morrissey, some say, is an acquired taste, this is a great acquiring point.

Cemetry Gates—-Oh, how truly and wonderful British. The music is all-encompassing Smith wonderment. Morrissey manages to hit all of the great….Keats, Yates and Wilde….how marvelous. This is classic Smiths…the jangly fun guitar, the understated drum and the in your face crystal clear vocal. I loved this band more than I loved me!!!

Bigmouth Strikes Again—-From the opening notes, you are amazed at the pleasant jangle jangle of the guitar, the masterful drumming and the in your face bass line…the vocal almost seems secondary once you realize how wonderfully this band worked together as musicians. The voice is necessary, and he never lets us down…vocally or lyrically…it is great to hear him singing this so late in his career…a show stopper.

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side—-Again, this classic and still popular song allows plenty of room for mundane and introspective lyrics while still delivering a wonderfully addictive musical track. The guitar playing of Marr is at an all-time high on this recording and I love it just for the true British sound of the landscape provided. Wonderful!!!

Vicar In A Tutu—-More subtle [?] rallies against the Catholic religion of the Brits, Morrissey paints a rather lewd photo of the Vicars…only to realize the truth some 20 years later. Always a visionary…right? The music is fantastic…this pleasant British Rock-a-billy that you can’t forward through despite your urges. Great!!!

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out—-Considered by many as the coup d’tete of this release, the single release fared very, very well for the band. This is classic…hearkening back to the first single releases with a mundane and serious tone while still maintaining a masterful musical landscape…the added strings make the song huge and seemingly grows with every bar. this is wonderful…you can not deny the genius.

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others—-With a remarkable jangly sound, you cannot deny the wonderful ability of this band. Almost a replay of the previous song, the track is the same song with a different lean…it works with ease and genius. This is a wonderful end to the release. I remember seeing The Smiths on this tour….in Detroit and being shocked that so many people were there to see MY BAND….I left ecstatic, feeling as if I hasd 10 orgasms…a literally indelible evening in my memory. Kudos guys…my memory ain’t much!!!

****3/4 out of 5


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