Album #6 The Queen is Dead, The Smiths

The Story of The Smiths 'The Queen Is Dead' | Classic Album Sundays

Like my love for Michael Jackson, my love for Stephen Patrick Morrissey these days leaves me with a feeling of being adrift in a rickety boat tossed in a storm. Maybe a bit anxious, maybe a bit queasy. Appreciation for an artist’s output and how it made you feel when you were 14 is one thing. What the artist represents now… is that another thing? I think it is. What this album is and what its content represents is the pinnacle of what Rock and Roll can do. It was subversive, rebellious, sublime and above all vulnerable.

An album that thumbed it’s nose at Thatcher, the wanton cruelty of the Tories, and the obvious cruelty of the mid 80s world in general spoke to a lot of teenagers. Nobody, but nobody spoke to teenagers in the way that Morrissey does.

While the whole album rings in purity. There is a light that never goes out, might be one of the finest things ever written.


Take me out tonight
Because I want to see people and I
Want to see life
Driving in your car
Oh, please don’t drop me home
Because it’s not my home, it’s their
Home, and I’m welcome no more

All of us felt this as teenager, straight, gay, or otherwise. Our world at that time felt like it was using brass knuckles all the time. A world where your parents and their generation called the shots, and any pain you felt was entirely your fault for not conforming. Conforming on the other hand meant dying a little at a time, which leads to the next stanza.The following morbid annihilation fantasy, is the pinnacle of what The Smiths, and Morrissey did well.

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

I know it’s over is still one of my all time favorite songs. It is plaintive, open, delicate, funny and vulnerable.

Earlier in quarantine, Laura and I sang this at the top of our voice in the kitchen as only two kids of the 80s can do.

It’s so easy to laugh
It’s so easy to hate
It takes guts to be gentle and kind
Over, over
Love is natural and real
But not for you, my love
Not tonight, my love
Love is natural and real
But not for such as you and I, my love

These are words everybody could live by. Even Morrissey.

Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, and Mike Joyce synced so well on this album. Johnny Marr’s songwriting, as we all know Morrissey contributed almost nothing to that, is forceful and dynamic throughout this album. While Meat as Murder gets the guitar nuts going because of How Soon is Now, I would argue this album gets the gold star for service to the songs. In the grand scheme of music that influences you, molds you as a person, this album still means a lot to me.

I never got to see the Smiths live, I did get to see a Morrissey show in 1991 that he was an hour late for and then played 51 minutes.