Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I happen to be in a dynamite mood

but, I've been listening to the Smiths a fair amount. Usually incongruous, right?

(maybe it's cuz I'm *supposed* to be blue. see blog entry from exactly a year ago.)

At times, with those lyrics of depression and longing, I feel like I must have the sensibilities of a dour adolescent boy (specifically of the 1980s and British--let's get specific....ok, let's get re-dick: a young, gay boy from bloody MANCHESTAH. there. I said it.)

It's those infectious, haunting melodies. It's Johnny Marr's brilliant, killer, challenging (to the lyrics, at times) guitar sound. It's that sound that can change from almost rock-a-billy (I wanna dance like I'm at the fucking sock hop) to slow, down-tempo stories of yearning). And of course, it's the persona and mystery of Morrissey that draws me in. His utterly unique vocal delivery, the smoothness and effortlessness of it all--it's languid. And the songs are just so strong... That crazy upbeat tempo and perfect melody in "William, It Was Really Nothing" slays me every time I hear it.

Ah, those lyrics. The dark themes from the Smiths that once prompted me to say, "I hate Morrissey because he's responsible for emo." (And no, I didn't even know of the Ween song at the time). I've always had a mixed relationship with the Smiths' music. One minute it sounds divine: perfectly constructed pop. The next, I'm fixated on the moroseness of Morrissey and wonder when he will let up with the doom and gloom.

(I know very little about him, but the random things I do know paint an enigmatic portrait. I know he's super pro animal rights and has been a vegetarian for FOREVER. I always resented this a bit, cuz I thought it was also he who had a hand in the whole pasty-white-boy-vegan-shoe-gazer lot that I wanna smash up). And I know that he always avoided the gay question...telling the press that he was either asexual or celibate or both. I always thought this is why Michael Stipe was the way he was...)

I can feel moved and turned off in the same fucking song. A well-known example is their (almost 7-minute) single "How Soon Is Now?" The reverberating guitar is bold and ominous, and then you have the pompadoured singer crying out, "I am human and I need to be loved/ Just like everyone else does." Going to the club, because there might be someone there who "really loves you" but then "you leave on your own and you go home and cry and you want to die." THIS is what people can find laughable...and I do, sometimes. And then, at other times I can hear it and it's just brutally honest and matter-of-fact. And I love that.

Morrissey has a strange way of addressing love and desire...there's psychosexual themes of relationships (or imagined ones)he explores so well...(I always assumed were from a gay man's POV)...Gotta love the lyrics in "Handsome Devil":

I crack the whip
and you skip
but you deserve it


The Smiths' music is the basis of a lot of music I adore...but it also spawned the emo ilk. Ah, such is the harsh mistress of pop music.

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