I'm actually glad I didn't get into the Smiths until I was like 22. Let's face it, if my gothy neighbor or whatever gave me their first album on tape in 9th grade I would have skipped around campus with a hearing aid in my ear and molting gladiolas dangling out of my JNCOs and carved These Things Take Time lyrics into my forearm. At that age I would prefer dorky to dramatic. I would totally not have gotten the fact that half the time Morrissey's maudlin navel-gazing is played up for type and drama points. And what fucking navel-gazing! "I never had a job because I'm... TOO SHY"!! Like Phil Spector girl groups, Elvis Costello, or even Kraftwerk for that matter the fact that you can couch such anger, loneliness and humor in the rhetoric of pop music and not sound like a complete clown-dong is amazing. "She wants it now and she will not wait, but she's too rough and I'M... TOO DELICATE" I mean COME ON it should be mandatory that kids can't listen to lyrics this entrenched in moping and self-pity until they've at least developed the acumen to separate self-satire from emotional truth. I would argue that Moz didn't really 100% have his voice on this album -- like he's pushing his character too aggressively. Plus the drums here are the most dated the Smiths will ever sound. But who cares, what about the fact that the lyrics to I Don't Owe You Anything LITERALLY MADE MIKE JOYCE WEEP WHILE PLAYING IT LIVE or the fact that Marr was 20 when he wrote What Difference Does It Make/This Charming Man? Forest > trees.
- music label: Rhino / 1984/2009
reviewed by Woodman 08/2009
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