The Smiths
The Queen Is Dead


5.0
classic

Review

by Med57 EMERITUS
January 14th, 2005 | 944 replies | 66,154 views


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist


The Band: Steven Morrissey (Vocals)
Johnny Marr (Guitars)
Andy Rourke (Bass Guitar)
Mike Joyce (Drums)

Released: 1986 (Warner Music)

The Queen Is Dead was the fourth album released by Manchester band, The Smiths, and is believed by many to be the best thing that this incredibly influential band ever recorded. The Smiths have a trademark sound of Jonny Marr's ability to write wonderfully catchy pop songs, while Morrissey sings his typically cynically mournful, but yet humourous lyrics, in a manner that showcases his wit and intelligence. The Smiths remain one of the largest inspirations for many indie bands today.

The songs:

1. The Queen Is Dead. Opening with what sounds like a raucous song sung in a pub, containing the lyrics "Take me back to dear old Blighty", a driving beat on the toms. This is an epic song, taking in Morrisey's dislike of the royal family, popular culture, and the church. Including such lines as "The Queen is dead, boys", this isn't a million miles from the spirits expressed in punk songs, but the nature of Morrisey's voice, singing with a sense of bitter irony makes you feel his scathing contempt for then British culture. A very good opening song, which includes a long outro, showing that while Morrissey and Marr get all the attention, Andy Rourke can add a good bassline, this gets 5/5.

2. Frankly, Mr Shankly.A bitter attack on people in the music industry who are in it solely for the money, with Morrisey stating "I want to go down in celluloid history", and labelling Mr Shankly a "flatulent pain in the arse". This is a shorter song, with the band very much taking a second place to Morrisey who adds a parting shot of "Give us your money", making quite plain his feelings. 4.5/5

3. I Know It's Over. This is a great break up song, with Morrisey writing what is more poetry than a song, about the end of a fictitious relationship. Juxtaposing his own mourning, with thoughts on his lover's future relationship, this is a very mournful track, completely lacking in some of the usual irony. The final repetition of "I feel the soil falling over my head", can't help but conjure the feeling of helplessness and apathy that comes at the end of a relationship. A masterpiece, and therefore 5/5.

4. Never Had No-One Ever. This is the first real let up in the album, where the song is not of outstanding quality. Again, this is about confusion, with the lyric "I had a really bad dream, it lasted for 20 years" hinting at this, before the song turns into a mournful ode to loneliness. This seems to be almost containing left over emotion from I Know It's Over, but this gets 4/5.

5. Cemetry Gates. A return to less mournful songs, with the intro sounding very happy and perky. Morrisey refers to writers such as Keats and Wilde in here, warning not to claim their work as your own, otherwise someone will trip you up and laugh. In other words, he's back with some delightfully bitter humour directed at people who are seeking to embarass others constantly. This is a great example of Marr creating a marvellous pop song, out of Morrissey's lyrical genius, with some breezy guitar work. 4.5/5

6. Bigmouth Strikes Again. Another very good pop hook by Marr, combines with Morrissey saying "I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed." This is a faster song, with Morrissey assisted with some cloying background vocals that give this track a somewhat bizzarre air. 4/5

7. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side. With the bass and guitars ducking in and out of Morrissey's singing, in particular with Marr's guitar trilling in the background, this is another very well put together song about a relationship that Morrissey sees as doomed before his wailing of "Oh" repeatedly at the end signals that he is doubtful as well. Nothing special, but another good song. 4/5

8. Vicar In A Tutu. This is another song, powered by a drum beat, with Morrissey's voice really coming into the mix prominently. The lyrics are very bizzare, as the title suggests, with Morrissey again mocking the church, with some typical cynical lyrics. The vocals sound a bit to me as if they are almost being improvised. Not in a bad way, but this song's probably not quite as polished as the others, before a very sudden ending. One of the most quirky songs here, this gets4.5/5

9. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. A brilliantly dark love song, with Morrissey pleading to be taken out but never to go home. He even goes so far as to say that being killed in a car crash with his love would be a privelige, suggesting some of his trademark irony, but it somehow feels like he is being sincere. This is a great example of where The Smiths really go beyond other indie bands talking about love, which means that this song gets 5/5.

10. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others. I guess this is what passes for a Smiths comedy song, with Morrissey singing repeatedly about "some girls" being "bigger than others". It's a very curious end to the album, but if anything it shows the musical skills of the band, and the power of Morrissey's voice that it still sounds meaningful, when it is in fact, anything but. This gets 5/5 because in spite of it's "different" content, I think it's still a great song, that showcases the band's talents very well.

If you are at all familiar with the music of The Smiths, you will know that Morrissey's lyrics are part of the same group as those of the likes of Thom Yorke and Roger Waters; looking at everyday life with often cynical humor, creating music that many people consider depressing. As with the bands that those 2 men front, The Smiths have their very own guitar maestro in Jonny Marr, who, while not technically brilliant, really can write a killer pop song, that goes brilliantly with Morrissey's lyrics. Often underrated is thr rhythm section of the band, which provides a very good base for all the songs. Overall, I consider this album to be a classic of the genre, and one that, even if you have never heard The Smiths, but like Indie music, is an absolute must to check out. Final rating: 4.8/5.



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other reviews of this album
doctorjimmy (5)
Quite possibly the best Smiths album,full of melancholy,great melodies and emotional depth....

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“Oh, has the world changed, or have I changed?”...

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...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tapeworm
August 16th 2004



118 Comments


Nice review. Brilliant freaking album. :thumb:

AfroMan
August 16th 2004



101 Comments


Great Review:thumb:

I've been thinking about buying this album for a while now - I'll buy it one day but I have a list of about 10 albums I must buy so this one can be the 11th.

:cool:

Iai
Emeritus
August 16th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Cool review. I was wondering when this was going to appear after you dibbed it. I agree with all your scores too.

Tomahawk
August 17th 2004



124 Comments


Great review, even though I would have scored things higher. Especially "Bigmouth Strikes Again", which I think is just perfection.

I love this album so much. It's almost perfect. The only problem is that "Never had no-one ever" should NOT be right after "I know it's over". It's a great song, but that's too much depression in one chunk.

Tangy zizzle
August 17th 2004



253 Comments


I'd give it 4.7/5. Almost a 5, but it's kinda samey.

Essential album though.

Dimes Make Dollars
August 17th 2004



241 Comments


You know what? As unpopular as this is going to be, I think the best Smiths album is their debut, and they went downhill from there. The three singles are excellent ("Bigmouth Strikes Again", "Boy With the Thorn...", "There is a Light..."), and so is "The Queen is Dead", but other than that, it's kind of weak.

3.5/5

Joy-Nir-Pix-Head
October 13th 2004



6 Comments


I'm sooooo gonna buy this album.... only got the Singles collection cos it was dirt cheap and i didnt think I'd like the Smiths but they're fantastic.
yeah i would rate Bigmouth Strikes Again and Boy With The Thorn In Side much higher... they're both great.
Johnny Marr rules!

Tangy zizzle
October 14th 2004



253 Comments


I'm rather surprised that this doesn't have more replies...

Luxor
October 14th 2004



166 Comments


I bought this album the other day because I had heard so many good things, plus it was really cheap. I've only given it a few listens, so far it hasn't striked my fancy. I won't give up on it yet though.

sr800bkBassist
October 14th 2004



115 Comments


this CD is so great. i recently bought it (week ago). much more than i expected. especially in the songs "Cemetary Gates" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again".

RollerQueen
October 14th 2004



209 Comments


I love this album. This and Hatful of Hollow. After bumming off my brother and borrowing his cds, I finally got this last month and owning it is a good idea. Marr and Morrissey were a great musical force. Excellent review, pedo.

Med57
Moderator
October 15th 2004



1001 Comments


[QUOTE=IhateUsernames]I bought this album the other day because I had heard so many good things, plus it was really cheap. I've only given it a few listens, so far it hasn't striked my fancy. I won't give up on it yet though.[/QUOTE]


Don't, it's seriously amazing imo. Looking back on it I probably rated some songs too low, but meh...4.8/5 overall is about right I'd say.

surfkauai
October 15th 2004



30 Comments


i burned this a while ago and loved it. unfortunatly i lost it after i had already deleted the files, which sucks.

sr800bkBassist
October 15th 2004



115 Comments


just download it from me.

Happymeal
October 15th 2004



330 Comments


I'm still getting into them, I hope this is a good place to start.

sr800bkBassist
October 15th 2004



115 Comments


[QUOTE=Happymeal]I'm still getting into them, I hope this is a good place to start.[/QUOTE]
very good place.

Dimes Make Dollars
October 17th 2004



241 Comments


The self-titled album is probably my second-favorite album of all time, so that's an even better place to start.

40 oz 2 freedom
October 31st 2004



96 Comments


This is the only Smiths album I own. It's good but kind of boring and, like Tangy said, samey.

Med57
Moderator
October 31st 2004



1001 Comments


[QUOTE=MxShredder]what's going on with those background vocals? Morrisey's voice isn't really that high pitched and childish is it?

*has only heard this song and How Soon is Now*[/QUOTE]


Heh...I only just found this out, but apparently the backing vocals is simply Morrissey's voice sped up, and although they are credited to Anne Coates, that's just a pun on Ancoates, which is somewhere near Morrissey's place of birth. Sounds strange, but vaguely plausible.

Iai
Emeritus
October 31st 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

It says that in The Smiths special Q put out a while ago. I'm pretty sure it's true.



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