BCB 100 - The Smiths

Threads and discussion dedicated to major acts.
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Copehead
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Postby Copehead » 17 Jun 2006, 22:13

Penk wrote:
Oscar wrote:I don't think the Smiths were ever a current affairs band, were they? I thought the fairly accurate 'kitchen sink drama' label pointed more towards those English post-war, bleak, northern films. Lots of new groups are doing and saying exactly what the Smiths were doing and saying and the same kids are loving it.


'The same kids' are all 40-year-olds by now though. Yeah there's an influence there, you can't hear bands like the Arctic Monkeys without noticing it, but the Arctic Monkeys are a lot more vivacious and energetic. There's plenty of pose but they actually have fun rather than being so determinedly miserable and I think it's reflected in the music, they're shouty and punky and noisy where the Smiths are dreary and grey. "Morrissey probably is a better lyricist than the Arctics guy, I don't like either but Morrissey at least gives the impression of being fairly bright whereas the Arctics guy just gives the impression of trying to appear bright.
This is just an idea, before the Smiths fans get the torches and pitchforks out again, but was the more upbeat British indie that really galvanised British rock in the late '80s perhaps a reaction to and against the dourness of the Smiths?


quoted for emphasis

"have fun rather than being so determinedly miserable"

"the Smiths are dreary and grey"

I sometimes think there were 2 bands called the Smiths in the 80s, the band that we listened to and the band that people like Penk didn't listen to but thought they knew all about by taking a couple of lyrics out of context.

I always thought the Smiths were, generally, cheerful, bright pop music of the highest quality with brilliant thought provoking lyrics that could be mordant or sad but always with a wicked knowing grin, but also often be happy, angry, violent ................etc.
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Mike Boom
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Postby Mike Boom » 17 Jun 2006, 22:13

No way were the Smiths dreary or grey, the music really sparkles and is a million times more vivacous and energetic than the bloody Arctic Monkeys - listen to "the Headmaster Ritual" or "The Queen is Dead" or "Rusholme Ruffians" , there is tons of energy there - the lyrics may often address the fight against dreariness and dullness etc but they are set against extremely colorful music. The juxtaposition is what makes it great. Does the humour pass you right by? "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"!

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Postby Copehead » 17 Jun 2006, 22:19

Penk wrote:Rolf Harris
Simon Le Bon
Des'ree
Leonard Cohen
Sir Mixalot

There's a few to get you started.


:D :D :D :D

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Postby Penk! » 17 Jun 2006, 22:22

Owen wrote:It's not really worth discussing though, they are the one band on here where it is impossible to actually have a debate however many threads there are, because people just see it as 'you're slagging off the smiths', get all misty eyed about the impact he had on them, and misread it as an accusation that there is something intrinsically teenage about them that you grow out of.


Quoted for emphasis.
fange wrote:One of the things i really dislike in this life is people raising their voices in German.

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Tom Violence
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Postby Tom Violence » 17 Jun 2006, 22:25

Miserable Lie
Heaven Knws I'm Miserable Now
handsome Devil
Headmaster Ritual
Rusholme Ruffians
Nowhere Fast
Cemetery Gates
Frankly Mr Shankly
Vicar ina Tutu
Girlfriend in a Coma
Is it Really so Strnage?


Every one packed with wry humour.

A lot of people seem to think Morrissey means it when he says he's miserable now. He might mean it, but its all tongue in cheek. A lot of his lyrics (eg Girlfriend in a Coma) are not meant to be taken seriously. In his time he was even criticised for what was seen as 'taking the piss'.

Keane are a miserable band. The Smiths are sometimes deep and meaningful, but more often fun, tongue in cheek humour sung along to some of the best melodies this side of oooh shall we say the Beatles.
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Penk!
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Postby Penk! » 17 Jun 2006, 22:25

Jarg Armani wrote:quoted for emphasis

"have fun rather than being so determinedly miserable"

"the Smiths are dreary and grey"

I sometimes think there were 2 bands called the Smiths in the 80s, the band that we listened to and the band that people like Penk didn't listen to but thought they knew all about by taking a couple of lyrics out of context.

I always thought the Smiths were, generally, cheerful, bright pop music of the highest quality with brilliant thought provoking lyrics that could be mordant or sad but always with a wicked knowing grin, but also often be happy, angry, violent ................etc.


See I do appreciate what you're saying but they are an incredibly divisive band and it does come down to whether or not you like the songs.
If you don't like the songs then of course you're going to find them depressing, the fucking Beach Boys would be depressing if they had Morrissey lowing about his sex life and death and how it was grim up north all the time.
fange wrote:One of the things i really dislike in this life is people raising their voices in German.

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Postby Tom Violence » 17 Jun 2006, 22:28

But he's not lowing, he's often taking the piss out of himself, making light of otherwise ''depressing'' subjects, making a joke of it all and of himself. This is important. :(
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Owen
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Postby Owen » 17 Jun 2006, 22:28

Pretty Boy Floyd wrote:But he's not lowing, he's often taking the piss out of himself, making light of otherwise ''depressing'' subjects, making a joke of it all and of himself. This is important. :(


Or seemed it in 1984 anyway.

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Postby lemon » 17 Jun 2006, 22:29

Owen wrote:the smiths [...] there is something intrinsically teenage about them that you grow out of.


:x

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Mike Boom
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Postby Mike Boom » 17 Jun 2006, 22:29

The Beach Boys ARE often depressing.

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Postby Tom Violence » 17 Jun 2006, 22:30

Mike Boom wrote:The Beach Boys ARE often depressing.


Correct. But luckily there's Mike Love to jolly it all up.
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Postby Penk! » 17 Jun 2006, 22:30

Owen wrote:
Pretty Boy Floyd wrote:But he's not lowing, he's often taking the piss out of himself, making light of otherwise ''depressing'' subjects, making a joke of it all and of himself. This is important. :(


Or seemed it in 1984 anyway.


Yeah exactly. I wasn't there in 1984 (well I was, just) so I don't know what it was like at the time. What I do know is that Morrissey's spent 25 years being the most self-important man on the planet so it's impossible to separate that from his songs and with that in mind they do come across as tedious moaning about his own problems and frankly they're just completely disconnected from my own experiences and feelings and I couldn't care less about him, so I just find him a complete bore.
fange wrote:One of the things i really dislike in this life is people raising their voices in German.

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Postby yomptepi » 17 Jun 2006, 22:37

lemon wrote:
Owen wrote:the smiths [...] there is something intrinsically teenage about them that you grow out of.


:x


I am shocked by how wrong this is. I thought you knew about music Owen. I thought you understood the joy of the counterpoint between Marrs joyous cadences, and Morrisseys wry observations. I don't expect you to love them. Music is , by it's very nature, divisive and personal, but I would have thought an educated man , such as yourself, would be able to see that great music, and great songs , like the ones the Smiths recorded, are not a fad. They are a part of your life, and in my case, a part of my life that I treasure, and return to again and again. And each time I do return, I get confirmation that magic was at work. The Smiths were a godsend. The Smiths were a high watermark for british music in the eighties.

The fact that Penk does not get them, only confirms my faith in the genius on Morrissey and Marr.
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Postby Owen » 17 Jun 2006, 22:38

Unlucky Bear wrote:
lemon wrote:
Owen wrote:the smiths [...] there is something intrinsically teenage about them that you grow out of.


:x


I am shocked by how wrong this is. I thought you knew about music Owen. I thought you understood the joy of the counterpoint between Marrs joyous cadences, and Morrisseys wry observations. I don't expect you to love them. Music is , by it's very nature, divisive and personal, but I would have thought an educated man , such as yourself, would be able to see that great music, and great songs , like the ones the Smiths recorded, are not a fad. They are a part of your life, and in my case, a part of my life that I treasure, and return to again and again. And each time I do return, I get confirmation that magic was at work. The Smiths were a godsend. The Smiths were a high watermark for british music in the eighties.


I know the Lemon one was a pisstake, i can never tell with you mike :)

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Postby Beno » 17 Jun 2006, 22:38

the name is Coan wrote:
Owen wrote:Do you guys all really still listen to them?

I loved them at the time and wouldn't disagree with any of the plaudits but i can't imagine ever chosing to put them on again.

they sound good when i hear them accidentally, i'm always reminded of how great they are, but i really can't envisage a situation where i would choose to put them on ahead of hundreds of other things i've heard more recently. They are stuck in an era to me


I feel that way about them too. Despite fans saying they're timeless, etc. - they're very much of their time. As much so as Duran Duran and the Eurythmics.


I agree. I used to love them at the time and can still see lots of merit in them but for me they have dated probably more than any other respected act I can think of. Of course it could be all down to my age "at the time". Afte the Smiths I was a big Doors fan but I can't see why they would be more relevant in 1986 than they are now if you take my age out of the equation.

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Postby Penk! » 17 Jun 2006, 22:40

Unlucky Bear wrote:The fact that Penk does not get them, only confirms my faith in the genius on Morrissey and Marr.


:D
fange wrote:One of the things i really dislike in this life is people raising their voices in German.

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Postby Butch Manly » 17 Jun 2006, 23:35

Penk wrote:'The same kids' are all 40-year-olds by now though.


that's not true. when i went to a couple of smyths (smiths tribute band, in case you hadn't guessed) gigs i was surprised at the amount of people there who were too young to have ever seen them, plus, if you take a quick look on the morrissey solo site (make it a quick look, though - any longer and you'll want to seek them all out and kill them one by one) you'll see that there are plenty of teens who adore them, and why not?

Yeah there's an influence there, you can't hear bands like the Arctic Monkeys without noticing it, but the Arctic Monkeys are a lot more vivacious and energetic. There's plenty of pose but they actually have fun rather than being so determinedly miserable and I think it's reflected in the music, they're shouty and punky and noisy where the Smiths are dreary and grey.


you really are so way off the mark here as to be embarrassing. there was a vividness and gloriousness, a sexy animalism, too, to the smiths - especially live- that makes the arctic monkeys seem positively pedestrian.

i can seriously say that in all my time i've never experienced anything quite so viscerally base and hypnotising as the smiths live. not even the stooges doing fun house could touch it. that may sound very hard to imagine to anyone who's decided that the smiths were just a bunch of whining bed-wetters but it's the truth. and really, to out rock 'n' roll iggy pop without ever playing any of the usual cards is quite a spectacular thing to do.
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Postby Butch Manly » 17 Jun 2006, 23:41

Jarg Armani wrote:
Penk wrote:Rolf Harris
Simon Le Bon
Des'ree
Leonard Cohen
Sir Mixalot

There's a few to get you started.


:D :D :D :D

What a card

Straight to the treasury of mirth with that side splitter


he shit out a bit there, didn't he?
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Postby Penk! » 17 Jun 2006, 23:49

DiamondDog wrote:
Penk wrote:'The same kids' are all 40-year-olds by now though.


that's not true. when i went to a couple of smyths (smiths tribute band, in case you hadn't guessed) gigs i was surprised at the amount of people there who were too young to have ever seen them, plus, if you take a quick look on the morrissey solo site (make it a quick look, though - any longer and you'll want to seek them all out and kill them one by one) you'll see that there are plenty of teens who adore them, and why not?


We've been through that already though, teenagers are getting into them for the miserabilism and the fact that they are now seen as the archetypal bedwetting student band, whether or not that was what they were in 1985 is irrelevant because it's why they are winning new 17-year-old fans now. For every one who likes them purely on a musical basis there will be half a dozen who like them because of "you go home and you cry and you want to die." My '40-somethings' comment was in response to Oscar's post, I was pointing out that the 'same kids' strictly speaking might have different reasons for getting into new bands that reminded them of the Smiths than people have for being attracted to the Smiths now.

Yeah there's an influence there, you can't hear bands like the Arctic Monkeys without noticing it, but the Arctic Monkeys are a lot more vivacious and energetic. There's plenty of pose but they actually have fun rather than being so determinedly miserable and I think it's reflected in the music, they're shouty and punky and noisy where the Smiths are dreary and grey.


you really are so way off the mark here as to be embarrassing. there was a vividness and gloriousness, a sexy animalism, too, to the smiths - especially live- that makes the arctic monkeys seem positively pedestrian.


But that's your opinion and as I have to keep repeating it does just come down to whether or not you like the songs. For me I don't really care for them, I've tried several times, so many people rate them so highly that I've felt there must be something there but I think it is just a matter of personal taste and the fact that they are so incredibly divisive - much more so than any other band held in the same regard by the believers - suggests that they're simply one of those bands who strike different people in different ways.
Obviously they did have a uniqueness to them, I can't dispute that, no one can, because they couldn't stand out in the way they do - either to fans or to naysayers - if they weren't a very individual band, but the sound is just not a universally likable one. Their appeal was based around so many different factors that it is easy to find parts of their sound that you don't like and by the same reasoning, if you do find that the various aspects all come together then I can imagine it probably would be incredibly affecting and energising precisely because it would be such a rare and impressive feat. It just boils down to whether or not you consider it to work, I suppose.
But no one is ever going to convince anyone else to change their mind on the subject, because, whether it's down to some forceful quality in their sound or to the manner in which the fans talk about them, they inspire such strong feelings in everyone, whichever camp they may be in.
fange wrote:One of the things i really dislike in this life is people raising their voices in German.

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Postby Butch Manly » 17 Jun 2006, 23:52

Penk wrote:
Owen wrote:It's not really worth discussing though, they are the one band on here where it is impossible to actually have a debate however many threads there are, because people just see it as 'you're slagging off the smiths', get all misty eyed about the impact he had on them, and misread it as an accusation that there is something intrinsically teenage about them that you grow out of.


Quoted for emphasis.



actually, i was going to post about this earlier today. owen is wrong. if anything, it's the smiths-haters who are the more intransigent. certainly, they're the ones who come up with hackneyed comments like "miserable," "dreary" and "depressing" when they are clearly not.
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