By Request: The Smiths

No. 6 greatest rock riff?

When someone requests The Smiths, this is the one that came immediately to mind, which is in a similar vein. Thanks to Scott for the request.

Is this a good place for my two cents about the Smiths? Probably not. People love them, and I merely like them. I like the hardness of the drums and the ringing of the guitars. I like the quirky melodies, and Morrisey’s point of view. It’s all kind of shambly and personal and hooky, too. Still, I merely like them. I can’t really say why. The only thought I have about it that makes any sense is that they write half songs. I love the first half of Shoplifters, for instance, but by the time we’re halfway through I want to move on to something else. Bands and performers I really love, that doesn’t happen.

One thought on “By Request: The Smiths

  1. I should like Morrisey because he’s one of the world’s biggest New York Dolls fans. And because he’s clearly influenced by Bryan Ferry. So why do the Smiths leave me cold? Because he has no personality? Because the band sounds just like a dozen other Brit New Wave bands, only not as good as the Psychedelic Furs or Tears For Fears? Because unlike most of those bands, the Smiths never had a song that sounded good on the radio?

    Johnny Marr gets a lot of props and he’s pretty good at creating “atmosphere” which means reverb and echo. But if he ever did anything memorable I don’t remember. Maybe I just haven’t heard him at his best. What’s their best song?

    The Only Ones coulda been contenders. Too bad Peter Perrett met Johnny Thunders and became a junkie. They predated punk – drummer Mike Kelly played on Peter Frampton’s first solo album – but fit in well enough to get gigs when punk hit. I wish I could say they had other great songs but they don’t, a few goods ones to be sure, but quintessential one hit wonders if you define OHW’s as one GREAT song. Which is not a knock at all, on the contrary it’s a wondrous thing:

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