1. ‘Frankly, Mr. Shankly:
“Frankly, Mr. Shankly, this position I’ve held
It pays my way, and it corrodes my soul
I want to leave, you will not miss me
I want to go down in musical history”
Everyone who has worked in retail or property administration knows the feeling of hating their mundane job and boss. We should all take a leaf out of Moz’s book and become pop stars.
2. How Soon is Now:
“There’s a club if you’d like to go
you could meet somebody who really loves you
so you go, and you stand on your own
and you leave on your own
and you go home, and you cry
and you want to die”
Expectations are often different to realities.
“Burn down the disco
Hang the blessed dj
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life “
Probably one of my favorites, this one epitomizes my frustration with mainstream radio ‘DJs’ (I use the term loosely) who constantly push the same manufactured pop acts and fawningly declare ‘love’ for their boring, uninspiring music every single day (I’m looking at you, BBC Radio One).
4. The Queen is Dead:
“I said Charles, don’t you ever crave
To appear on the front of the Daily Mail
Dressed in your Mother’s bridal veil?”
This is one of the funniest lyrics ever written and needs little explanation. For me, honesty and humor are the fundamentals of good songwriting and Morrissey captured them perfectly.
5. The Headmaster Ritual:
run Manchester schools
spineless bastards all”
My dad also went to school in ’60s/ ’70s Manchester and echoes this sentiment.
6. Paint a Vulgar Picture:
“Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package!
Re-evaluate the songs
Double-pack with a photograph
Extra track (and a tacky badge)”
I could have picked any verse from this witty attack on record company greed. In ‘Autobiography’, Moz makes no secret of his disdain for Rough Trade.
7. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now:
“In my life
why do I give valuable time
to people who don’t care if I live or die/ smile at people who I’d much rather kick in the eye”
This was perhaps a comment on the fakery that exists in modern social interaction.
8. Accept Yourself:
“And there’s no-one left to blame
Oh, tell me when will you…
When will you accept your life?
(The one that you hate)
For anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes”
This entire song appeared to be a letter from Morrissey to himself; about being too shy to conquer your dreams. Of course, Moz arguably did.
9. Still Ill:
“Does the body rule the mind
Or does the mind rule the body ?
I don´t know…”
Morrissey took us deep here! I don’t know either…
10. Shoplifters of the World Unite:
“Shoplifters of the world
Unite and take over
Shoplifters of the world
Hand it over
Hand it over
Hand it over”
In 1987, Morrissey said of this song: “I often wonder why shoplifting can be such a serious crime when making nuclear weapons isn’t. That should really be a crime, I think, but it isn’t. We live in a very twisted world, with a very twisted morality.”
Was this, then, a jibe at governments who punish the simple ‘petty thief’ but build weapons behind the scenes?
What are your favorite Smiths/ Morrissey lyrics and songs? Comment below.