My favorite album: Jimmi Simpson on The Smiths' "The Queen Is Dead" - Under The Radar

My Favorite Album: Jimmi Simpson on The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead” - Under The Radar
"Music kind of runs my life. I'm never not soundtracking my own experience."


For an actor who relies on music as much as Jimmi Simpson—he carefully crafts playlists while prepping characters for Westworld (for which he was nominated for an Emmy), House of Cards, Black Mirror, the recent critical darling Perpetual Grace, LTD, and more—picking a favorite album can be a very tricky proposition.


All these years later, Simpson still looks back fondly on how that magnetic, boldly vulnerable frontman spoke to him. "Most of us find Morrissey when we're teenagers," he says. "And he makes us feel like dreamers, like: 'We're going to meet and write poetry in the cemetery, because we're gothy, and we don't fit in anywhere else.' And to have someone sing about that, in such a frolicking way, it's like 'Ohhh, you get me.'"

As much as he loves the album from front to back, Simpson says he's especially fond of The Queen Is Dead's "centerpiece, this trifecta." Fellow fans of course already know what he means: "Cemetry Gates," "Bigmouth Strikes Again," and "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side."

"You can't listen to those three songs in a row and not be a fan of The Smiths," says Simpson.

When asked about "Bigmouth Strikes Again," in particular, the shimmering-ly strummed, punchy drummed key track from that seminal Smiths album, Simpson says: "Of course I understood it right away—a song about when you love someone until you hate them. Because you're just so overwhelmed with feelings when you're that age."

And while The Smiths certainly encapsulated the pangs of his youth, Simpson still returns to The Queen Is Deadon nearly a weekly basis, despite it being 33 years later. "The thing that's so great about The Smiths is it transcends that angst of your teenage years," he says, adding: "You can pop it on in your 30s, 40s, or 70s, and just feel understood for a second."

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar's print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]


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I'm not saying a thing until I hear what Karen's got to say. One has to be careful to keep on her 'right' side. I wonder why she didn't just chnage her moniker to Niatnuofleer?

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