Quit Your Jingle-Jangle: The Smiths’ Strangeways Here We Come Revisited - The Quietus

Quit Your Jingle-Jangle: The Smiths’ Strangeways Here We Come Revisited - The Quietus
August 15th, 2017.
By Ben Hewitt.

The Smiths’ last studio album was their most ambitious, adventurous and experimental, too. Thirty years on, Ben Hewitt looks back on the forward-thinking record that could have been the start of a new chapter, rather than a full-stop.

Excerpt:
"It’s the unexpected flourishes that make Strangeways so strong, elevating those songs which might not otherwise have stood out – the bitter barbs and understated semi-acoustic strum of ‘Unhappy Birthday’, for example, are given poignancy by the deep, gorgeous swoon of Marr’s harmonium. There is, in fact, only one track truly beyond redemption, and that’s ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’: the whimsical, unfunny elephant in the room, the one you heartily wish would stop trumpeting its inane jokes. One of the reasons it’s so disappointing is that such a one-note gag feels beneath a band so cunning; the played-for-laughs contrast between the jaunty melody, froggy bass and Morrissey’s wink-wink melodrama as he whispers his last goodbyes is so obvious, it’s like being tricked into sitting on a whoopee cushion by Noel Coward. But it also rankles because whenever people are desperate to prove The Smiths weren’t depressing, it’s songs like these they cling to; the ones so frivolous and farcical you can practically picture Morrissey mugging at you after each line, like he’s in an episode of Miranda. As Simon Reynolds wrote in Melody Maker after their split, The Smiths’ humour worked best when it was “black, scornful, scathing”. Without the piss and vinegar, the biting misery and sourness, it falls flat."

A very long and thorough discussion of the final album - discussed by someone who's at least interested in the topic.
Regards,
FWD.
 
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Comments

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Anonymous

Guest
I disagree about the humor always having to be black to succeed. There's some other bright and funny ones in there. I would also say his opinion on girlfriend in a coma is a minority one
 

Quando quando quando

Well-Known Member
I disagree about the humor always having to be black to succeed. There's some other bright and funny ones in there. I would also say his opinion on girlfriend in a coma is a minority one
I agree totally.
"Girlfriend In A Coma" is such a great song because it gives you that double feeling.
It is NOT only a very FUNNY song but also a very TRAGIC song at the SAME time.
One second you laugh, and the next you cry.
If you don't feel that, you're missing a part of The Smiths and Moz that made them so different and exceptional, compared to so many other music before, at the same time-period, and after.

The fact it is a minority opinion is not important, could be great but I can't help but feel if you miss this you are going to miss a great deal of other Smiths and Moz songs too and it makes me wary about the other insights. As in, hard to take them seriously.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The elephant in the room should have taken a mammoth dump on this review.

Girlfriend In A Coma inferior to Death At One's Elbow? That's downright sacrilege sunshine.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I've tried and tried, but I just can't get into this record as a whole. Individual tracks, yes, but dull stuff like 'Death of A Disco Dancer' and 'Death At One's Elbow' just keep me outside the record. :(

Though Paint A Vulgar Picture is brilliant.
 

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