ad00absurdum: (the smiths)
Day 7: Song That Saved Your Life

Well now, that is a question of quite a mammoth calibre. And there's something wrong with it. It's quite all right to hear it sung by Mozzer (for those who don't know: it's from Rubber Ring and the line goes "and don't forget the songs that made you smile and the songs that saved your life") because the context there is a little bit different. Namely it's quite clear the 'saving' is figurative.
Now, on its own the question implies The Smiths fans are indeed suicidal and need a song to save their life quite literally. And I don't appreciate this implication.

Besides, as another man sang, quite poetically I might add (and I'd have never thought I'd say those words about one of the Gallagher brothers) "Don't put your life in the hands of a rock'n'roll band" and that's the advice we all should heed. Really, we'd be much better for it. Not that we will heed it actually, but that's one of the most useful things (if not the most useful thing) pop music has ever said.

Back to the question, it's This Charming Man for the simple reason of being the first Smiths song I've ever heard. I don't know if there's any other way this question can be answered, really. It has to be the first song you hear because then you discover the band, fall in love and put them in a position to save your life. Simple if a bit disfunctional. Or is it?

And with Day 7, the Smiths meme is finally complete. I bet you all sigh with relief. Yes, I do too.
ad00absurdum: (the smiths)
Day 6: Favourite Photo

Hmm, I don't think I've actually got a favourite photo. There's a ton that make for an excellent fic fodder but a fave - nah.

This one, though, makes me smile every time I see it because I just can't shake the impression they all look at Craig Gannon in that empty swimming pool (it's that photo session with all 5 of them). Sort of like they're all trolling Craig "Swim, boy, swim!"

A bit symptomatic of all The Smiths + Craig setup, if you ask me.

Moz, Mike, Johnny and Andy sitting on an edge of an empty swimming pool
ad00absurdum: (quote - mitch benn)
Day 5: Favourite Video

Hmm, this is actually difficult to answer and not becasue it's all good and hard to choose from but because it's all crap and hard to choose from. I mean, I love The Smihs (no, really?) but the videos they made were nothing special.

Morrissey had refused to make videos (something about how the group weren't going to pander to modern music tastes of cheap "cinematic" entertainment) and the result was that when they had to make a vid promoting the material, it was usually Top of the Pops appearance. Lots of smoke, occasionally baloons, an audience who didn't give a damn what music they were dancing to and dubious lighting.

Therefore I choose an inteview and some staged studio footage. Staged but I still love watchng it (Andyyyy) and as one commenter on YT pointed out: Andy looks cool with his bass, Johnny looks cool with his guitar, Moz looks cool singing. And then there's Mike. Looking like he's about to murder you.

As for the official videos, This Charmin Man has got something of a sentimental value.

ad00absurdum: (the smiths)
Yes, I'm hoping to finish this meme before the end of this year. And sorry for spamming your reading/friends pages but it was all too good to miss. So, without further ado:

Day 4: Favourite Drum Part

With this I'm pretty sure my favourite is What Difference Does It Make?, the Hatful of Hollow version. The album version (The Smiths - their debut) is constrained, polished and kept to a painfully narrow unimaginative rhythm. All fault of John Porter who produced their eventual debut and who concentrated on Johnny's precious guitars to the detriment of everything else with perhaps the exception of Morrissey's vocals. Bitter? moi? Never.

Oh all right, maybe Porter's style and focus on Johnny really brought out what we've all appreciated about Marr, namely his stunning guitar-work, but the Hatful of Hollow's versions of the songs from the debut album really let the rhythm section shine and thank God for that.

Mike Joyce's musical roots were punk so it's not surprising he'd want to experiment with odd rhythms and below you can hear the result of that. Listen how splendidly the bass drum doesn't follow the bass guitar and how the stress is put where you wouldn't expect it. The only other drummer I can recall playing like this was John Maher from The Buzzcocks.

And if you need further proof that Mike was/is a brilliant drummer, listen to any cover of any Smiths song. The drummer always always fails to repeat Mike's original patterns.

Well, okay, have a bonus track: These Things Take Time from '83 Derby gig. I've chosen this one because the bass drum is especially clear here.

Damn, have another bonus track: The Queen Is Dead because the drum intro is a thing to behold. Also, this is one of the few Smiths videos directed by Derek Jarman:

ad00absurdum: (the smiths)
Erm, Day 3 that turns up five months after Day 2. But never mind, I'm sure you've all missed the meme terribly.

Day 3: Favourite Guitar Part

Hmm, tough choice, that one. Not that the previous choces were any easier. All right, I think I'll choose William, It Was Really Nothing because of the sheer shimmering quality of those guitars. Like rain drops shivering on a delicate spider's web (well well, look me go all poetic about that. Nevertheless, it is true). The proof:

ad00absurdum: (tumblr - joy)
Day 2: Favourite Bass Line

Only second day and it's already time for the most difficult choice of this meme. I don't think I'm actually able to choose just one favourite bass line. Every time I listen to The Smiths, it seems like virtually every bass line is just too good to remain unmentioned. Obviously, I'll have to restrict myself to, er... four or five. Or six. Or seven.

First, Rusholme Ruffians because even though Johnny had totally ripped the melody off Presley's song - (Marie's the Name of) His Latest Flame - the bass stands out something unbelieveble. From totally flat original to a lovely bouncing line.

Next, What Difference Does It Make? where the bass is a brilliant contra to the guitar. A little bit funky, and the ending is just gorgeous (BRB, worshipping Rourkey).

This Charming Man has, in turn, such a jaunty bouncy bass line it's hard not to smile. Together with the guitar, the bass makes a the whole song a truly wonderful experience. Also, listen to how Andy's fingers walk all over that fretboard in chorus.

Then Girl Afraid with so many ghost notes it makes almost every aspiring bassist fail rather spectacularly.
In Andy's case, those ghost notes are probably a 'by-product' of him playing with a plectrum and the easiest way you can hear them is when they're absent. Listen to any cover of the song (there's even a bass cover on YouTube) and you'll see what I mean. And meanwhile, have the original:

Girl Afraid (Live at Rockpalast, 1984):

And finally, Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want where the bass line is so subtle most people don't even hear it. It's such a lovely little melody it's a shame it's so hidden.

As you can see, I listened to Hatful of Hollow while trying to decide. I really like that album because the production has pushed the drums and bass to the fore. You can really hear Mike's bass drum and how splendidly it doesn't go together with Andy's bass guitar.

Oh, all right, as a bonus track: Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others because I love this bass line to bits. Well, Johnny's guitar here is a bonny thing too, but the bass, the bass *makes 'me gusta' face*. The ghost notes at the end are so freaking awesome I have no words. Listening to Smiths' covers, I've never heard those notes played as they should be.
ad00absurdum: (the smiths)
Oops, am I a day late?

Day 1: Favourite Lyrics

Damn, there are so many fine lyrics, it's hard to choose one that would be my favourite. I think I'll go with Wonderful Woman though. One of the less popular songs, one of the first Smiths' songs and one I spent quite a long time looking for a few years ago (uh, about ten years ago, to be more precise). Those were the times when Internet wasn't readily available and YouTube was in its infancy - or maybe didn't exist yet. I finally found the song on Kazaa and you know how it is: the harder something is to get, the more it is appreciated.

The thing that makes me feel inclined to say these are my favourite Morrissey's writings, is the line about "ice water for blood". Beautifully delivered and quite evocative. And also the "I'm starved of mirth" declaration. Sort of old-fashioned-sounding and yet, not quite.

Although, it also can be said that Hand in Glove is my favourite. Because - and that's straight from Morrissey's mouth - it is not a song about two people, a couple. It's about the band :D Oh, the wonderful tricks of the English language.

EDIT: An afterthought, but I suddenly realised that my favourite Morrissey lyrics - really really favourite - is not Smiths era, but his solo era. Yes, I'm surprised as well. Anyway, the lyrics in question are for Girl Least Likely To. It's hard not to like the lines saying She lives for the written word and people come second or possibly third. Is that revealing too much?

Also, Sister, I'm a Poet, which contains this absolutely wonderful question: And is evil just something you are or something you do?

Good old Mozzer.
ad00absurdum: (tumblr - trololol)
The Smiths cartoon - Smiths sitting by a breakfast table: Morrissey sipping tea, Johnny (sunglasses on) reading a newspaper, Andy sleeping and using Mike as his teddy bear, Mike frowning down at Andy
cartoon by by chance or whim

Still on The Smiths spree, so let's have a meme, shall we? It's supposed to be a 7-day meme, but since I can't be on-line every day, I'm making it into an unknown-number-of-days 'event'. Still seven days, but sort of dragging on forever *trollolol*.
Also, I've changed the questions slightly because the original (or at least the place where I saw it first) had fave bass line (yay) but not the guitar nor drum part. Unforgivable.

Seven Days with The Smiths:
Day 1: Favourite Lyrics
Day 2: Favourite Bass Line
Day 3: Favourite Guitar Part
Day 4: Favourite Drum Part
Day 5: Favourite Video
Day 6: Favourite Photo
Day 7: Song That Saved Your Life

I'll start tomorrow most likely. Brace yourselves.


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