The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fridays are For Telling People What to Like

Though I'm rather certain that no one reads this blog anymore and it will forever be consigned to the dustbins of history (dustbins, dude, dustbins), I've decided that Fridays will be dedicated to lauding things that don't suck. So, in an effort to scientifically prove that Fridays are indeed fun days and to prove that I'm not the cynical jerk that everyone thinks I am (unlikely), I will see how far this gets me.

So with my second draft pick for the Jeff Weiss Musical Hall of Fame, I'm going to cite The Smiths 1986 masterpiece, "The Queen is Dead." Outside of LA, most people who have a pulse are aware of and are major fans of The Smiths. Yet here in the City O' Suck, most people that like The Smiths are to use the words of Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park, "a bunch of faggy goth kids."

However, while Morrissey, the band's lead singer, can often be a bit whiny at times on his other albums, he completely steps up his venom and biting wit on "Queen." The title track begins the band's opus, and directs a searing jab at Queen Elizabeth. But it's not only The Queen who gets savaged, he even asks Prince Charles, "I said Charles, don't you ever crave To appear on the front of the Daily Mail Dressed in your Mother's bridal veil ?"

20 years later, I think everyone is convinced that Prince Charles would indeed like to appear in his mother's bridal veil. Or at least raise children that fantasize about playing Joseph Goebbels.

My personal favorite track on the album is a song called "Frankly, Mr. Shankly." It catalogues the horrors of work and having an insipid boss that is suffocating your life and dreams. On this song, the melancholy Manchesterite (or Manxman as the weird Brits call people from Manchester). indicts the aforementioned Shankly (I mean c'mon his name is Shankly for Christ's sake).

"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
Frankly, Mr. Shankly, I'm a sickening wreck I've got the 21st century breathing down my neck I must move fast, you understand me I want to go down in celluloid history."

Anyone who has ever held down a day job, while dreaming of a better day of fulfillment and happiness needs to hear this song, preferably at a very loud volume, while fantasizing about quitting. Just picture saying those words to your boss as you walk at the door.

But the best part about Morrissey is his devastating wit and slight cruelty. The man isn't only out to indict the working world, he wants to expose its fraudelent and egomaniacal leaders for what they really are.

"Sometimes I'd feel more fulfilled Making Christmas cards with the mentally ill I want to live and I want to Love I want to catch something that I might be ashamed of
Frankly, Mr. Shankly, this position I've held It pays my way and it corrodes my soul Oh, I didn't realise that you wrote poetry I didn't realise you wrote such bloody awful poetry, Mr. Shankly."

The Smiths are simply one of those perfect bands that wouldn't know how to write a bad song if they tried. Every one of their four studio albums is outstanding and you couldn't go wrong really by picking up any of them, or the compilation album "Louder Than Bombs."

But the penultimate track of "The Queen is Dead," provides what is arguably Morrissey's most poignant and touching song, "There is a Light That Never Goes Out." The song describes a loner who feels uncomfortable at the margins of society and never feels at home anyplace but with the object of his affection. It sounds a bit hokey on paper but accompanied by Johnny Marr's angular guitar riffs and a soft gorgeous strings that weep in the background, it has the potential to deeply affect even the most diamond-hearted soul.

So buy the album, one listen could tell you way more than I could ever hope to. I can't say enough about it, I almost like it as much as the second Slayer album...Almost.


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