The Smiths

Posted in Uncategorized by rfslack on August 12, 2010

When it comes to music, whether I like or dislike any band usually hinges on my ability to become obsessive about at least one song.

In general, any amount of like or respect I have for a musician is irrelevant. I like and respect Gang of Four as a whole–but I’ve never connected with any particular song in such a way that has compelled me to hit “rewind” five times in a row (to the ever-loving delight of my long suffering wife.) As a result, I have a lot more love for Polyrock, as crappily pretentious of a New Wave band as you’re going to find–despite, our because, they were produced by Phillip Glass–simply because I heard a catchy but semi-retarded song on the radio one beautiful September evening and, for whatever reason, it just sounded so damn good.

The same applies with X and (I mention this because it came up today) Tom Waits. Neither have ever recorded a song that made me fumble for auto-repeat.

I have always had a kind of learning disability about The Smiths, not really loving Morrisey’s voice and fey songwriting, a defect that has caused me shame and confusion. For so many people, The Smiths were the quintessence of the 1980s–at least in that alternative shadow-1980s that existed in the minds of sensitive English majors with asymmetrical hair. (In my mind, the only good thing about the 80s were the valiant attempts of a very small minority to make the whole rotten sociopathic time not completely suck. Want to become nostalgic for the 80s? Think about Andrew Dice Clay.)

But I think I’ve found my portal to The Smiths: “Half a Person.” I’m sure I’ve heard this song a thousand times (at least the first fiften seconds of it) but for some reason it come up on my Ipod at a moment when I was unusually receptive. Walking the dog, bopping along, smelling the fresh post-rain air, headphones jammed in my ears–all of the elements must have been right because suddenly this sounded so good.

Like the Christians say, sometimes your heart must first ready before it can accept the light.

I’m ready, Jesus.


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