52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

send me your pillow, the one that you dream on


One of the greatest albums ever recorded* is now 20 years old. Although contractual disputes with Rough Trade delayed the actual release date of ‘The Queen Is Dead’ until June 1986, the recording sessions themselves began in December 1985.

It’s an album whose reputation has grown over the years: in its infinite wisdom, the NME only rated it as the 9th best album of 1986 (behind ‘Raisin’ Hell’ by Run DMC, ‘Bend Sinister’ by The Fall, ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon, ‘Word Up’ by Cameo, ‘EVOL’ by Sonic Youth, ‘Control’ by Janet Jackson, ‘Rapture’ by Anita Baker and ‘Parade’ by Prince!). Now it’s an album that is more or less a fixture at the top end of those “Album of the Decade” type polls.

It’s a wonderful album… from the music hall opening, pounding drums and shimmering guitar of the title track, all the way through to the last notes of “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”. It has depth and variety, comedy and pathos, wit and wisdom…. it also contains probably my favourite song of all time: “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”.

With all of this in mind, I found myself wondering this morning if its reputation will survive being named by the new leader of the Conservative Party as his favourite record of all time? What would Morrissey (the author of a little ditty entitled “Margaret on the Guillotine”) make of that?

First The Urban Fox is quoted in the Daily Telegraph, and now this. What’s going on?

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* I imagine there may be some debate about this. For what it’s worth, I don’t even think it’s the best album by The Smiths.

11 Comments:

  • At 10:04 pm, Blogger Alecya G said…

    Okay, so you know I ahve very little in the way of music experience, so you probably already figured I have never heard of this album. Come the musical revolution, I acknowledge my deserving a good flogging. But congrats for you, and all the people who enjoy the music, just teh same.

     
  • At 12:57 am, Blogger the urban fox said…

    It's their best, but not my favourite of theirs. That does make sense, don't argue.

    Speaking of the kind people having a wonderful dream...

     
  • At 3:14 am, Blogger Jenni said…

    Hmmm...I don't know how I feel about at least approving of a conservative in any way, shape, or form...

     
  • At 6:24 am, Blogger HistoryGeek said…

    I know I've said this before, but I'm just not a big fan of the Smiths...maybe I missed hearing them at some crucial developmental juncture and am now somehow musically challenged. But I think it's more akin to that mysterious something that makes me hate cilantro when everyone else just can't seem to get enough.

     
  • At 6:16 pm, Blogger Mark said…

    what's the best Smiths album then?

     
  • At 6:26 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    my absolute favourite recording by The Smiths is "Hatful of Hollow", but that doesn't really count as an album as it's a compilation of various singles and sessions. My favourite album proper (and Johnny Marr's, apparently) is "Strangeways Here We Come". That opening run of four songs just can't be beaten. I've actually also got a soft-spot for "Meat Is Murder". Morrissey played "The Headmaster Ritual" when I saw him in Blackpool, and I'd forgotten quite what a fantastic song it is.

    As I say, "There Is A Light..." is probably my favourite song, but it was "Half A Person" that really kick-started my love affair.

    I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm in the grips of a smiths revival at the moment. Good job I'm not doing the earworms list tomorrow........

    (apparently Morrissey's new album is coming along nicely too, according to producer Tony Visconti's website)

    ST

     
  • At 8:03 pm, Blogger Aravis said…

    Strangeways Here We Come is probably my favorite as well.

    Your Smiths revival is kicking one up in me as well.

    Must go find that album now...

     
  • At 8:54 pm, Blogger red one said…

    Do you think the Tories are hitching themselves to popular culture because the Labour Party's nicked all the policies they used to have?

    I have to say I'd like to see a compilation album of anti-Thatcher songs released when she finally kicks the bucket. Maybe I'll raise the Jolly Roger and make it myself...

    red

     
  • At 10:05 pm, Blogger bytheseashore said…

    (Cameron to PA on the way the Press Conference: 'Are you completely sure "Margaret On The Guillotine" isn't on it?'

    It's just as cynical but more credible than Tony's claim to be really into Guns 'n' Roses. I guess Conservative Central Office must have baulked at Billy Bragg.

    Being this week's earworm it's not The Smiths that have been bothering me the most. I've been hiding from the radio and TV today in case I get caught up in Lennon's anniversary.

    On the subject of your favourite album not being a band's best, I'm sure there's mileage in 'Albums You Really Like That The Rest Of The World Knows Are Rubbish.' By that I mean albums that are generally considered to be truly bad, not just ones that most people are indifferent to. Mine has to be Adam Ant's 'Vive Le Rock'; the lyrics of a manic finally brain unravelling, backed by the Kellogg's Fruit And Fibre advert.

     
  • At 10:59 pm, Blogger Pynchon said…

    First CD I ever purchased (along with "Aftermath" by the Stones, and to be quite honest, a complete classic.

     
  • At 3:09 am, Blogger Flash said…

    The Queen is dead is an utterly fantastic album & There is a light... is untouchable. My first Smiths album was actually The World wont listen, I loved it so much I bought all the others.

     

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