The Smiths - A call to British youth
Born out of the Post-Punk heyday The Smiths are, arguably, one of the most influential bands in British history. Marr's electrifying chords breathed life into the Morrissey's contrasting lyrics. The juxtaposition of poetic despair alongside colloquial humour that are so synonymous with British emotion found a strange home within all classes of teenager in the early and mid-nineties. From the addition of Andy Rourke on bass and Mike Joyce on drums the band rolled from sold out show to T.V. show with no sign of stopping. Immortality looked imminent but law suits, in-fighting and solo ambition proved to stop The Smiths in a way that was undeniably synonymous with the band.
For those who were born closer to the turn of the century we have had to 'settle' for electrifying Morrissey live dates with some of his finest recorded work, and more recently Johnny Marr's solo ambition. Is it so strange that many in a new generation would be just as enticed to fall in love with The Smiths as 40 years ago? It is clear that The Smiths weren’t for everyone, and this is still the case. However, the undeniable love for what the band stand's for is, in many countries, bigger than ever. In South America Morrissey is adored in an overwhelming way the British passionately tried, but due to our stiff upper lip, could never truly reciprocate.
Behind the lyrics lies an ambition that extends personal comfort and staunch rights for animal liberation that could turn the biggest of meat eaters into a vegan. At an emotional level, Morrissey has given a platform for lyrical emotion expressed by artists, something that was almost unheard from all male bands at the time. Ultimately, The Smiths paved a way for emotional and political music in a brand-new formation. Perhaps their popularity is transcended by youth, who were allowed to fantasize about stardom from what was ultimately an extremely ordinary setting of Northern England. When questioned about the meaning of the name 'The Smiths' Morrissey will answer 'It was the most normal thing I could think of.' One thing is for sure, The Smiths were anything but normal. For those who love the band watching them live was almost like a religious experience, in the same way seeing Morrissey live still is. In a strange way if you don't understand the bands after listening to the cruelly funny Girlfriend In A Coma or unambitious call to arms of Panic you truly never will.
Whether you love or loathe The Smiths it is clear that this undying fascination with one of music's most influential groups is going nowhere fast.