Pretty Green

The Smiths Singles Retrospective

There have been reissues. There have been repackages. And now it’s time to reevaluate the songs. So, put on your tacky badge, and let’s take a look at the seventeen Smiths singles that were released from 1983 to 1987. In just four short years, the Manchester-based band broke on to the scene — confusing, titillating, and/or enraging everyone in their path — and, just as quickly they were gone.  The short length of their dynasty has not had a deleterious impact on their legacy, however. Never before had there been a band that went so far beyond trite pop cliches, willing to touch upon real-life mass murders, loneliness, sexuality — and, not merely that heterosexual sort we were all more comfortable with. This was a band that was literate, cultured, and timely. It’s hard to believe that, in a post-Beatles world, one band could achieve so much in so few years. The influence of the band cannot be overstated. Morrissey and Marr will go down in history as one of the most significant partnerships in modern music history.

Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me b/w Rusholme Ruffians (December 1987)

Picture 17 of 17

Sadly, 'Last Night I Dreamt...' was the last Smiths single to be released while the Smiths were still releasing new music (several singles were re-issued years after their split). The first one minute and fifty seconds of this masterpiece consists of a minimalist, clonking piano raining down upon a backdrop of crowd noises from the UK miners' strike. As the intro reaches crescendo, the song blasts in, much like the hopeless reality of unending loneliness invades at unexpected moments. Both Morrissey and Marr have named this their favorite Smiths song, and it's easy to understand why. If the Smiths had to end, this was the most victorious way to go.

Britpopping since I first heard 'Animal Nitrate' in 1993

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