Notice a lot of music zines starting to write about the 30th anniversary of MEAT IS MURDER (which is on February 11th). This is one of those records I can remember exactly when and where I was when I heard it for the first time so hard did it hit me, move me, effect me with its delivery of lyrical and musical truths. I pretty much like everything the Smiths did but I still think this is their best record as well as one of my four or five favorite records of all time.
It contains Morrissey’s best lyrics – More complex ,more imaginative, less self-parodying as well as a number of their greatest songs - That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (Perhaps my favorite Smiths song), I Want the One I Can’t Have, The Headmaster Ritual, and of course How Soon Is Now?
It is also Johnny Marr at his very best. My favorite guitarist of all time and this record is a big reason why – Tons of overdubs, interesting textures, creative arrangements. I just love the sound he extracts from his instrument.
THE QUEEN IS DEAD is a brilliant record and often singled out as The Smiths best record. I enjoy it very much but it is a cut up bouncier less deep version of their music. Moz as soundbite artist and stand-up comedian, Marr as riff snippet machine. The genius of it is making The Smiths music more accessible and understandable to all. As a hardcore fan though, I prefer the deeper, more rawer, more difficult Smiths of MEAT IS MURDER.
Getting back to the songs for the moment, Morrissey has always been the greatest chronicler of the rejected, the lonely, those who can’t find someone who wants to share their life. He is direct when it is necessary – Shyness is nice but can stop you from having a satisfying life, the DJ never plays the songs that relate to my life etc. On MEAT IS MURDER there is plenty of directness such as on the ridiculous and carnophobic yet enjoyable title track with another classic Marr lick or How Soon is Now - the Stairway to Heaven for a very different generation. However, there is much more mystery here than on other Smiths albums such as That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore with its incredible shift in mood, the “it’s too late to be happy, loneliness turned to violence, no satisfaction in finally finding someone because of the horrific, degrading effort it took”.