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Friday, June 08, 2007

The Smith - "Meat is Murder" (Rough Trade, 1985) [key tracks: That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore]
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"Park the car at the side of the road. You should know time's tide will smother you (and I will too). When you laugh about people who feel so very lonely their only desire is to die, well I'm afraid it doesn't make me smile... I wish I could laugh... but that joke isn't funny anymore. It's too close to home and it's too near the bone, it's too close to home and it's too near the bone, more than you'll ever know..."
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There are a lot of things in this world I do not understand. I mean, I couldn't even start to catalog even the stuff that I know I don't know. I don't know why people can't live content with what they have. I don't know why nations (and families) always seem to feel as if they have to expand or die. I don't understand the desire to just sit and be passive your whole life in front of a TV, and I don't understand people who don't want to learn anything once they exit the compulsory part of their education. But mostly, I do not understand why in the hell the new Transformers movie is being made. Worse than that, why did they make Bumblebee anything other than a VW bug? A Chevy Camaro? I guess they know their demographic.
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Carl's Favorite Songs - #38 - Let Forever Be by The Chemical Brothers
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According to my brother, the only people around here who like The Smiths are me and Jana. I think there are others. Anyway, "Meat Is Murder" is the best showcase of how all-over-the-board the Smiths truly were. It was their second LP, and already they were growing and becoming very diverse in sound. The debut LP sold not as well as hoped, and rather than go back to teh same well, they decided to throw an absolute caledoscope of styles at music fans; whether to see what would stick or as a middle finger to people who expected easy to love pop, we'll never really know. Morrissey's lyrics are sometimes poetic, sometimes pompous and laughable, where the music lilts between dark and hopeful, indy rock and pop, folk and dance with ease. Yet, it yielded a couple accessible singles. The biggest song of the album isn't even ON THE ALBUM. The quintessential emo song "How Soon is Now?" is a monument to 80's new wave/pop rock. You'd know it immediately if you heard it... "I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does..." The problem is, it was only tacked on to the US release of "Meat is Murder" to help encourage the Yanks to buy the LP. It wasn't until the 1990's that the song officially became a canonical part of the albums set list (that is, on all forthcoming releases and reprints). The title track is a less than eloquent/non-interesting treatise on being a vegetarian. I'm not sold by the way, and it stands out as the worst cut on the LP. And those who allow the LP to grow on them will find it a rich expereince. Don't forget to savor "I Want The One I Can't Have." While not the most accessible, cynical, or moving LP from the Smiths, it is a classic of 1980's alternative rock.
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My copy is one of the original UK copies, sans "How Soon Is Now?" which is fun for a collector and music purist, but disappointing for someone who loves that song. Anyway the LP in question is a fantastic treasure for a Smiths fan, and I found mine at a store in Omaha for pretty cheap and in fantastic condition. Kudos to any music store that doesn't succumb to overpricing or listing all the goodies on Ebay rather that allowing those of us who dig through stacks until our fingertips are black to find a few gems.
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My favorite song on the LP is "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore," a song I listened to a dozen times on a long tear filled road trip home from Denver during a time of great personal crisis and betrayal. Don't even try to tell me I don't have an emo side!
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Horn's up!
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1 comment:

Chris in Oxford said...

Great site. Good idea for a blog, I love writing and reading about music. Keep it up.