H.E.L.P. Is On The Way… (How The Smiths Saved The World’s Youth)

18 Jul

It was really in the 1980′s when “angsty teenagers” became a thing. There had always been teenagers, there had always been unrest, but it was in that decade that they were honed in on and nurtured. The Brat Pack via The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything, Every Other Movie Made That Decade With A Heartthrob And An Unattainable Member Of The Opposite Gender With A Quip About A Homework Assignment… John Hughes had film covered (and brought with him a teen anthem in Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me”), but it was The Smiths who took the reigns in the audio category. Obviously they weren’t alone, but they’re the guys I’m going to focus on tonight.

The Smiths formed in 1983, and were the entity that united many of England’s lost, pimple-faced souls. They prayed on fears of rejection, loneliness, sadness, etc. in a beautiful way that made sense to a lot of people. They’re relatable. They’re the kind of group where I can hear almost any of their songs, and feel like it was written for me (I was originally talking about 80′s kids then moved on to myself, but we’re really one in the same). Their lyrics are simple and powerful.

The one that really got to me today was “burn down the disco / hang the blessed DJ / because the music that they constantly play / it says nothing to me about my life”. A song can be musically perfect, lyrically genius, sung with unsurpassed tone, but if it isn’t relatable in some way, I feel it really lacks that quality that takes a song from repeat-worthy to anthem-worthy. The kids want music about being misunderstood! About resenting “the way things are”! About wearing black on the outside because that’s how they feel on the inside! And boy did Morrissey and crew deliver.

Unlovable by The Smiths
(see if you can find the line I just quoted above)

The themes that they sung about still ring true today, and hold up like a pair of suspenders. Snap! As a teenager trying to find my place in the world, sometimes it’s nice to have friends from the past sing me through rough patches or insecurities. Thanks, Morrissey.

Currently listening to: Louder Than Bombs album on repeat as my driving and train ride soundtrack

Half A Person by The Smiths
(“sixteen, clumsy, and shy / that’s the story of my life”)

PS If you couldn’t tell from the fancy links above, I got the data upgrade so now if I talk about some obscure, hip song like the trendsetter I am, you’ll now know what I’m talking about. ;)

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5 Responses to “H.E.L.P. Is On The Way… (How The Smiths Saved The World’s Youth)”

  1. Francis July 22, 2011 at 9:33 AM #

    I love the chorus in that, “Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang, the DJ.”
    They really don’t like DJ’s huh?

    • blogonlyknows July 22, 2011 at 1:16 PM #

      Since they don’t clarify, I can only assume that when they say DJ they’re talking about Dumb Jerks- if you use that context their adverse feelings make more sense. ;) Either that, or Deranged Junipers. Dirty Jacuzzis. Dark Jedi, I could go on… :P

      • Francis July 23, 2011 at 3:22 AM #

        LOL Dirty Jacuzzis? Yes, kill them all indeed.

  2. Mammie Liverpool August 15, 2011 at 10:10 AM #

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

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