2017年 08月 10日 ( 3 )


There Is A Light That Never Goes Out カバー集

ここ数日、解散30年の80sバンドとしてザ・スミスとボウイばかり懐古して16歳のあの頃に想いを馳せてゐるが、いよいよスミスのカバーにまで手を伸ばしてゐる始末。といふことで名曲「There Is A Light That Never Goes Out」のカバーを集めてみた次第だ。

The Smiths
'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' covers


Noel Gallagher

The Cranberries

The Killers

Teeth & Tongue

Dum Dum Girls

Johnny marr


by ichiro_ishikawa | 2017-08-10 23:05 | 音楽 | Comments(0)  

The Smiths: The Open Secret of 'Girlfriend in a Coma'(転載)

The Smiths: The Open Secret of 'Girlfriend in a Coma'

How a unique alternative-rock tune became the Smiths' most controversial song


The Smiths – Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke, Johnny Marr and Morrissey – released "Girlfriend in a Coma" on August 10th, 1987, just days after the band officially broke up. Andre Csillag/REX/Shutterstock

By Armond White


Because its title is both shocking and hilarious, "Girlfriend in a Coma" is perhaps the most famous – and most scandalous – of all songs recorded by the Smiths. It's because of that shock, hilarity and scandal that the song deserves celebration on the 30th anniversary of its August 10th, 1987 release.

The legendary status of "Girlfriend" – included on the band's fourth and final album, Strangeways, Here We Come – began with singer-lyricist Morrissey's daring to provoke. He pretended to offend the tradition of conventional pop song subject matter; his daring was part of how the Smiths enlivened 1980s music, setting new standards for the language of popular communication. Morrissey won pop star status for romanticizing unconventional, misunderstood passions. His songs for the Smiths were trailblazing inspiration for the acceptance of social perspectives and emotional sensitivity that cool hipster rock had forbidden.

But not even the Smiths' devoted cult of alternative listeners – who enjoyed the stimulation of hearing a fresh, original approach to pop – were prepared for this salvo. By going against the hedonist, romantic clichés that typically ruled the pop charts, "Girlfriend'"s surprising, indirect poignance makes it a rare example of an alternative pop song whose reputation infiltrated the culture.

If the title itself seemed bizarre (an item supporting Elvis Costello's snarky allegation that Morrissey comes up with great titles then forgets to write the song), Girlfriend's" balance of solemnity and derision is not so morbid as detractors suggest; it actually lays out a challenge to group-think sentimentality. Composer Johnny Marr introduces sweetly charming and deceptive melody that Morrissey's first lines cunningly subvert, adding "la-la-la-la-la."

After a blues-based repetition of his title and thesis, Morrissey confesses the all-too-human exasperation sometimes felt in relationships even when not fraught with medical emergency.

"There were times when I could have strangled her/But you know I would hate anything to happen to her."

Morrissey jokes, but this is a no-joke irony. Its ethical demand is up there with "You're the One For Me, Fatty" as a bias-busting, precedent-setting, world-changing report on personal affection.

It's a new kind of love song, stranger – and more strangely affecting – than most because it zeroes in on the complex vagaries of love: Love equal to friendship; friendship equal to love. This understanding of human relations is more advanced than everyday pop. Morrissey opens up pop heterosexual clichés – queers them – with an open mind and kind-heartedness that reveals the song's true meaning, its open secret.


The Smiths live at the GMEX Manchester, July 19th, 1986. Ian Tilton/Redux

"Girlfriend in a Coma" is an AIDS song. It's a response to the crisis that took the lives and broke the hearts of so many friends and lovers – the holocaust of the 1980s. In contradistinction to Elvis Costello's notion that Morrissey could not complete an introductory thought, the song's terse, subtle elegance goes on to address a worldwide trauma.

Poet-provocateur Morrissey displayed a pith and potency that refused to wallow in self-pity, just as Marr's delightful guitar melody refused to supply a dirge. But beneath the calm, white-knuckle surface, the pain is there, waiting to be discovered – especially by listeners who know how the record's complex emotions actually felt. (For those who don't, who are too inexperienced or unaware, the infectious tune teaches a lesson in sympathy.)

Good pop music is frequently full of jokes and impudence ("I'd like to drop my trousers to the Queen/Every sensible child will know what this means," as Morrissey joked in "Nowhere Fast"). But true wit in a pop record is rare and "Girlfriend in a Coma" has got it. The realization of suddenly threatened illness and possible death emboldens the seemingly simple, "shocking" subject so that this brief, two-and-a-half minute, song tests the substance of modern living, surviving and grieving during the Plague.

"Girlfriend in a Coma" is an AIDS song. It's a response to the crisis that took the lives and broke the hearts of so many friends and lovers – the holocaust of the 1980s.

Heard in the full context of the album Strangeways, Here We Come, the Smiths' final LP and to my mind their finest-yet achievement, "Girlfriend" is the jaunty coda that follows the longer but no less subtly profound "Death of a Disco Dancer." On that track, the band takes up gay, dance-music subcultures that suffered the phenomenon of sudden bereavement and connects their experience to the stunned mainstream – much as Prince's "Sign O the Times" also did that same year (it contained Prince's eulogy "a man died from a big disease with a little name").

Morrissey's large, spiritual view of the world's turmoil resembles Prince's litany of sorrows, but Morrissey's quotidian catastrophes ("I'd rather not get involved/I never talk to my neighbors I'd/Rather not get involved" – with a woeful swoop on "in-vooolved" as if emotional engagement had come a social faux pas – describes the condition of a fragmenting society that likely was getting worse: Indifference to AIDS tragedy – which the song reproaches –anticipates the next millennium's extreme political polarization. Morrissey is always indie pop's most moving, unsettling moral conscience.

Not many pop artists were capable of coming to grips with the AIDS tragedy; they were either mortified or incapacitated by anger – the first step of grief and political activism. But the latter is too obvious for Morrissey who had already agitated for PETA (his glorious anthem "Meat Is Murder" also avoided the usual protest song vulgarity). An ACT-UP anthem wasn't to Morrissey's temperament; his tone is more insinuating and Oscar Wildean sly. That's why "Death of a Disco Dancer" climaxes with clashing piano chords recalling Bowie's "John, I'm Only Dancing," while "Girlfriend" eases into Morrissey's so effective, plaintive mode: "Would you please let me see her!"


He borrows the desperate waiting-room cry of anxious loved ones. "Do you really think she'll pull through?" underscores the implied concern – that's where Marr and producer Stephen Street strike an urgent note with violin strings, not weepy, but hard. It wipes the smirk off sarcasm. Morrissey resumes his feigned distance then, in no-pressure mode, grasps the fateful reality: "Let me whisper my last goodbye/ I know it's serious…"

That last line is beautifully sober – not mawkish or snarky, which are too often styles of adolescent resistance to admitting they have deep, hurtful, embarrassing feelings. "Girlfriend," by design, brings you up short. And Morrissey brings anyone's misjudging of his song craft – even Elvis Costello's – to a halt.

In the music video for "Girlfriend," director Tim Broad and Morrissey rejected a literal interpretation of the song and chose clips from the 1964 film The Leather Boys, a prime example of Morrissey's favored British New Wave kitchen sink realism, this time about a young man (Colin Campbell) who marries too soon and faces doubts about his masculinity, egged-on by his equally immature wife (Rita Tushingham). Her wide-eyed, accusing stare symbolizes the song's feminine pronoun ("her/she") so that the video's images construct postmodern (it was the Eighties, remember?) conflict between genders. The video portrays the friendship and commiseration to which the song is a remarkable testimony.

Few pop songs are about grief, but Morrissey's attempt to acknowledge grief with humor and tenderness is why "Girlfriend in a Coma" is extraordinary.

by ichiro_ishikawa | 2017-08-10 22:19 | 音楽 | Comments(0)  

Why It's Great the Smiths Broke Up(転載)




Why It's Great the Smiths Broke Up

Celebrating the breakup of the Manchester foursome – Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce – 30 years later


The breakup of the Smiths was pre-ordained. The band, circa 1985. Pictorial Press Ltd./Alamy

by Mark Simpson

There's nothing quite like realizing that it's
three entire decades since the most perfectly-beautiful, perfectly-worded, perfectly-pitched and perfectly-quiffed relationship you ever had ended for making you feel dead and buried already.

Yes, this month is the big 30th anniversary for the 1987 breakup of the Smiths – possibly the most fraught, emotional and oft-lamented breakups in musical history. The Smiths generation keeps trying to piece back together its broken home, even as they find themselves closer now to their own retirement home than the 1980s. If only the lead guitarist Johnny Marr and lead singer Morrissey hadn't fallen out of handsome love with one another. If only they'd had a manager that they – i.e. Morrissey – could work with. If only Moz hadn't chosen to record that silly Cilla Black track that Marr hated! If only the NME hadn't run that premature "break-up" story. If only Marr, who was living on cocaine and booze at the time, had got himself a cheese and pickle sandwich from Boots instead of going home in a huff.

And if they'd stayed together – for the sake of the kids – imagine how the Smiths would have gone on to make the world listen! Imagine how they would have silenced with total, global, crushing success all those vulgar people that hated them and laughed at us loser fans back then! Imagine the body of work they would have produced by now! Instead of forcing us to keep going back to those four albums – and buying all those countless compilations, reissues, repackages and retro-vinyl limited release scratch-and-sniff picture discs.

But actually, really, very deep down, among our squidgesiest bits, I think we're all, even the biggest, die-hardest fans, secretly really quite glad the Smiths broke up. And if you're not, you probably should be. Their "premature" demise was entirely timely. It saved us from ever having to suffer the unspeakable outrage of a mediocre Smiths album. Something considerably less survivable than end of the band. And it would have come, as surely as bed death follows boredom. That's what happens when any band, let alone one as passionate and truthful as the Smiths, don't like each other anymore but "keep the show on the road."

The expiry of the Smiths after five incandescent years saved them not only from existing in the same timeline as acid house, but also from becoming the very thing they hated and which they rallied the disaffected youth of the "entrepreneurial" Eighties against: just another business. We were spared them ever becoming the Indie Rolling Stones. Or Coldplay with a frontman. Or, that form of musical living death as ghastly as it is commonplace, their own tribute band. Thanks to Cilla Black and that missing cheese sandwich, the Smiths now live on forever in their – and our – pomp: shining, stainless, peerless. No one can touch a hair on their head.

The Smiths, that's to say the creative, emotional, sexy-but-sexless marriage of Morrissey-Marr, were not simply a band, they were, as the name advertised, a family – the non-nuclear, passionate, alternative family to the thermo-nuclear Price Is Rightprimetime family sired by the monetarist marriage of Thatcher-Reagan. This was the 1980s, if you're crumbly enough to remember, that was not just dominant at the time, but compulsory: "There is no alternative" Maggie famously decreed.


Johnny Marr (left) and Morrissey of the Smiths pose together in the store room of Rough Trade records in London in 1983. Clare Muller/Getty Images

So the Smiths were effectively banned from daytime BBC Radio 1 – except as a punchline – and from pretty much all of the non-NME press, and thus from the upper reaches of the singles charts. The highest charting Smiths single ever was a 1992 reissue of "This Charming Man," five years after they had given up the ghost – it got to Number Eight. The original release in 1983 stalled, criminally, at Number 25 – one of the greatest singles in pop history didn't even reach the Top Twenty. Even then their hippy record company Rough Trade reportedly struggled to press enough copies of their records, so it's probably just as well it seemed to have a publicity budget smaller than Phil Collins' annual spend on combs.

All of which, while a source of great frustration to the band and to Morrissey in particular (and also bitter inspiration: e.g. "Frankly Mr Shankly"), was rather wonderful from the selfish point of view of the fans.

Because it meant that the Smiths remained a well-kept secret, one that belonged entirely to them – and being a Smiths fan in the Eighties was to be part of a very exclusive misfit club. Though in fact this exclusivity just came down to three requirements: Do you have any taste? Do you have a heart? And do you have a sense of humor? "The Smiths are sooooooo depressing!" said every naff twat you knew in the Eighties – which was millions upon millions. But, annoying as it was, every time you heard that lazy dismissal it confirmed something deeply, almost sexually satisfying: that most people simply didn't deserve to be Smiths fans.

All this was about to change in 1987. The Smiths had a brand new non-hippy record label, EMI, with plenty of printing presses and even cash to splash on publicity. The monster that is the American market was beginning to stir and had fixed its rapacious eye upon them. They were poised to finally reap the rewards of all their hard and tender work: the misfit Mancunians were about to become masters of the universe. And probably end up playing stadiums full of those people who used to tell you: "The Smiths are sooooooo depressing."

Many of those people now pretend they were fans anyway, since the Smiths, a band at gentle but total war with the Eighties, has ended up defining that decade, artistically, aesthetically, and even politically (now that neoliberalism is no longer topping the charts). Everyone wants a piece of them – precisely because thanks to the "untimely" split The Smiths never were bought and sold to everyone.

And because they never reformed, despite the perennial feverish speculation – Smiths reformations have become the latter-day Elvis sightings. As Morrissey himself put it back in 2006, mercilessly squashing yet another reunion/resurrection rumor: "We are not friends, we don't see each other. Why on earth would we be on a stage together?" Of course, the answer is money – great steaming ever-increasing wodges of the stuff – but that really wouldn't be the Smiths, who were never about the moolah. Only the Sex Pistols could (just about) get away with calling their (1996) reunion: "The Filthy Lucre Tour." The closest the Smiths seem to have come to reforming was in 2008 when Marr and Morrissey almost rekindled their friendship – before Morrissey lapsed into Morrisseyean silence again.

Besides, since the termination of his union with Marr, Morrissey has had a long and (mostly) successful solo career doing pretty much precisely what he wants – which is partly why the Smiths reforming without him is so inconceivable. Morrissey was the face, the voice, the poet, the ideologist, the polemicist, the art director, the photo researcher, the archivist, the skinny vegan sex symbol, the stand-up comedian, the ego, the invalid and the big fat mouth of the Smiths that a generation of "losers" fell hopelessly-hopefully in love with. And it is probably Steven Patrick Morrissey's own needy, emotional attachment to the Smiths as the band that saved him from being a fanboy forever smothered in a box bedroom in Stretford that has – so far – saved it from the ritual cannibalism of a reunion.


Morrissey performs live at Wellington Town Hall on December 14th, 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

The breakup of the Smiths was pre-ordained anyway. It was foretold in their very first and perfectly-formed single, conceived between their second and third gigs and released in May 1983 – the startlingly original yet bafflingly timeless "Hand in Glove," a three minute, derriere-scorching epic which peaked at Number 124(I told you the 1980s were swinish). It announces the snug union of Morrissey-Marr as a kind of updated Jo-Geoff odd/queer alliance (from Morrissey's uber-text, Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey), and the Smiths as their alternative family looking to adopt a generation. It also urgently evangelizes the Smiths' ironic but entirely sincere credo: "The sun shines out of our behinds/No, it's not like any other love/this one is different – because it's us."

Here, in the first single, is a declaration of war on the shoulder-padded sensibility of the Eighties: "Yes, we may be hidden by rags/But we have something they'll never have" promising to "fight to the last breath." But for all the bravado and insolent optimism, Morrissey imploring his new-found "charmer" to stay on his arm and find the "good life out there, somewhere," the song ends on a melancholic and as it turns out accurately prophetic note: "But I know my luck too well/And I'll probably never see you again." There's something in the third repeat of that last line and it's drawn-out delivery that is wistful and pensive – "I'll prob-ly ne-ver see you-ou a-gain" – but deliciously so.

The prospect of losing what has been gained just after gaining it is what is already preoccupying Morrissey. But then, the masochistic logic of pop music decrees that the whole point of possessing someone is so that you can lose them – so that you can possess them forever, nostalgically. By the end of "Hand in Glove," the very first Smiths single is already nostalgic about the end of the Smiths.

At its happy-sad heart, the magic of great pop music is this bitter-sweet-sweeter blend of hope and despair, possession and loss: The sweetness of happiness and the even sweeter sadness that lies behind happiness and the prospect of losing it. The Smiths, of course, had this magic in spades and were a beautifully-doomed band for a beautiful, doomed generation. Their demise was always part of the deal.

Mark Simpson is the author of Saint Morrissey.

by ichiro_ishikawa | 2017-08-10 10:51 | 音楽 | Comments(0)