By and large people who like The Smiths indulge most heavily in listening to their music during “the sad years,” the time stretching from the self-conscious teen era to that point in your mid-20s when you start making enough money to properly support yourself. The problem with going overboard on listening to Smiths songs is that it can warp your brain. You might start to believe the sad world Morrissey lyrics embody is some sort of doomed romantic ideal worth aspiring to. In order to help you (or your little brother… or any other budding pseudo goths in your life) break the self-defeating Smiths cycle, here are a list of the top 10 most potentially damaging Smiths songs. Take our advice and avoid repeatedly listening to them at all costs, unless you want your brain to be rewired so its default setting is self-indulgent melancholy.
1. “What Difference Does It Make?”
This is Morrissey in classic form. In this song, he scorns a partner who he would “leap in front of a flying bullet for” and who makes him feel “so ashamed.” It’s an ode to rejection disguised as an apathetic query about what difference it could possibly make if you changed to thwart the spurning of a morally bankrupt lover. First of all, let’s not kid ourselves with this faux-Bonnie & Clyde romance. But second of all, Obama would strongly disapprove of this utter hopelessness.
2. “Unhappy Birthday”
You might have to resist all your Gen-X inclinations to play this song at birthday parties, but this is a battle worth fighting. Between lyrics about killing his dog and then himself, there are promises to not cry when his lover dies because she(/he) cheated and lied. These over-the-top dramatics are what make Romeo and Juliet a classic love story. But let’s not forget those were 14 year olds. If you’re still feeling that emotional after 25, it may be time for your doctor to double up your Lexapro dosage.
3. “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”
And speaking of dramatics: this is a song about wanting to get away from your parents and the stifling hand of the man, and escape into the world of teenage love. Frankly, it’s a relief when you grow up enough to escape the oppressive feeling of absolute dependence on anyone. Including your fascinating new crush whom you’d rather die with than be separated from.
4. “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me”
The first thing you need to know is that this is Morrissey’s favorite Smiths song. It is a perfect description of his solitary, asexual lifestyle. In fact, it is perhaps the loneliest song ever written, and it’s sung with such sincerity that it threatens to drag the whole world down with it. Beware, keep your distance from this song.
5. “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”
This is, interestingly, the most covered of all Smiths songs. And the shortest. It was also perfect as the soundtrack to Duckie’s soundless pining for Andie in Pretty In Pink. While Duckie had his fine moments, on the whole he was an emotional imbecile with a bicycle and no boundaries. Movies infuse that sort of behavior with a poetic bravery. In real life, we call it stalking. You don’t want to be a Duckie, especially one stewing at home alone to this song.
6. “Suffer Little Children”
On a whole other demented tip, this is the Smiths’ song about the notorious Moors murders in ’60s Manchester, when Morrissey was a boy. It is quite the twisted remembrance of serial killers who targeted children. If you feel yourself inexplicably drawn to it, then get thee to a straitjacket.
7. “Bigmouth Strikes Again”
This single is actually noted by Smiths scholars as the third installment in a series of songs penned by Moz in 1985. Starting with “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side” into “Rubber Ring” and ending with “Bigmouth Strikes Again” — the trio of songs were his commentary on music criticism, fan criticism, and Morrissey as pop star martyr. It is his indictment of the British press, who he felt constantly wrote horrid things about the Smiths and over-analyzed the meaning of his off-the-cuff quotes. Most people would consider this narcissistic behavior, indicative of the onset of a martyr complex.
8. “Girlfriend In A Coma”
There is no love lost, in the world of the Smiths, for a girlfriend who dares argue with her man. Slip into a coma? He’ll lament the times he could have murdered you (although he’d really hate to see anything happen to you) and then refuse to see you, while asking the doctor if you’re going to die in such a way that makes it clear he hopes you do. Model of a healthy relationship.
9. “Still Ill”
What is wrong with this song can be summed up by the line: “England is mine, it owes me a living.” Yeah, no, not so much, you lazy socialist. This is the thing Boomers and Gen X-ers hate the most about Gen Y. We feel you’ve confused being owed a living by England with “close your eyes and think of England.”
10. “Cemetery Gates”
And finally, let’s examine a song whose narrator’s hobbies include visiting cemeteries and reading Oscar Wilde. This person is undatable. Become this person, die alone.