close your eyes
[music, albums]

XXXVI: 1987 The Smiths - The World Won't Listen

The Smiths - The World Won't Listen

October 1986. I was on the Greek cyclade Naxos where I met a black English guy who was deejaying in a club in the main town. He was ranging his LPs as the season was over and he was about to go back to rainy England. Before he played a single for me. A song by a band from the whereabouts of Manchester I had never heard of. Called The Smiths, a name I instantly loved for its modest ubiquitousness. The song was called Panic but it took me at least seven or eight years before getting that title. From the beginning on I thought it was called after the chorus at the end, Hang the DJ. A two minutes and something pop song which didn't impress me much at first but which somehow stayed in memory. Which became a token song for nostalgia. I don't know how many times I asked deejays for this song. Usually because they only played music which didn't say anything to me about my life. Sometimes they played it (as they liked the song themselves but didn't realise why I asked for it), many times they didn't. This song starts the wonderful compilation of singles, b-sides and 12'' extra songs called The World Won't Listen (how could I not love that title) which came out in early 1987. Whatever Panic is about (e.g. riots in England and radio deejays who pass stupid songs on the public radio after Chernobyl has happened a couple of hours before), it has a feel of power which in the end becomes so totally overwhelming and irresistible (that kid's choir is angelic). As if changing the music could change the world. That's what I always liked most about Morrissey. He always incarnated the romantic side of revolution for me.

Three members of The Smiths were born in the same year I was born. I always thought of them as The Beatles of the 80s. My Beatles as that band was about the distant past. An in-between generation, not my parents who were into baroque music and thought that Beethoven was almost too modern for their taste. The Smiths were about feeling uncomfortable. About being unhappy with the world. You realise that the world is not ideal and you escape into music. They were a singles band. Preferring and excelling in the small format of seven and twelve inches. They were so prolific in their short life-time from 1984-87 that their genius could not be captured on albums. That's why I chose a compilation. Three of the best songs of The Queen Is Dead are featured. The autumnal flow heading towards calmer songs is perfect. Not like on these terrible singles compilations or the expanded American version Louder than Bombs which was released shortly after. Hatful of Hollow is almost as strong, probably more urgent in an adolescent universe. If you want the mature, grown-up Smiths The World Won't Listen is more like it though, I guess.

I wanted to offer you Oscillate Wildly, an instrumental worthy of its title. Unfortunately neither yousendit nor antville-files nor my ftp upload program works. Sorry folks. Maybe tomorrow.

Here is the overview of the series 40 years, 40 albums of which part XXXVI was this post.

P.S. I started a disappointing discussion (no surprise, really) on I Love Music by reposting the review there.


last updated: 2/23/21, 8:55 AM
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