maintains that Strangeways is the greatest Smiths
album, even though popular opinion says that The Queen is Dead
is leagues ahead.
In 1987 The Smiths were no longer a little indie band. They had world-wide success, and it seemed that things could only get better. Nobody outside of the band could have guessed that Strangeways would be their last studio album, and that The Smiths would be dead by the time it was released.
1.A rush and a push and the land is ours
2.I started something I couldn't finish
3.Death of a disco dancer
4.Girlfriend in a coma
5.Stop me if you think you've heard this one before
6.Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me
8.Paint a vulgar picture
9.Death at one's elbow
10.I won't share you
As you can see, this is The Smiths at the peak of their "Wahey, let's have long titles" phase!
Even the titles of the songs suggest the imminent break up of the band, when read with hindsight. The opening line of the opening track sees Morrissey proclaiming himself to be a ghost. The title I started something I couldn't finish is more than a little suggestive. The incredibly long title of track five was too obvious an invitation for Johnny Marr to resist. He felt that the band had nothing new to offer, and he was simply bored. He told Morrissey et al so soon after. Paint a vulgar picture deals with the "re-issue, repackage, repackage!" tendency of the music industry. How prophetic Morrissey seems when we consider that every Smiths release since 1987 has been a collection of old songs. The album closes with the chilling I won't share you. Is this the melancholic singer declaring his love for the guitarist? If so, it leaves us with the biggest clue yet as to why The Smiths are dead.