YMMV / The Smiths


  • Americans Hate Tingle: Though they had a substantial cult that continues to this day, The Smiths were never as huge in America as they were in their native England. The American underground was already preoccupied with another jangly guitar outfit.
  • Anvilicious:
    • The title track from Meat Is Murder.
    • "Suffer Little Children" appears to blame the entire city of Manchester for the Moors murders.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Albums: The Queen Is Dead and Strangeways Here We Come, both debated between critics, fans, and Morrissey and Marr as their peak.
    • Songs: "How Soon Is Now?", "The Headmaster Ritual", "The Queen Is Dead", "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore", "There Is a Light That Will Never Go Out", "This Charming Man" and so many others.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: There a quite a few songs that fans love, but which were never released as singles, including "The Queen Is Dead", "Paint a Vulgar Picture", and "The Headmaster Ritual".
    • There are a host of lesser-known Smiths songs, often B-Sides, which fans like a lot, such as Half a Person, Rubber Ring, You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby, Unloveable and Stretch Out and Wait.
  • Epileptic Trees: Morrissey predicted the death of Princess Diana.
    • Some of the connections Marrissey shippers come up with about song meanings can also verge on this.
  • Epic Riff: "How Soon Is Now?", "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want", among many others.
    • The opening of "Still Ill" is very nice.
    • Most of "This Charming Man" is centered around one.
  • Face of the Band: Shockingly enough, there were two other guys in the band besides Morrissey and Johnny Marr.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: "Paint a Vulgar Picture" gets less amusing and more depressing with every best-of album. It'll hit rock bottom when Morrissey becomes the dead star himself.
  • Genius Bonus: The band developed a reputation of using quotes from various literary works (particularly Shelagh Delaney's plays and other "kitchen sink"-era works) for their lyrics that would fly over the average listener until someone else points them out. This led to the band being accused of plagiarism and "Cemetry Gates" being written in response.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Smiths are still the most popular band on the East Side of Los Angeles.
  • Growing the Beard: Their self-titled debut was well-received but noted as poorly produced. Meat is Murder had better production but also more filler and narm. The Queen is Dead had both good production and a consistently good tracklisting, and as such is considered by many to be their best. Their last album, Strangeways, Here We Come, while not achieving the status of its predecessor, is regarded by the band as their musical peak, has lovely production and several stellar songs.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "Paint a Vulgar Picture" just gets funnier and funnier (or sadder and sadder) with every compilation.
    • Johnny Marr changed his name to avoid confusion with John Maher, the Buzzcocks drummer. Mike Joyce later became the Buzzcocks' drummer.
  • Ho Yay: Plenty of lyrics reference or allude to gay issues or gay culture, as well as Morrissey and Johnny's interactions during the band's tenure. (Moz being Ambiguously Gay doesn't hurt.)
    • The gay subtext in the Smiths' output could be the subject of dissertations, while there's a small but strong community of Marrissey shippers online. In fairness, Morrissey did have a solo album named after a phrase in Polari.
    • Stand-out gay Smiths Songs: Handsome Devil ("A boy in the bush is worth two in the hand"), These Things Take Time ("I'm spellbound, but a woman divides), Pretty Girls Make Graves ("I'm not the man you think I am") and This Charming Man ("This man said "it's gruesome that someone so handsome should care"").
  • Memetic Mutation: Debates about whether The Smiths will ever reunite come off as this, especially every time there's speculation, either Morrissey, Johnny Marr or both will just deny it all while saying several reasons as to why there won't be a reunion, either annoying fans to no extend or making some laugh.
    • A meme around the time of the anniversary of Meat Is Murder last year was a copy pasta, the formula being "a smiths reunion but with [x] as the new frontman to piss off Morrissey, who obviously didn't want to cooperate": Suggested singers included Robert Smith, David Cameron, and The Queen. There were in fact a number of Smiths memes on the relatively small Tumblr community, now mostly dead due to copyright claims by Paul Slattery, the most prominent probably being Milk Juice, MorrisseyMakingNoises.mp3, Moobissey and FlowerBoy55.
  • Narm:
    • "Meat Is Murder", especially those synthesized animal death sounds and the cheesy pitch-manipulated backing vocals.
    • The chorus of "The Headmaster Ritual".
    NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NEE-YAY
    NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NEE-YAY
    • Part of the bridge of "A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours": RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRA!
    • Some of Reel Around the Fountain comes across like this.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The creepy laughter in the middle of "Suffer Little Children". The subject matter of the song doesn't help in the slightest.
    • The title track of Meat is Murder is a pretty creepy song, featuring a dissonant intro with distorted guitars and muffled animal groans, as well as featured at the end. As anvilicious as the song is, the content is pretty disturbing, especially for those who are vegans.
  • Signature Song: "How Soon Is Now?" or "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out".
  • Sophomore Slump: Meat Is Murder, which - despite containing two of their best known songs, "How Soon Is Now?" (as a bonus track in US edition only) and "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" and fan favorites "The Headmaster Ritual", "Barbarism Begins at Home" and "Nowhere Fast" - is still considered their least enjoyable record due to the amount of filler surrounding those five songs. Still an excellent album and critically acclaimed.
  • Wangst: While some of their songs are definitely angst-ridden, this has been seriously exaggerated by people who miss the humor in Moz's lyrics. Electronic (Johnny's next band) took some pot shots at this in their song "Getting Away With It".
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: According to Tony Fletcher's biography, Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke recorded the 15-minute jam that became the instrumental track to "How Soon Is Now?" while heavily stoned.


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