Follow TV Tropes


Music / The Queen Is Dead

Go To
"It's so lonely on a limb."

The Queen Is Dead is the third studio album by The Smiths, released on 16 June 1986.

It was intended to be a New Sound Album, with more production value than their previous self-titled effort and Meat is Murder, and featured more humorous lyrics compared to its contemporaries. It was backed by the single "Bigmouth Strikes Again", and other well-known songs are "Cemetry Gates", "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out", "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others", and the Title Track.

The album has sold consistently well, peaking at #2 on the UK Albums Chart; though it did not chart in the United States, it would later go gold down the line.


Side One

  1. "The Queen Is Dead" (6:24)
  2. "Frankly, Mr. Shankly" (2:17)
  3. "I Know It's Over" (5:48)
  4. "Never Had No One Ever" (3:36)
  5. "Cemetry Gates" (2:39)

Side Two

  1. "Bigmouth Strikes Again" (3:12)
  2. "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" (3:15)
  3. "Vicar in a Tutu" (2:21)
  4. "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" (4:02)
  5. "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" (3:14)


Farewell to this land's tropeless marshes...:

  • Album Title Drop: The image caption.
  • Anachronism Stew: In "Bigmouth Strikes Again":
    Now I know how Joan of Arc felt
    As the flames rose to her Roman nose
    And her Walkman/hearing aid began to melt
  • Broken Record: In the ending of "I Know It's Over":
    Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head!
  • Credits Gag: According to the liner notes, the backing vocals to "Bigmouth Strikes Again" are performed by Ann Coates. In reality, those vocals were Morrissey's own voice sped up, and "Ann Coates" is a pun on Ancoats, a district of Manchester.
  • Epic Rocking: The Title Track (6:24). "I Know It's Over" is borderline (5:48).
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: Inverted with "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others", where the song fades out rapidly and then fades slowly back in at the beginning of the song.
  • "I Want" Song: "Frankly Mr. Shankly," where the protagonist wants to "go down in celluloid history" and "to live and to love."
  • "Just Joking" Justification: The aptly titled "Bigmouth Strikes Again."
    Sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking when I said I'd like to smash every tooth in your head...
  • New Sound Album: This album featured more elaborate production than on their previous albums and singles.
  • No Ending: "Vicar in a Tutu" just... stops suddenly.
  • Post-Punk: While the band always had light shades of this in their music, the opening Title Track fully indulges in it, featuring blaring guitars and thudding, cavernous drums that wouldn't be out of place next to the likes of "Atrocity Exhibition".
  • Self-Deprecation: "The Queen Is Dead" features the lyric "Eh, I know you, and you can't sing/That's nothing, you should hear me play the piano".note 
  • Shout-Out: The album cover is a modified still from the 1964 French noir film L'Insoumis, released in English-speaking territories as The Unvanquished.
  • Silly Love Songs: "There is a Light That Never Goes Out", which is about going out with somebody because they don't have a home. However:
    And if a double-decker bus
    Crashes into us
    To die by your side
    Is such a heavenly way to die
  • Take That!: The album title and Title Track are less-than-subtle jabs at the Royal Family, based in Morrisey's own anti-royalist politics.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: The subject of the aptly named "Vicar in a Tutu".
    A vicar in a tutu
    He's not strange
    He just wants to live life this way