Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Surely You're Happy

Today is Morrissey's 49th birthday. Happy birthday, Morrissey.

The Smiths are not my favorite band of all time or anything, but I am a huge fan, and they are one of the few bands I will happily listen to over and over. Still, I am regularly surprised at the level of obsession grown people are capable of when it comes to this person—it has really gotten out of control. The cult of Morrissey in New York seemed to hit a frenzied peak maybe four years ago when Sway was in full swing, and has waned since. But when you least expect it, freakish obsession still rears its head from time to time.

Apparently there IS a light that never goes out!

(Admittedly lame, couldn't help it, the exclamation point tells you I know it's lame... !)

With all of that in mind, this week Wonting asked friends to name their favorite Morrissey songs. I never got that into his solo stuff much, so all of mine are Smiths songs, and here they are.

1. What Difference Does It Make?
There was a period of time working at Visionaire when we literally listened to The Smiths all day every day, and by the end this was the only song I still wasn't tired of.

2. Half a Person
The first time I came to New York, I stayed in the YMCA, so for whatever reason I retroactively feel some kind of connection with this song, though I never engaged in back-scrubbery.

3. How Soon Is Now
I borrowed this record from my friend Michelle and never gave it back. Is that stealing? How can you say? (! -ed.)

4. William, It Was Really Nothing

Being from Seattle I feel a weird kind of angsty pride when he sings "the rain falls hard in a hum-drum town/this town has dragged you down."

5. (3-way tie!)
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
What She Said

I think I like these songs for the same reason I enjoyed reading Less Than Zero six times in a row in high school. "I've seen this happen in other people's lives, and now it's happening in mine." There's a sort of salty detachment there that I identify with for whatever reason. I think a lot of my feelings about Smiths songs would best be described using sentences that end with "for whatever reason."

This image is from Irregular Regulars (Team Gallery, 2007), Ryan McGinley's series of crowd photographs from Morrissey shows. (More images and an interview at

1 comment:

Byron said...

Yeah dude, I remember that epic smiths mix that would just never go away. I've been on solo morrisey ever since.