Ah, to be young and insufferable. To dance the dance of depression and misery, to be misunderstood, marginalized, morose and maudlin. To be so very alone and so very precious.

Few capitalized on this magic bag of sicks more than the insufferably named The Smiths. Brooding and gay and pained, delicious. But their greatest trick of all was that they were actually talented, the mask of loathing may have attracted attention from media and the like-frail, but Johnny Marr’s ear-worm melodies and Morrissey’s squawking little bird voice meshed perfectly. Their songs resonate even as the pose infuriates.

“To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.”

Yes, yes, you’re human and you need to be loved.

But dammit, it’s good.

“I thought oh God, my chance has come at last.”

I may not know how Joan of Arc felt, but I confess there are times I hear The Smiths and I start to tap my feet, hum along, but then want to hit somebody, or maybe cry, or all of these. That’s a rare treat, and the band should be praised for it. Though let’s hope we’ve now evolved beyond that uniquely 20th century pop culture declaration where suicide is art and frail is to be fawned over.


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