Album Reviews of the 80s

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The Smiths, "The Queen Is Dead" / 1986 Review by: Kent Blacksher
Debatably the most versatile and accomplished record of the Eighties, "The Queen Is Dead" is an assorted ten song masterpiece of humanity and compassion among the soulless, calculated atmosphere that surrounded the brilliant (and versatile) songwriting duo of Stephen Morrissey and Johnny Marr. The stinging satire and passionate playing of the title track was evenly balanced with the lighthearted charge of "Frankly Mr. Shankly", and wonderfully arranged "Cemetery [sic] Gates", a gloomy but catchy piece about the constant attacks on Morrissey's originality and inspiration. Following the opening tracks is one of the most passionate tracks ever recorded, "I Know It's Over" is a brilliant waltz about loneliness and disillusionment with happiness, a further continuation on the almost everpresent theme of misery. Marr continues to display his soulmate resonance with Morrissey on powerful tracks such as "Never Had No One Ever" and the superb single, "Bigmouth Strikes Again". One plaintive masterpiece seemed to follow the other towards the end of the record. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" both brilliantly display Marr's ability to create memorable arraignments with an acoustic guitar, something else (live instruments) that set The Smiths apart from their eighties counterparts, and are wondeful displays of the lyricists ability to recreate desperation. Two of the final tracks, "Vicar In A Tutu" and "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" are simple but catchy exercises in Morrissey's stiff but brilliant language. Overall the record was a masterpiece and milestone among pop history, as it's creators had aimed. It will and should remain the accomplished work of charm on record.

10 out of 10

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