So the defining characteristic for The Smiths 30 years after their split is enduring fandom. There is not a credible rock band in the world today who don’t recognise their importance. There is not a credible rock fan who doesn’t hold the torch so that light will never go out.
Without them there would be no indie rock. Not in the form we recognise today. Their songs have been covered by Metal Bands, Vocal Harmony Groups, Techno Duos and pretty girls in floppy straw hats selling Christmas presents for John Lewis. Not bad for a band of outsiders and weirdo’s with no mainstream appeal and a destructive streak.
Brand New are (were) an American band formed this side of the Millennium who perform a vein of hard-core Emo punk which could not have existed with out The Smiths. Yet it sounds nothing like anything The Smiths would even want an influence in. 21st Century Punk Rock owes as much to Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce as it does to Strummer, Headon, Jones and Simonon. The Smiths taught Emo how to emote.
“I got a twenty-dollar bill that says no one’s ever seen you without makeup, you’re always made up and I’m sick of your tattoos and the way you always criticize the Smiths… and Morrissey”
From an acoustic intro and a mournful demo feel Jesse Lacey makes his feelings heard.
“And I know that you’re a sucker for anything acoustic, but when I say let’s keep in touch, I really mean I wish that you’d grow up, this is the first song for your mixtape.
It’s short just like your temper, but somewhat golden like the afternoons we used to spend before you got too cool…”
When the inevitable distorted guitars crash it is an effective moment. The lyrics have described a part of the young adult experience I assume most can identify with, by simply touching on a lot in two or three sentences.
Jesse describes himself as “The only broken hearted loser you will ever need” elsewhere in the Bran New track Magazines. That Smiths influence framing misery like advertising slogans still running strong throughout their debut album Your Favourite Weapon.
Towards the end of Mix Tape Jesse goes on to steal The Smiths place in the previous lyric for his own band. It’s a smart homage, it’s also wishful thinking. What musician in the 2000’s wouldn’t want to be in a band as good as The Smiths once were?
Put that on your Mix Tape. I often do.