That’s how long it takes The Queen Is Dead to cover sleazy record company executives, unrequited love, regicide, suicide, organized religion, women’s bodies, dead poets, and pretty much every other theme you could possibly imagine. In one swoop, The Smiths perfectly summed up the personal and political challenges of life in the UK during Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s.
While the album is definitely a product of its era, these songs feel just as timely three decades later. The music industry is as shallow as ever, there’s no shortage of moral crusaders getting ensnared by their own vices, and in case you haven’t noticed, Morrissey hasn’t exactly learned to love Queen Elizabeth quite yet. (These things take time.)
Prepare yourself for mood swings because we’re celebrating 30 years of The Queen Is Dead with a track-by-track look at Morrissey’s, well, Morrissey-est lyrics. Follow along with every heartbreaking lament, witty turn of phrase, and devilishly sassy insult.
The pleasure, the privilege, is yours.
“The Queen Is Dead”
Sample Lyric: “Pass the pub that wrecks your body/ And the church who’ll snatch your money/ The Queen is dead, boys, and it’s so lonely on a limb.”
Long before he discovered the joys of taking to the internet with his acid-tongued open letters directed at [insert your favorite target here], Morrissey saved his vitriol for songs like “The Queen Is Dead”.
Mad Mozzer pulls no punches as he makes his way through a lyrical hit list, taking on religion, imagining Prince Charles in drag, and fantasizing about “her very lowness with her head in a sling.” (Remember on Meat Is Murder when he just wanted to moon her? Yikes…)
Thank god he hasn’t mellowed with age.
Morrissey Scale: Five open letters on true-to-you.net about the Canadian seal hunt