Cheer Up with the Smiths! I’m at the American Spectator

reporting live from 1984!

What everybody forgets about the Smiths is how much fun they were.

And not just fun: The band careened through the ’80s putting out four studio albums which were joyful, sexy, funny, self-deprecating, silly, and even sometimes compulsively danceable. The myth of Morrissey and his mopey muse has some truth to it—and he made the jokes first, in song titles like “Miserable Lie,” “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” “Pretty Girls Make Graves” and the rest—but the band mocked by the Pet Shop Boys for their “Miserablism” spent most of their time whistling past the cemet’ry gates.

Now is a great time to rediscover the carnival side of the Smiths. To mark the thirty-year anniversary of their 1984 debut, iTunes is re-releasing their complete albums, remastered for iTunes by guitarist Johnny Marr. It’s a bit “no progress in history” to be told that the remastered sound quality is as good as on the LPs, but for those of us who spent adolescent hours respooling cassette tape back into the cassettes with our pinky fingers, the remastered Smiths sound clear and bright and deliciously impure.

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About Eve Tushnet

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