This appeared in The Telegraph. Discuss and/or fight. First, the pro.
Thirty years since their first single, Hand in Glove, The Smiths remain the greatest band not only of their time but of any time since. No one else in these past three decades has written music as harshly beautiful, or lyrics as moving (or indeed as funny – see Frankly, Mr Shankly). They could get more poetry into a mere title than most bands get into a whole lyric sheet. Shoplifters of the World Unite. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.
Now the con:
Has any band has ever been so melodically limited, so calculatedly joyless, such as waste of a good guitarist, or fronted by such an inexplicably self-important frontman? (That memorable “Wears Pepe” jeans advert from 30-odd years ago – set to the muscular chug of How Soon Is Now? but sans vocals – was a tantalising reminder of the talent elsewhere in the band.)