Wednesday, 26 January 2011

[433] Melting Walkman: Prime Smiths Primer

A friend recently told me that he didn't know much about The Smiths, but liked what he'd heard - 'This Charming Man', 'How Soon Is Now', and so on. So, within the hour, I'd made him a playlist. I called it 'Melting Walkman: Prime Smiths Primer'.

It was the first time I've listened to The Smiths in any depth for quite a while, and approaching them from a guitar perspective (said friend is a real shred-head, and we're currently swapping speed metal recommendations on Spotify) was quite enlightening.

Any moments of traditional guitar dickery - like the guitar solo in 'Paint A Vulgar Picture', or the harmonised guitar work out towards the end of 'Shoplifters of the World...' - are brief. Instead we're cursed with the riches of Johnny Marr's tasteful, melodic and versatile rhythm playing. I suppose the greatest surprise from the whole endeavour is remembering how 'rock' The Smiths songs are, despite their strange double-edged reputation as literate, fey 'indie' popsters.

It also reminded me that I've not made any straight-up mixes for a long time. But, hell, I used to make loads. They're quite fascinating time capsules. Not in a general sense, because it's not like I've had any great drifts in my music taste - but in the little details, the odd unique tracks that I was obviously main-lining at the time, despite not developing a further interest in the artist in question.

Take Raymonde's 'No One Can Hold A Candle To You', a track I discovered on an NME covermount CD from 2004, called Songs To Save Your Life, with tracks chosen by Morrissey himself. In fact, the tune was such a Smiths rip-off, that he covered it live on the tour that year. I prefer the original, though.

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