on 9 November 2002
With current bands like Coldplay and Travis(always mentioned in the same breath) the music they make always seems to wash over me, great songs, terrific songs, but not quite personal enough and soon become forgetful. Morrissey has a way of writing that draws you in and makes you really connect with the song, as if it was about you. It's really powerful stuff and anyone who listens to this album will appreciate that. Listen to "I know its over" and "No one ever" and "There is a light that never goes out". Even the song titles will have you curious enough to click this album into your basket, surely! Everyone must have had the feeling "And as i climb into an empty bed, Oh, well.... enough said". The Smiths are as powerful as fellow mancunians Joy Division and as revolutionary as Bob Dylan. The Smiths songs stay with you forever, every time i see a double decker bus for example.....
Beware, this album may change your take on life.
Just go and buy it.
Here it is, The Smith's masterpiece. Is it a masterpiece? Well, probably. I certainly think so. Albums without a single bad track are rare, albums which exclusively contains songs i could happily listen to on repeat forever are rare. Albums so important and yet so funny are rare too (tracks like Frankly, Mr Shankly and Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others can have me laughing out loud if I'm in the right mood). This album really does have everything: terrific musicianship from Marr, wonderful jangling melodies; and sublime lyrics and vocals from Morrissey (absolutely sublime). Now, lots of albums can claim those two things, but few achieve the cohesion, the union of the music and vocals and lyrics, so everything just clicks and feels as if the songs exist almost naturally. The Queen is Dead does. It really does have everything you could ask for. I could listen to it forever I think.
It's got many of The Smith's best moments: Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side, Frankly, Mr Shankly, and Cemetrey Gates. And of course it has There is A Light That Never Goes Out, possibly my favourite Smith's song of all time. "And if a double-decker bus/crashes in to us/to die by your side/is such a heavenly way to die./And if a ten-ton truck/kills the both of us/to die by your side/well, the pleasure, the privilege, is mine." Only Morrissey is capable of sounding so vocally uplifting and lyrically absolutely heartbreaking at the same time. The man is a genius.
Funny, tragic, serious, cohesive, important, brilliant. No record collection is complete without The Queen is Dead (and, to be honest, all four Smiths albums really.)
Memory is a curious thing. For instance supposedly important personal events in my life , anniversaries, birthdays and the like pass me by . Yet i can remember with high resolution detail buying the Queen Is Dead. Entering the shop ( A little independent no longer around alas) buying it, getting it home and playing it for the first time. An experience akin to an epiphany...(the playing that is) but then most new releases by The Smiths were.....but this album if anything, went beyond epiphany into whatever it is that describes an experience beyond epiphany.
Released in June 1986 The Queen Is Dead is The Smiths third album and the one considered by just about everyone as their finest moment, though it,s interesting to note that Morrissey and Marr believe that their final album "Strangeways Here We Come" eclipsed it. Many of the songs for The Queen Is Dead were written while The Smiths were touring in 1985 but the album benefited hugely from the conducive collaboration in the studio between Marr and Morrissey who co-produced and engineer Stephen Street.
There are numerous elements that make The Queen Is Dead such a special album. The song-writing is of course exemplary , but there is a mixture of styles, moods, textures and nuances that take this album somewhere out of the context of a traditional pop/rock album. Add to this the peerless lyrics , full of verbose wit and spry humour and you have an album that fully deserves the moniker classic .
Opening up with the iconoclastic blast of the title track , one of Morrissey's greatest triumphs lyrically it segues into the knee popping bounce of "Frankly Mr Shankly" before the head spinning thematic swivel into the forlorn "I Know It,s Over". The plummeting almost dirge like "Never Had No One Ever" will be not to everyone's taste but I feel it has a real hypnotic power and acts as a counterweight to the sprightly "Cemetery Gates" which has a terrific Andy Rourke bass line and trademark cascading Marr chords and the memorable lyrics about plagiarism: "There's,s always someone somewhere with a big nose who knows" which was Morrissey's riposte to critics who had cried foul over his use of quotes from some of his favourite authors.
The opener on the vinyl side two is "Bigmouth Strikes Again " , the lead single off the album , chosen because the band wanted to make an emphatic affirmative statement on their return. The high pitched backing vocals are great and Morrissey employs his own distinctive high range yodel. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" has a gorgeous Marr arrangement with lilting synthesized strings while "Vicar In A Tutu" is a giddy rush of quintessentially English silliness segueing into the song most consider the albums highpoint "There Is Light That Never Goes Out" . Unusually optimistic for Morrissey , the song about two people whose love would overcome death by double decker buses and ten ton trucks is a rare song, even for The Smiths, that merges genuine humorous pathos with a cracking tune. Final track "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" has a mantra like quality and ends the album on a considerably more lugubrious note than it came in.
The Queen Is Dead is one of the landmark albums of the 1980,s . An erudite multi-faceted work of tumescent genius that feels like a truly complete work. Everytime i hear the album the memories come rushing back in. If only i had bought on a significant birthday then it would be one less thing to worry about remembering. Other than that The Queen Is Dead is perfect.
As someone of a mere 19 years of age, I was too young to appreciate The Smiths while they were around, but knew of them through the way the likes of Noel Gallagher talks about them. In a bid to further my musical education I bought this album when I saw it in a sale, and still find myself amazed by it. The combination of Morrissey and Marr seems to have been an incredibly special one, and this album is packed with brilliant tracks. It regularly features in "best album ever" top 10s, and it is hard to find reviews of it that do not praise it.
What in particular do I like about it? The wit of Morrissey's lyrics in one song, and the utter sadness in the next. The superb general guitar work that even someone as un-knowing about playing the guitar as I can appreciate as being great. The way the album flows together into one important event. Cemetry Gates. Frankly, Mr Shankly. I Know It's Over.
It is a truely great album, one of the classics, I'm sure. I have since bought Meat Is Murder, which, although I like it, I do not feel is as special as this. I can't imagine a better way to get into the Smiths than through this, except that it would be hard for them to have produced anything better than this, so it may lead to disappointment at a later date...
on 27 May 2004
Simply put, this is the best album by the Smiths, who were my favourite band growing up and there is still a massive chunk of my heart that belongs to them.
The Smiths didnt make great albums really, play them back and you will get the odd wee filler (not that I thought that at 15yrs old mind!) But this is about the best they ever achieved and it's no mean feat.
Beginning wtih the title track, its cracks on at a fair pace, with the usual witty, clever lyrics from Steven. Great story, well told.
I know its over , slows things down but this is possibly in my top5 of smiths songs ever recorded. Wonderful,wonderful, wonderful, words cannot describe, so I aint gonna.
cemetry gates, frankly Mr.Shankly and Vicar in a tutu are short snapshots of the world through Morrissey's eyes, backed with fantastic playing by the rest of the band (Johnny, erm George and Ringo....or something like that!!)
If there is a better closing track on a Smiths album that Some girls are bigger than others, i'm a Dutchman. And this is from a guy who loves I wont share you from Strangeways here we come.
I wont ramble, as I said earlier, the Smiths made cracking 2-3 minute singles and filled the charts well from 83-87, but this is the best Smiths album.
on 19 June 2003
after reading lots of reviews i was apprehensive to buy this album and thought 'can it really be that good?', the answer is no.....its better. Morrissey seems to lyrically be at his best with lines such as "so i broke into the palace, with a sponge and a rusty spanner......she said i know you and you cannot sing, i said thats nothing you should hear me play piano!"!from the fantastic 'frankly, mr shankly' to the cracking ballad 'i know its over', the fantastic album ender 'some girls are bigger than others' and of course arguably the greatest ever smiths song 'there is a light and it never goes out', this album is superb.
morrissey's words and marr's music made the smiths go down as one of the best english bands in recent times. they have stood the test of time and are very much still relevant today. the 'queen is dead' is probably the pinacle of their work and a must for any cd collection.
on 3 June 2007
The Beatles are the best band ever but they never made an album this good. The Queen Is Dead is The Smiths' finest moment - Louder Than Bombs, Hatful of Hollow, Singles collections and their other three studio albums are all fantastic too but buy this first. There Is A Light.., I Know Its Over, Cemetry Gates and Frankly Mr Shankly are my favourite tracks but the whole album flows perfectly. The Best Album Ever? You better believe it.
on 5 March 2004
The Queen Is Dead is the first album by The Smiths that I ever bought and it's still my favourite album by them. The album starts brilliantly with the suberb track 'The Queen Is Dead' and it's excellent drum and bass parts. It includes other brilliant tracks such as I Know It's Over and the amazing There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (My favourite track the band ever released) this is a must have album for any fans of the band.
on 15 January 2008
Quite simply, in my opinion this is the greatest album of all time. Morrissey's lyrics are truly sublime. Marr's playing is fantastic. No other album i have ever heard manages to integrate such brilliant pop songs (Bigmouth Strikes Again) with complete and utter despair (I Know It's Over) so well. In a time when pop music was in such a dire state it is amazing that something so brilliant was ever able to get released.
on 18 July 2012
I have given this album five stars, though it isn't my favourite as I prefer their debut and Strangeways. However, the only Smiths album I wouldn't give a five was Meat Is Murder, because of the poor track listing. The Queen Is Dead however, is wonderfully and carefully listed for the most part and contains some of their must uplifting songs ever. People that pass this off as depressing clearly don't get The Smiths.
The title track is a great rock anthem that I initially loathed, but soon grew to appreciate as an excellent song. The following Frankly, Mr Shankly was the second Smiths song that I heard and the one that really hooked me. It is funny and pretty much anybody can relate to it.
I Know It's Over is my favourite of all of The Smiths ballads. I love the opening baseline and how the music slowly builds up to the shattering climax of the song. Morrissey is at his vocal best here and he is really meaning every word that he says. And though people might pass this off as depressing, the build of the song and it always uplifts me. Never Had No One Ever is a dark song, but I always found it quite creepy, perhaps a flip side to the previous track.
Cemetry Gates is a clever dig at critics, but also a touching depiction of Morrissey's friendship with Linder Sterling. It is a witty highlight of the album. Bigmouth Strikes Again is another witty track, full of humour that makes me wonder how people can pass this album off as depressing. The only track where Morrissey really moans is The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, but Marr's music counters this to make the song uplifting. Again, though the song is about the music industry, anyone who feels overlooked and neglected by their superiors can relate to the song.
Vicar In A Tutu is fast paced tune and while quite weak, is likable and funny. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out has always been regarded as one of The Smiths classic, iconic songs. I really love this song, though I wish Morrissey would stop overplaying it in his concerts. People who think this is depressing because of the references to suicide only need read the title to know that this song is not meant to be depressing at all.
Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others is a nice way to round off the album after There Is A Light. Morrissey's lyrics are okay, but it is more of a musical piece than anything. I also really like the fade out at the beggining, apparantly done to create the effect of a door closing, and then opening.
So yes, for me this is an outstanding record by an outstanding band and after writing this view, I have realised even more just how uplifting the songs on here actually are. To all those who pass of the Smiths and Morrissey as depressing and miserable, stop listening to judgemental bigoted critics and actually listen to the music.