Album #557 – Meat Is Murder

Album #557

Meat Is Murder was my introduction to the Smiths. I can remember hearing How Soon Is Now? when I was 14 years old and wondering how these amazing sounds were created. Yes, I know the band’s signature song was not released on the UK version (it was first included on the compilation Hatful of Hollow) but it is on the North American version and that is why I’m talking about it. Years later, How Soon Is Now? would be the song that I would most identify with during my University years. Isolation is the key theme of that song and due to the fact that I was single and felt alone at the time, the song identified all the feelings that I felt during that time in my life perfectly. Nothing before that point was able to capture my feelings. It was a HUGE revelation for me. Music could be something more. A song could capture my feelings like nothing else. In a way, it was liberating. I only knew of Meat Is Murder when I was 14 because of that song. A couple of years later in high school, one of my classmates brought in the cassette version to class to listen to in her walkman. I knew I wasn’t alone in my knowledge of this seminal band. But, isolation and loneliness isn’t the album’s only subject matter. In fact, the album’s title is heavily political. Morrissey and Johnny Marr became and still are strict vegetarians. The title was a strong statement in 1985. Not eating meat was something not many people did, let alone musicians and famous people. In fact all of the band’s members were forbidden from being photographed while eating meat by Morrissey. But, that wasn’t the only statement the band made on this album. The education system, the Queen, Thatcher, et al. were all targets of Morrissey’s scorn. The band was also at their most musically diverse: funk, rockabilly, folk, punk and dance music are all explored on this album. It is no secret why the Smiths became one of the biggest bands and most influential of the decade. Nobody was doing anything like this and yet, so many looked to them for inspiration. It doesn’t surprise me that so many want the Smiths to reunite. Maybe they will be able to create that magic one more time.

Other highlights include: The Headmaster’s Ritual, Rusholme Ruffians, I Want The One I Can’t Have (one of the best unrequited love songs EVER), That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore and Nowhere Fast.

Overall, I give Meat Is Murder, 5 out of 5

Next: Rain Dogs by Tom Waits

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