Saturday, June 28, 1986

The Smiths released The Queen Is Dead: June 28, 1986

Originally posted 6/28/12. Updated 3/1/13.

image from thesun.co.uk


Release date: 28 June 1986
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. The Queen Is Dead/Take Me Back to Dear Old Blightly (medley) 2. Frankly, Mr. Shankly 3. I Know It’s Over 4. Never Had No One Ever 5. Cemetry Gates 6. Bigmouth Strikes Again (5/31/86, #26 UK) 7. The Boy with the Thorn in His Side (10/5/85, #23 UK) 8. Vicar in a Tutu 9. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (10/24/92, #25 UK) 10. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

Sales (in millions): 0.85 US, 0.1 UK, 0.95 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 70 US, 2 UK

Rating:


Review: “The original kings of British mope rock could have earned that title on the basis of this album alone.” RS “The Smiths typify one of the classic oppositional dynamics that define many rock bands.” TM “The poet born Steven Patrick Morrissey spills out his elegant melancholy” EW and offers “waspish observations on the British obsession with social propriety and its appetite for juicy scandal,” PR all the while backed by the “much scruffier” TM “liquid lead guitar of janglemaster Johnny Marr.” EW “Marr and the rhythm section blaze trails toward an idealized zone of rock (and sometimes pop) sunshine. Their runaway exuberance magnifies and sometimes mocks Morrissey’s gloomy desperation.” TM The mix has been described as “absolute bliss meets a razor blade.” ZS

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Reviewer Adrian Denning called I Know It’s Over “Morrissey’s finest five minutes and forty nine seconds as a vocalist,” AD but “the epic There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” AMG “could well be the ultimate Smiths song…Critic and author Simon Goddard dubbed it ‘the national anthem of Smithdom.’” CAD “Morrissey typically manages to throw in some mordant humour amidst the euphoria” CAD with lines like “And if a double-decker bus, crashes into us / to die by your side, such a heavenly way to die / and if a ten ton truck, kills the both of us / to die by your side, the pleasure and the privilege is mine.”

Bigmouth Strikes Again/Vicar in a Tutu (live)

The album was supported by two singles (although “Light” was also released as a single six years later). Bigmouth Strikes Again is a “rampaging Stones-style rockers about saying the wrong thing,” TM complete with the “curiously empathetic line, ‘Now I know how Joan of Arc felt as the flames rose to her Roman nose and her Walkman started to melt’).” TM “While that “was largely Johnny’s show,” AD “the wistful The Boy With The Thorn in His Side.” AMG is “Morrissey’s time to shine. Both support each other.” AD

The Boy with the Thorn in His Side

The album marked the group’s “great leap forward, taking the band to new musical and lyrical heights.” AMG This “is the album that best captures the droll humor and musical extravagances that made the Smiths so riveting.” TM It “defined their times and gave us one of the greatest songwriting partnerships there’s EVER been.” CAD “This album is among the best the ‘80s pop scene had to offer and a remarkable achievement of musical artistry.” RV “The Smiths’ success brought about a resurgence of guitar-led pop in Britain after a period dominated by synthesizers.” TB They “made it possible for future independent acts such as Oasis and The Stone Roses to break into the mainstream.” PR “Forget Her Majesty — on The Queen Is Dead the Smiths simply slay us all.” EW


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Award(s):


Saturday, June 14, 1986

Furniture hit the UK chart with “Brilliant Mind”

First posted 10/19/2020.

Brilliant Mind

Furniture

Writer(s): Jim Irvin, Hamilton Lee, Sally Still, Tim Whelan (see lyrics here)


First Charted: June 14, 1986


Peak: 21 UK, 15 CO (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.08 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

No song takes me back to my college days more than this one. Lyrically, it captured the woeful, yet universal, self-pity that adolescents and young adults often succumb to when navigating life and relationships. The opening line “I’m at the stage where everything I thought meant something seems so unappealing” was practically my mantra as an unfocused, question-it-all college sophomore.

Of course, nothing was more gut-wrenching to a not-quite-twenty-something than failed relationship efforts. It was all too easy to wallow in the blame-game nature of the chorus, alternating between saying “you must be out of your brilliant mind” and “they must be out of their brilliant minds.” After all, how could I be the one responsible for my shortcomings?

The song was a minor hit in the UK in 1986, but I didn’t hear it until the re-recorded version featured in Some Kind of Wonderful. That movie, written by the no-one-understands-high-school-more-than-me John Hughes, was a redo on his more popular Pretty in Pink. That film had the nerdy girl pining for the popular guy, but ending up with her even nerdier long-time friend who’d been crushing on her forever. Hughes, however, caved to audiences at early screenings who wanted her to end up with the rich stud and rewrote the ending. Dismayed by his decision, Hughes revamped the story line for Some Kind of Wonderful. This time the main character was Keith, a nerdy art student infatuated with a cheerleader while oblivious to his gal pal’s interest in him.

The “sardonically wistful” WK “Brilliant Mind” surprisingly wasn’t the soundtrack’s centerpiece, despite its perfect encapsulation of teen angst. Musically, it sounds like a natural on ‘80s synth-pop playlists alongside new wave standards like Modern English’s “I Melt with You” and New Order’s “Blue Monday.” However, it came up short there as well, failing to reach the lofty classic status of its contemporaries, although ‘80s music icon Boy George declared it his favorite record of the era. WK The rest of the world may not have noticed it, but I did – and more than thirty years later I still can’t get the song out of my brilliant mind.


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