Tuning in with Leila: The Smiths


Illustration by Yasmin Haq

I’ve never truly enjoyed listening to any genres of music other than Hip-Hop/Rap and R&B/Soul. If you put on any Dababy or Lucky Daye album, I’m set. However, now that a new year has begun, I decided to branch out and listen to other musicians. 

I had a friend suggest to me that her favorite band, The Smiths, was the way to go and their album “The Queen is Dead,” released in 1986, is their best one. Now I’m going to be honest, the name of the album threw me off, as well as the time period. Who was the queen? Why and how did she die? I wasn’t a very big fan of alternative music, but if every alternative artist titles their albums with such ominosity, I don’t know how to feel. 

The first and longest song on the album is also titled “The Queen is Dead.” I don’t know if it was the length of the song but I’m not a big fan and this song didn’t change that either. To me, it was repetitive and just a bunch of drums, but maybe that’s how most ‘80s alternative is. 

“I Know It’s Over” came two songs later and I was immediately intrigued. The vocals, guitar and rhythm were amazing. I actually repeated this song twice before moving on with the rest of the album. This is the kind of song that would be played during a “love at first sight” scene. The song was over five minutes long, but everything about it was pristine and enjoyable. 

Directly after, “Never Had No One Ever” slightly alters the previous vibes. The guitar and beat picked up a smidge, and the redundancy was highly important. Judging from the title of the song, you could infer that Morrissey, frontman for the band, felt isolated and tolerated it. He repeats the lyrics “I’m alone” and “I never, never, oh had no one ever” to fully affect the audience with his loneliness. Everyone has felt alone at some point in their life, including me, but sometimes we like that feeling. This would be the song to play when you want to add a more weighty effect to your seclusion. 

A couple of songs later, “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” radiates a different kind of energy. Looking at the title, I could tell it was a song about hopefulness and determination. This track was uplifting and exuberant; a feeling I never truly get from a song or album. 

Lastly, “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” concludes the album with self-esteem boosting lyrics. I think this was the perfect song to close the album, simply because it leaves listeners in a positive mood. 

Altogether, this album was unique, enticing and inspiring. Their combination of both pensiveness and hopefulness in their lyrics made for an awe-inspiring album. I was a little apprehensive at first with the whole idea of a new genre, but this album was immaculate. I may have just become a fan of The Smiths.