I have been a Smiths fan for over 27 years and still remember the day I bought 'The Queen Is Dead' album on cassette a few months after it was released. Over the years, a common theme of fans and non-fans have continuously painted this great Manchester band as mopey or depressing, probably because they've really only heard "How Soon Is Now?" at their local goth night. I would say that there are a dozen or so Smiths songs that defy the depression description and contain lyrics that are comedic gold in content.
Here is a list of Smiths songs in no particular order that are upbeat and happy sounding with comedic lyrics:
"Burn down the disco, hang the blessed DJ, because the music that they constantly play. It says nothing to me about my life."
What seems like frightening words that would be banned if sung by a metal band of the 80s, these lyrics are sung along a bouncy beat and chord changes very similar to 'Metal Guru' by T-Rex. Also, who hasn't felt this same sentiment at a club playing terrible music?
2) Rusholme Ruffians
"Scratch my name on your arm with a fountain pen. This means you will love me."
This describes most teen life. Too young to get a tattoo, yet serious enough to leave a minor scar on your arm of the one you love. This song describes scenes in an English carnival and shuffles along to a beat very similar to Elvis Presley's 'Marie's The Name (Of His Latest Flame)'. The Smiths even covered a portion of the Elvis song on their Rank album.
"Shyness is nice and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to. So, if there's something you'd like to try? If there's something you'd like to try? Ask me, I won't say no. How could I?"
Next time some non-Smiths fan tries to tell you how depressing Morrissey sounds, just point them to this inspirational and uplifting happy sounding Smiths song.
4) Cemetry Gates
"A dreaded sunny day, so I meet you at the cemetry gates. Keats and Yeats are on your side, while Wilde is on mine."
A nice bouncy song about a couple of poetry loving graveyard dwellers that meet at the cemetery gates to read tombstone inscriptions. Who hasn't done this once or twice? I've also marveled at the British spelling and usage of cemetery as cemetry.
5) Is It Really So Strange?
"Oh yes, you can kick me, and you can punch me, and you can break my face, but you won't change the way I feel. Cause I love you."
Put aside the fact that the character in this song traveled many different directions, accidentally killed a horse and a nun, and won't care that you beat him up because he loves you. Romance is always alive in Smiths world.
6) Sheila Take A Bow
"Sheila take a, Sheila take a bow. Boot the grime of this world in the crotch dear, and don't come home tonight. Come out and find the one who you love and who loves you."
A great anthem for lonely souls to go out and live life instead of staying at home and being miserable. I especially like the ending lyric of the song that states, "Throw your homework onto the fire. Come out and find the one you love!"
7) Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
"Some girls are bigger than others. Some girls are bigger than others. Some girls mothers are bigger than other girls mothers."
The wit and wisdom of Morrissey's lyrics doesn't get more basic than on this song. Johnny Marr's guitar spritely bounces around in acknowledgement.
8) Vicar In a Tutu
"I was minding my business, lifting some lead off, the roof of the holy name church. It was worthwhile living a laughable life, to set my eyes on the blistering sight, of a vicar in a tutu. He's not strange. He just wants to live his life this way."
You pretty much have no sense of humor to see that there's a Smiths song about a priest that likes to wear tutus and dance around his pulpit during a sermon. Depression, my ass!
9) Accept Yourself
"Every day, you must say, so how do I feel about my life? Anything is hard to find, when you will not open your eyes. When will you accept yourself?"
Millions of people walk around every day and feel dreary and miserable and sorry for themselves. Morrissey comes along and writes a song about them and asks them, "when will you accept yourself?" Accepting yourself is the first step towards happiness.
10) Handsome Devil
"Let me get my hands on your mammary glands, and let me get your head on the conjugal bed."
Morrissey sings about grabbing a pair of breasts. Possibly the most uplifting and surprisingly happy lyric in the Smiths catalog. Or is it?
What Smiths songs would you have included that are upbeat and happy? Leave them in the comments.