“I would rather eat my own testicles than re-form The Smiths, and that’s saying something for a vegetarian,” Morrissey declared in 2006.
Johnny Marr, co-writer and founder of the band, had made a flippant suggestion that he would reunite the band if the current U.K. government stepped down, but when reports of it actually happening surfaced on the internet he issued an official statement branding it as untrue and that he’s “got things to do.” Safe to say, it’s unlikely it will ever happen.
But Morrissey continues to perform to this day and is actually coming to Manila to play a one-night only concert. And he does sing Smiths songs. He’s said that just because his former band doesn’t exist it doesn’t mean that the emotions that went into making those songs have disappeared as well. In the same interview with Paul Morley quoted above, he says, “I do sing the songs, and I will sing the songs. They stand the test of time.”
For those of you lucky enough to have a ticket on May 13, this Sunday, here are five possible and probable selections from the Smiths oeuvre that “this charming man” might agree to charm us with.
1. I Know It's Over
Jeff Buckley covered this song, and it’s not hard to hear why. Apart from the all-too-real anguish of the song’s opening and closing lines, there’s also a plea for sympathy and empathy, with Morrissey singing that, “it takes strength to be gentle and kind.” It is song of desperation that manages to preach tenderness even as it slips under.
2. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
The Smiths’ last single was a fitting finale to the band’s career. A big, dark melodramatic ballad that, according to Marr himself, had “drama, poetry and an almost gothic intensity” and goes “beyond four people playing rock and roll…almost operatic.” Think Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” burning down in Wagnerian flames.
3. Meat is Murder
A call-to-arms by pop’s fiercest vegan, it wasn’t Morrissey not only being very direct that caused outrage but the fact that he actually tried to make us empathize with the animals being slaughtered. “This beautiful creature must die,” he sang along to Marr’s sinister waltz of a tune and a Greek chorus made up of the crying of cattle.
4. How Soon is Now