Cinque straordinari testi degli Smiths

Gli Smiths negli anni '80

 
Gli Smiths sono stati uno dei più grandi gruppi della scena rock degli anni ’80. Il segreto del loro successo – che li porta ad essere idolatrati ancora oggi, 28 anni dopo lo scioglimento – era il perfetto equilibrio tra i testi e le melodie. Ovvero tra Morrissey e Johnny Marr.

Il quartetto di Manchester, che vedeva nella sua formazione anche Andy Rourke al basso e Mike Joyce alla batteria, viveva tra questi due poli uguali ed opposti. Da un lato, il chitarrista che si occupava delle melodie e sapeva tirare fuori dal cilindro sonorità che quasi mai erano state sentite prima, non solo in Inghilterra. Dall’altro, il magnetico cantante, che infarciva i testi di riferimenti ad Oscar Wilde, di ironia e di decadenza.


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Il connubio diede vita ad alcuni degli album e delle canzoni più importanti del decennio, nonostante non rimase in vita che appena cinque anni. Consapevoli del fatto che poi la carriera di Morrissey è proseguita come solista, con anche discreti successi, vogliamo oggi ricordare i testi più belli da lui scritti all’epoca degli Smiths. Ecco quelli che abbiamo individuato noi; voi indicateci i vostri nei commenti.

 

How Soon Is Now?

da Hatful of Hollow e Meat Is Murder

How Soon Is Now? è una delle canzoni più conosciute e più amate degli Smiths, nonostante, a ben guardare, non sia troppo rappresentativa del loro stile. Pubblicata inizialmente come B-side del singolo che conteneva William, It Was Really Nothing, fu poi inclusa nella compilation Hatful of Hollow e nella versione americana e inglese di Meat Is Murder, il secondo disco della band.

I am the son
and the heir
of a shyness that is criminally vulgar.
I am the son and heir
of nothing in particular.

You shut your mouth,
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way.
I am human and I need to be loved,
just like everybody else does.

I am the son
and the heir
of a shyness that is criminally vulgar.
I am the son and the heir
of nothing in particular.

You shut your mouth,
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way.
I am human and I need to be loved,
just like everybody else does.

There’s a club if you’d like to go,
you could meet somebody who really loves you.
So you go, and you stand on your own,
and you leave on your own,
and you go home, and you cry,
and you want to die.

When you say it’s gonna happen “now”,
well, when exactly do you mean?
See I’ve already waited too long,
and all my hope is gone.

You shut your mouth,
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way.
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does.

 

I Know It’s Over

da The Queen Is Dead

Nonostante gli esordi fossero datati 1982, gli Smiths arrivarono a trovare la loro definitiva cifra stilistica solo qualche anno più tardi. L’album che li consacrò fu The Queen Is Dead, pubblicato nel giugno 1986 dalla Rough Trade e balzato addirittura alla seconda posizione della classifica britannica. Ma, al di là delle vendite, l’album convinse i critici e i fan per la sua grande sequenza di canzoni, in cui musica e testi si compenetravano alla perfezione. I Know It’s Over, mai uscita come singolo, era la terza traccia dell’album.

Oh mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.
And as I climb into an empty bed,
oh well, enough said.
I know it’s over, still I cling,
I don’t know where else I can go, mother.

Oh mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.
See, the sea wants to take me,
the knife wants to slit me,
do you think you can help me?

Sad veiled bride, please be happy.
Handsome groom, give her room.
Loud, loutish lover, treat her kindly,
although she needs you more than she loves you.

And I know it’s over, still I cling,
I don’t know where else I can go.
It’s over, it’s over, it’s over

I know it’s over.
And it never really began
but in my heart it was so real.
And you even spoke to me and said:

«If you’re so funny,
then why are you on your own tonight?
And if you’re so clever,
then why are you on your own tonight?
If you’re so very entertaining,
then why are you on your own tonight?
If you’re so very good looking,
why do you sleep alone tonight?
I know because tonight is just like any other night,
that’s why you’re on your own tonight,
with your triumphs and your charms
while they are in each other’s arms».

It’s so easy to laugh,
it’s so easy to hate,
it takes strength to be gentle and kind.
It’s over, over, over.

It’s so easy to laugh,
it’s so easy to hate,
it takes guts to be gentle and kind.
It’s over, over, over.

Love is natural and real,
but not for you, my love.
Not tonight my love.
Love is natural and real,
but not for such as you and I, my love.

Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.

 

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

da The Queen Is Dead

The Queen Is Dead, come detto, era un album pieno di pezzi interessanti. Cemetery Gates è uno dei più divertenti brani mai scritti da Morrissey, Bigmouth Strikes Again sorprende per il suo ritmo trascinante, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side è un delicato pezzo nel classico stile di Morrissey. Ma è There Is a Light That Never Goes Out a lasciare a bocca aperta. In quel brano, il testo riesce a mettere in campo grande pathos senza diventare patetico, mostrando tutta la disperazione della solitudine.


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Take me out tonight,
where there’s music and there’s people
and they’re young and alive.
Driving in your car,
I never never want to go home,
because I haven’t got one
anymore.

Take me out tonight ,
because I want to see people
and I want to see life.
Driving in your car,
oh, please don’t drop me home,
because it’s not my home, it’s their home,
and I’m welcome no more.

And if a double-decker bus
crashes into us,
to die by your side
is such a heavenly way to die.
And if a ten-ton truck
kills the both of us,
to die by your side,
well, the pleasure and the privilege is mine.

Take me out tonight,
take me anywhere, I don’t care,
I don’t care, I don’t care.
And in the darkened underpass
I thought: «Oh, God, my chance has come at last».
But then a strange fear gripped me
and I just couldn’t ask.

Take me out tonight,
oh, take me anywhere, I don’t care,
I don’t care, I don’t care.
Driving in your car,
I never never want to go home,
because I haven’t got one,
oh, I haven’t got one.

And if a double-decker bus
crashes into us,
to die by your side
is such a heavenly way to die.
And if a ten-ton truck
kills the both of us,
to die by your side,
well, the pleasure and the privilege is mine.

Oh, there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out,
there is a light and it never goes out.

 

Ask

da The World Won’t Listen

A partire da un certo punto in poi, gli Smiths cominciarono a pubblicare singoli con grande frequenza, singoli che poi non venivano però inclusi negli album ufficiali. Abbiamo già visto che questo è avvenuto per How Soon Is Now?, ma lo stesso destino toccò a This Charming Man, William, It Was Really Nothing, Panic e altri brani. E ad Ask, una delle canzoni più sincere ma anche più scanzonate di Morrissey e Marr, due che sapevano mischiare abilmente rabbia, disperazione e autoironia.

Shyness is nice, and
shyness can stop you
from doing all the things in life
you’d like to.

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?

Coyness is nice, and
coyness can stop you
from saying 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?

Spending warm summer days indoors,
writing frightening verse
to a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg.

Ask me, ask me, ask me,
ask me, ask me, ask me,
because if it’s not Love
then it’s the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb
that will bring us together.

Nature is a language, can’t you read?
Nature is a language, can’t you read?

So… Ask me, ask me, ask me,
ask me, ask me, ask me,
because if it’s not Love
then it’s the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb
that will bring us together.

If it’s not Love,
then it’s the Bomb,
then it’s the Bomb
that will bring us together.

So… Ask me, ask me, ask me,
ask me, ask me, ask me.
Oh, la…

 

Half a Person

da The World Won’t Listen

Concludiamo con un brano minore, uno di quei pezzi che non uscirono mai come singolo ma ebbero un destino da B-side. Stiamo parlando di Half a Person, canzone pubblicata sul lato B di Shoplifters of the World Unite nel gennaio del 1987, quando ormai il destino della band cominciava ad essere segnato. Il testo, secondo quanto rivelato da Morrissey in varie interviste, è fortemente autobiografico, anche se la protagonista della canzone è in realtà una donna.

Call me morbid, call me pale,
I’ve spent six years on your trail.
Six long years
on your trail.

Call me morbid, call me pale,
I’ve spent six years on your trail.
Six full years of my life on your trail.

And if you have five seconds to spare,
then I’ll tell you the story of my life:
sixteen, clumsy and shy,
I went to London and I,
I booked myself in at the Y… W.C.A.
I said: «I like it here, can I stay?
I like it here, can I stay?
Do you have a vacancy
for a back-scrubber?»

She was left behind, and sour,
and she wrote to me, equally dour.
She said: «In the days when you were
hopelessly poor
I just liked you more…»

And if you have five seconds to spare,
then I’ll tell you the story of my life:
sixteen, clumsy and shy,
I went to London and I,
I booked myself in at the Y… W.C.A.
I said: «I like it here, can I stay?
I like it here, can I stay?
And do you have a vacancy
For a back-scrubber?»

Call me morbid, call me pale,
I’ve spent too long on your trail.
Far too long,
chasing your tail.
Oh…

And if you have five seconds to spare,
then I’ll tell you the story of my life:
sixteen, clumsy and shy,
that’s the story of my life.
Sixteen, clumsy and shy,
the story of my life,
that’s the story of my life.
That’s the story of my life.
That’s the story of my life.
The story of my life.
That’s the story of my life.
That’s the story of my life.
That’s the story of my life.
That’s the story of my life.
That’s the story of my life.
That’s the story…

 

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