Book Review: An Intimate History of Rough Trade by Neil Taylor

Published in the January 2011 issue of Rolling Stone Australia.

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This Charming Man: The Legacy of Morrissey & The Smiths

Unless you’re lacking in some serious musical education, you know who Morrissey and The Smiths are. But just in case, I’ll humor those of you who just furrowed your brow thinking “Who?!” The Smiths were a terrific Manchester rock band in the early to late 1980s. They released four studio albums from 1984 to 1987: “The Smiths,” “Meat is Murder,” “The Queen Is Dead,” and “Strangeways, Here We Come.” After their breakup in 1987, lead singer and lyricist, known simply as Morrissey, went solo to release nine studio albums,  most recently, 2009’s “Years of Refusal.”

Why are we so still so obsessed with the man? The sometimes profoundly depressing lyrics? The sometimes gut-wrenching hilarious lyrics? The jangly guitar riffs? The enigma that is Morrissey? In 2002, British music magazine NME named The Smiths the most influential artists of the past 50 years. But why exactly does Morrissey still enrapture us?

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