You’ll never take the 80’s emo kid out of me. Doesn’t matter that I’m chronologically a 90’s kid, a Smiths fan is something I decided to become circa 2009, and Morrissey can be as unpleasant an old bat as he wants. The Smiths are still the most authentic music of the decade. Because let’s face it, if you or I were any 80’s rock star, we wouldn’t be any of the cool people selling Pepsi on MTV. We’d be Morrissey, flailing about sadly in an ill-fitting cardigan. The songs that saved your life are the songs that saved your life. They’re the songs that speak to your misery, your dysfunction, your self-aggrandizement and your self-sabotage. We’re all losers who both hate and cling to our shitty personalities, our weird coping mechanisms, and identities as ill-fitting as our cardigans.
“Could life ever be sane again?” Morrissey asked himself in 1986. In the wake of the Chernobyl meltdown and the blasted DJ’s insensitivity to it, it was a fair enough question. The world looked pretty bleak back then, and candy bubble pop stars just made the bleakness look worse. Morrissey set out to speak for all the mopes who saw the fuchsia and chartreuse of pop culture as a vapid distraction from the sorrow of reality. He succeeded and still does, and has lived to see his aesthetic cycle in and out of favor several times over. His miserabalism has outlived the rise and fall of grunge and emo, and The Smiths remain no less relevant. You can acknowledge that the world may well be whimpering its last, and yet you still go on living on the slim hope of romance or creative redemption.