Over The Smiths
Before the Korns and Limp Bizkits of the world insisted on a daily regime of rage and denial, there was a kinder gentler time when bands could still express unmanly insecurities in ticklish, sexually ambivalent pop songs. The Smiths were the most important of these acts. Their Puckish singer, known simply as Morrissey, warbled and whined about bicycle rides in the country, nervous trysts in the cemetery, and, of course, night after night spent alone. Drawing on an inexhaustible supply of double entendres and naughty insinuations, Morrissey established himself as the Oscar Wilde of his generation -- a genteel mischief-maker and foppish peddler of purple prose. The Smiths' unique sound, however, must be attributed to guitarist Johnny Marr. Spurred on by a distaste for jamming and flash, Marr explored unconventional avenues that led him to the sonic scree of "How Soon Is Now" and the lush jangle of "This Charming Man." Marr left the Smiths in 1987, forcing Morrissey to embark on a solo career. Apart from a lack of strong hooks due to the absence of Marr, Morrissey's work has consistently carried on the Smiths' sound. In 2006, Marr joined Modest Mouse, who shortly thereafter released We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, the Mancunian's first number one-selling album in the U.S.