Resident record nerd Mike Nipper "knows everything about music"—but only music relating to late-'50s R&B, '90s noise and garage, and anything Steve-Martin-on-banjo. For this column, we forced him to listen to the Smiths because he refuses to listen to the Smiths and that's fucking ridiculous.


Right. I can do this. My boss, who has been threatening to assign me a Never Heard of 'Em for, like, forever, finally got around to it. Y'all know it's usually cherub-faced Anna "newbie to all recorded music save for K-pop and '90s radio hits" Minard covering this beat, but she's currently in Alaska jackalope hunting.

Okay, my assignment: the Smiths' The Queen Is Dead album. Fucking FUCK!! This album was lovingly chosen for me after a recent office discussion in which I revealed I'd never, EVER listened to any Smiths song all the way through. Seriously, I made it through the '80s, '90s, aughties, and almost HALF our current decade without listening to a single entire Smiths track. Everyone was shocked. I understand that to some folks, the Smiths ARE "the Kinks" of alternative rock, but their very English made-in-the-'80s droopiness was never my thing. C'mon, guys, I never had an asymmetrical! Maybe it's 'cause in 1986 I was already too old to connect, but it's more likely that since I was a hardcore kid, there was ZERO appeal. I wanted raw, fast, loud, AND revolution to soundtrack my life; anything that sounded like it could be on the radio had no place in my tape deck! And the Smiths had a hella radio-hopeful sound...

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