Simple Music I don't understand ........The Smiths content

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DominicDominic Frets: 7503
I know that the guitar style of Johnny Marr is much admired
I know that the band were very successful in their time but I have never understood their music content ( not to be confused with questioning their appeal /success......I have no view on that one way or t'other )
Well , You know how "show-tunes "often don't sound" right " ;
.....like the words don't fit properly or there is no determinable meter .....in fact, like the lyricist and the Tunesmith never actually met or heard what each other did until somebody sang it in the show !
 I happened to listen to "How soon is now " on the radio and realise that the music in the background and the sung tune don't really have any common theme.........a bit like poetry being spoken over music .
I get that was probably the left field appeal of Mssrs Smith
but , am I right or is it too clever for me ? 
 I can't help but wonder that when he sings it does he ever sing it the same twice and is there a relationship /motif in the relationship between the music and the vocal or is it kind of ad-lib
Could somebody else carry the tune if they were called upon as a vocal stand in ? 
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 863
    According to the blogs / autobiogs, mostof the album versions of songs weren’t true representations of what they felt the songs should be

    when I used to listen to the in the 80s I know what you mean, but now that I sit with an acoustic guitar and play and sing I don’t find it difficult at all.  
    It’s very clever vocal rhythm and tempo and stuff.  And it all comes together.  God knows how
    but I’m so glad they did.
    JM clearly very talented, very creative, great producer, versatile,
    but to me Moz made those songs what they are, which is original and not copied by anyone

    im sorry I never got to see them live 

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  • DominicDominic Frets: 7503
    There ;I knew I just wasn't clever enough to see it .
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5312
    I'm not a huge fan of JM's playing but I love the songs and love the way Morrissey sings over the top .... How soon is a strange one ... it takes a lot of listens before you feel the hook (the vibe and menace are instant which is enough to carry it to begin with ) but once you feel that hook it's wonderful because it literally sounds like nothing else


    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 863
    Okthe verse of How soon is now is a bit talky, but that chorus is fabulous, musical, energetic, and miserable at the same time :)  great song imho

    pulp / Jarvis does a lot of talking in his songs, and I think they serve to build the songs too
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 7503
    Yes but Jarvis tunes do have a very finite melody line
    I was listening to Bar Italia last night
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 6269
    Awesome, ground breaking band...

    @sev112 I saw them live a few times, and to my surprise, they were some of the most violent (audience) gigs I ever attended.

    Nonetheless, completely unique band, stunning (and at times, incredibly funny) lyrics.

    I guess from a ‘youth culture’ perspective, you either get em or you don’t...

    ”Hang The DJ” captured a whole collective of feelings from those who were tired of the vacuous music of the day.

    The first album is still one of the best first band albums ever.
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  • Start with the line '.....just like everybody else does' at the end of the first chorus, then you can hear how the vocals and the bass line interact. 
    The guitar can throw you off a bit. 


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  • the_butlerthe_butler Frets: 107
    OP is equally confusing
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 1462
    I don't get The Smiths either. I moderately enjoy a few of their songs but nowhere near enough for me to understand why they are held in such high regard by some people.

    I get that Morrissey is a clever lyricist but usually I listen to music for the music.  Good lyrics are a bonus, but they don't compensate for not liking the music in the first place.

    As with the lyrics, so with the guitar playing.  The guitar playing is idiosyncratic and if you really like the music you'll think it's good.  If the music leaves you cold the guitar playing will too.

    The only Morrissey song I genuinely think is great is a solo effort, Every Day Is Like Sunday.  No Marr on that which inclines me to think Morrissey is the talented one.  OTOH Marr seems like a nice bloke and Morrissey certainly doesn't.
    Someone in government has to tell the virus it's dealing with forward-looking, confident Global Britain and that we hold all the cards. It needs to know we are willing to walk away.

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  • BrizeBrize Frets: 3708
    The Smiths isn't usually the type of music I go in for but I think the songwriting is superlative.

    Morrissey & Marr > Lennon & McCartney 
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 6269
    "So, I broke into the Palace,
    With a sponge, and a rusty spanner;
    the Queen said,
    "I know you, and you cannot sing",
    I said, "that's nothing, you should hear me play piano..."

    Brilliant. =)
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 7503
    It's not about whether you like Smiths or not......they were just an example
    What I was getting at is that, to me ,it seems hard to find a way in which the tune of the singing follows the music
    ie ; if you gave an experienced orchestra the sheet music and a skilled singer the Lyrics neither of whom had heard the original song or how it was performed then I'm sure you would get an incredibly different performance however if you gave the same performers the music and Lyrics for Waltzing Matilda it would sound like the song we know even if they had never heard it before .
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2077
    Dominic said:
    It's not about whether you like Smiths or not......they were just an example
    What I was getting at is that, to me ,it seems hard to find a way in which the tune of the singing follows the music
    ie ; if you gave an experienced orchestra the sheet music and a skilled singer the Lyrics neither of whom had heard the original song or how it was performed then I'm sure you would get an incredibly different performance however if you gave the same performers the music and Lyrics for Waltzing Matilda it would sound like the song we know even if they had never heard it before .
    I have to disagree. The orchestral arrangement would have everything the players needed to sound like the music on the record as played by orchestral instruments. I think the vocal part (which would also be notes on a stave) would also suffice. In fact, I can hear how the bowed strings would plat the guitar intro in my head right now. Honest! 
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 7503
    Interesting
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  • francerfrancer Frets: 192
    edited March 25
    I have a sort of real life example of this, as a massive Smiths fan in my teenage years I bought the Meat is Murder song book. I worked with an older guy who was a saxophonist who had never even heard of the the Smiths. He opened it at random and sung the vocal melody to Barbarism Begins at Home to me just from sight reading, I was absolutely gobsmacked!
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  • fields5069fields5069 Frets: 3130
    edited March 25
    Dominic said:
    It's not about whether you like Smiths or not......they were just an example
    What I was getting at is that, to me ,it seems hard to find a way in which the tune of the singing follows the music
    ie ; if you gave an experienced orchestra the sheet music and a skilled singer the Lyrics neither of whom had heard the original song or how it was performed then I'm sure you would get an incredibly different performance however if you gave the same performers the music and Lyrics for Waltzing Matilda it would sound like the song we know even if they had never heard it before .
    But that's the skill, I guess, with some vocal lines. Morrissey's stuff is memorable, so there must be something quite natural going on there, in terms of melody.

    I've been strumming along to some Walkmen tunes lately, and the vocals can take a bit of time to sink in because of the melody chosen - perfectly in key but sometime a harmony part and not an obvious main melody part.
    Some folks like water, some folks like wine.
    My feedback thread is here.
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  • TeleMasterTeleMaster Frets: 2412
    Brize said:
    The Smiths isn't usually the type of music I go in for but I think the songwriting is superlative.

    Morrissey & Marr > Lennon & McCartney 
    I love the Smiths but come on now. There's no way that the Smiths have anything on the Beatles.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11459
    francer said:
    I have a sort of real life example of this, as a massive Smiths fan in my teenage years I bought the Meat is Murder song book. I worked with an older guy who was a saxophonist who had never even heard of the the Smiths. He opened it at random and sung the vocal melody to Barbarism Begins at Home to me just from sight reading, I was absolutely gobsmacked!

    I had an interesting example of this at uni. I lived with a music student who came from a family where they were banned from listening to anything, but classical music, no TV etc. As a result he had no real idea who the Beatles were however he was in a choir and could sight sing anything.

    I had the Beatles complete song book and would randomly open it and play guitar and he would join in. He would however sing it like a choir singer with no reference to ever having heard the music. It sounded good and obviously musically "right", but very strange as even if you try not to you will always add something of the original performance if you know it.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • scalino65scalino65 Frets: 253
    I saw an interview once where JM said that he knew that petatonic noodling has no place in the Smiths rehearsal room. I guess  that armed with such a conviction, it meant that he forced himself to find his voicings and arpeggios instead. (I wish I had that willpower).From reading his biography,  his driving force was to  really learn a craft and simply to continue to create. He had a very interesting set of influences that somehow he fused into the songs where SPM's vocals, lyrics and presence somehow made those influences more difficult to spot. e.g. the Chic stuff.
    Bit of Alchemy involved I guess in the partnership and a hell of a lot of hard work too.
    Does anyone remember that South Bank special on them back in '87? From memory, Bragg introduced the program by saying that ten years from then, they would be viewed as massively as the Rolling Stones..
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