The Queen Is Dead
For their third studio album, The Smiths subtly expanded their sound for the epic structure of the title track. While still at their best as a singles act, the band could also pull off a cohesive, flowing album and The Queen is Dead remains the band’s most dramatic one, addressing Morrissey’s concerns with everything from stardom (“Frankly, Mr. Shankly”) to celibacy (“Never Had No One Ever”) to his usual arsenal of limitless self-pity (“Bigmouth Strikes Again”). He even proclaims to “know how Joan of Arc felt.” This self-parodic approach pays humorous dividends and works best on the thrilling tingle of the incredibly romantic “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” where he dreamily croons “If a double-decker bus crashes into us / to die by your side / such a heavenly way to die.” There simply was never a band as openly confessional and conversational, so willfully sincere and cheeky. The forlorn, yearning hangover that haunts “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side,” the goofy empathy of "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others," and the inevitable “I Know It’s Over” make The Queen is Dead among the era’s most fascinating releases.