This, The Smiths' best album, is revered in certain circles as a holy talisman, but even though it's more consistent than usual, it's still a Smiths album.
Sure, there's "Bigmouth Strikes Again", that coasts on the breathless rush of Marr's guitar, but there's also "Never Had No One Ever", an insufferable ballad in which Morrissey moans about his virginity.
The album kicks off with a snippet of "Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty", and then Morrissey begins painting a picture of Blighty at her rainy-day worst ... 9-year olds who peddle drugs, ladies who complain that he can't sing, oh the Empire has seen its final days!
The best song on Side One has Morrissey invoking the spirit of Oscar Wilde in a showdown with the spirits of Yeats and Keats, and the disc ends with the "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others", which phases in from a dream and sounds like it's constantly fading out.
The problem - other than Morrissey's affectations, which (typically) mar too much of the material - is that Marr's guitar has been slowly inched into the background on a number of tracks, and as Marr's guitar is holy garlic against Morrissey's goth vampirism, that's a bad development. It doesn't stop The Queen Is Dead
from being a good album, but it would with the next one.Rated:
by Reviewer: Creative Noise21st April 2017