For five short years in the 1980s, a four-piece Manchester band released a collection of records that had undeniably profound effects on the landscape of popular music and beyond. Today, public and critical appreciation of The Smiths is at its height, yet the most important British band after The Beatles have rarely been subject to sustained academic scrutiny. Why pamper life's complexities?: Essays on The Smiths seeks to remedy this by bringing together diverse research disciplines to place the band in a series of enlightening social, cultural and political contexts as never before.
Topics covered by the essays range from class, sexuality, Catholicism, Thatcherism, regional and national identities, to cinema, musical poetics, suicide and fandom. Lyrics, interviews, the city of Manchester, cultural iconography and the cult of Morrissey are all considered anew. The essays breach the standard confines of music history, rock biography and pop culture studies to give a sustained critical analysis of the band that is timely and illuminating.
This book will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of sociology, literature, geography, cultural and media studies. It is also intended for a wider audience of those interested in the enduring appeal of one of the most complex and controversial bands. Accessible and original, these essays will help to contextualise the lasting cultural legacy of The Smiths.
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 440 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm
This book as a whole conveys how the band drew from canonized literature as credibly as they did from what popular culture's own bourgeoisie have more recently called 'guilty' pleasures. Each chapter differently suggests how to listen to The Smiths is to listen to a sublimely subjective history of culture itself, in which supposed distinctions between 'high' and 'popular' are unostentatiously rejected. The essays thus work superbly as a collection, displaying how, via The Smiths, Sandie Shaw meets Oscar Wilde, Guy Fawkes joins T. Rex, Andy Warhol enters Coronation Street and George Formby harmonises with Kazem Al Saher. -- .