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Baker's Dozen

The Business Of Forever: Theo Hutchcraft Of Hurts' Favourite Albums
Simon Price , October 6th, 2015 12:04

The lead singer of classy, continent-conquering synth duo Hurts, about to release their third album, Surrender, goes from Phil Spector to Nine Inch Nails via UK hip-hop and Bulgarian folk songs as he picks his top 13

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The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
The Smiths I like for the same reasons that I like a lot of these other artists, like The Streets. I love the eccentricity of them. They don't sound like anybody. I don't know who they like. And that really is weird. I know who Prince listens to. I don't know who Morrissey and Johnny Marr listen to. I can't work it out to this day. I don't know who their influences are. And I think that is brilliant. And again, they work as a duo, which could never work separately. The Smiths are different to Morrissey solo records. There's a youthful energy from Johnny Marr in The Smiths, which isn't present in the Morrissey records, which are a bit more maudlin. The three comedy numbers on The Queen Is Dead don't stand out or spoil it, for me, because that is who they are: that jaunty humour is in them all. It's in 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'. It's in 'Panic'. I think that's why The Smiths are so unique: the poignancy of 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out', or 'The Queen Is Dead', that real straight-arrow commentary on life and culture, they could do that, but you trust him when he does that, because he's also got humility. You trust him when he says something's bad, because he laughs at other things. I also love the way this album starts, that really funny, "Take me back to dear old Blighty" bit. That's their essence.

A lot of people will say The Smiths are grassroots, that they're colloquial and parochial, but for me they're not. They're a commentary on normal life but they're artful about it. They make it into a kitchen sink drama. They see the art in everything. Which isn't really there, for many people, but Morrissey sees it. He takes you to another place. It's almost as if the England he sings about is peculiar to him. It's a Fellini-type England that's really exaggerated and camp and weird. And that's why I love him.


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