I knew this girl in college who was a friend of a kind-of friend, who claimed to be completely obsessed with The Smiths.
I didn’t realize this was a thing until college. Girls being into The Smiths. Not that it should be uncommon—The Smiths are great and gender shouldn’t define a person’s interests—it’s just I questioned the sincerity of certain girls’ infatuation with this band.
See, this girl was really peppy and into anime and stuffed animals with big doll eyes—all things that terrified me during my late teens and early twenties. It didn’t make sense—how could she possibly relate to Morrissey? I was quiet and soft-spoken and a smidge broody. I was the one who decorated her dorm room with things like Miles Davis posters and wrote melodramatic sayings like “Teenage Wasteland” on the tongue of her converse sneaker. Morrissey was singing to me, clearly.
The point is, this girl made me dislike The Smiths for a while. In my mind, all these freshmen girls who had just discovered Urban Outfitters and coffee houses and boys with black-framed glasses, were tainting the band (not to mention stealing the cute boys wearing black-framed glasses. I'm looking directly at you, blonde guitar player in my Economics class. I will never forgive you for persuading that bespectacled, dark-haired classmate with the right amount of facial hair to sit near the front of the class when for so long he sat near me at the back of the class.) I felt like if I said, “Yeah, ‘I Know It’s Over’ is one of my favorite songs” real music enthusiasts would smile blankly and turn the other way, rolling their eyes like John Cusack in “High Fidelity.”
And having John Cusack circa “High Fidelity” not take me seriously was too much to bear.
But, a funny thing happened when I grew up—I realized I was an idiot. Once something becomes popular, it doesn’t mean it’s complete garbage that everyone should shun. It makes me embarrassed to think there was a time in my life when I allowed my elitism to shut out The Smiths. Today, I came across them in my library and decided to have a listen again.
And I realized their melodies and melodrama will always have a place in my heart, even if the majority of their fan base is now a result of “500 Days of Summer.” That movie was awesome, anyways.