We’ve all been there. One moment, you’re listening to music in your car, and the next thing you know, you hear Morrissey’s voice on the radio. The part of you that loves The Smiths wants to be delighted yet the part that hates Morrissey is frightened. What if you inadvertently support his lackluster solo career?
Luckily, it’s surprisingly easy to tell The Smiths and Morrissey apart. One put out several great albums and the other is Morrissey. One’s albums sell for modest prices on Discogs while the other rots in a used record store’s dollar bin. Some tracks are harder to identify like Morrissey’s cover of the classic Smiths hit “How Soon Is Now?” but listen closely and you’ll quickly learn where to draw the line between lonely and pathetic.
Think about it. The Smiths may not be known for releasing happy music but at least you find yourself tapping your toes to Johnny Marr’s delightful little riffs. Those usually play for at least 30 seconds before Morrissey opens his mouth. Listen for one of those before you get scared and skip some of the greatest music of all time. Besides, no merciful god or DJ would play solo Moz on the radio. You’re probably safe if you’re listening to a half-decent radio station.
You’re statistically more likely to accidentally skip a good Smiths song than you are to enjoy a whiny Morrissey solo track. The average casual listener skips 12 or 13 Smiths songs a year, though most of those skips are from people who feel guilty when “Meat is Murder” starts playing in the McDonald’s drive-thru line. True Smiths fans know better than to make this mistake.
If you really can’t tell the difference between a great band and a grown man having a melodic tantrum, close your eyes and do some soul-searching. Ask yourself — are you having a good time? Would you recommend this music to others? If either is true, it’s The Smiths. If not, at least your unironic enjoyment of Morrissey’s objectively terrible music makes you far more open-minded than he is.