The Smiths: Ranking an iconic band's studio albums from worst to best

3 of 3

The Smiths No. 1 - The Queen is Dead (1986)

This album is pure perfection. Every single track on the record is worth multiple stand-alone listens by itself. Over the course of ten songs, Morrissey and Johnny Marr reach an elite level of mixing fantastic melodies with lyrics that cover social commentary, uncommon sadness, and, well...rage. The Smiths weren't really known for just straight-out anger, but there is no doubt that album opener, "The Queen is Dead," is just that.

Still, even buried in the anger directed toward the English monarchy, the song's words are unlike anything else you will listen to. "So I broke into the Palace with a sponge and a rusty spanner/She said, 'Eh, I know, and you cannot sing'/I said, 'That's nothing, you should hear me play the piano"'." What has ever been written better than that?

"I Know It's Over" is one of the saddest tunes the Smiths ever produced. But what the group, and specifically Morrissey, always was able to convey more than other other musical artist was a connection and understanding of the audience hearing the records. Those going through depression understand with every aching word on "I Know It's Over" that things suck, but that one is not alone in those thoughts.

Perhaps the most perfect song ever created is the penultimate track on the record. "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" has some of Morrissey's best turns of phrase, finds that even dying in certain ways can be OK as long as you share the moment quite wryly with the one you love, and Marr's melody is so good that if there were no words the song would still be terrific. The entire album is brilliant, however, and you should go out and buy the vinyl right now.

Other music news and analysis