"Panic" by The Smiths
(Words/Music: Johnny Marr and Morrissey, Non-album single, Rough Trade 1986)
It is no secret that I am not a huge fan of The Smiths or Morrissey. However, as I was looking through songs for the Sunday 80s post, I stumbled across a few songs in my iTunes that I do like by them: “How Soon Is Now?” (partially because it reminds me of the old Molson Ice commercials and partially because it sounds nothing like The Smiths), “Girlfriend in a Coma,” (which I admit that I downloaded out of morbid curiosity), and “Panic.” Of these three songs, “Panic” is easily my favorite, mainly because I see it as a companion piece to Elvis Costello’s “Radio, Radio.” Both songs condemn the music industry and its general inability to provide and promote music to which people can relate. Relating is a big part of The Smiths’ music as they made a name for themselves by creating music to which disenfranchised and disillusioned youth could relate. And while much of this connection comes via “woe-is-me” songs, “Panic” keeps to this theme while also commenting on life outside of the self. With “Panic,” The Smiths created an upbeat song likely to cross-over to the mainstream while still maintaining the melancholy ennui that The Smiths are known for.
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