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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Five Smiths Lyrics That Would Make Immortal (and Slightly Embarrassing) Yearbook Quotes

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 7:25 AM

The Smiths lyrics: Fertile quoting grounds for graduating seniors.
  • The Smiths lyrics: Fertile quoting grounds for graduating seniors.

That the Internet hasn't blessed us with a Smiths Yearbook Quote Generator is altogether unforgivable. Knowing that high school seniors are being denied the opportunity to punch in their emotional state on the eve of graduation -- for example, "deeply and irreversibly forlorn" -- and receive a Smiths' couplet that best illustrates their mood -- in this case, "I wear black on the outside / 'Cause black is how I feel on the inside" -- breaks this Mozite's beating heart.

Morrissey's ability to encapsulate adolescent confusion and alienation in just a few dozen, delightfully sounding words was unparalleled. He dressed up routine, petty drama, puffed up those slights and slings, and made them romantic, profound, worthy of splashing on a banner and flying across the sky. "Sixteen, clumsy, and shy / I went to London and died." Yes; we want to as well!

In honor of Rhino Records' massive new box set (the release, out today, is available in either vinyl or CD and feature the band's four studio albums, three compilations, and sole live disc, as well as other Smiths-related goodies), we've compiled a list of Morrissey lyrics most worthy of yearbook immortality. (And most likely to elicit a wince at the 20-year reunion. Much like selecting a college, compiling your wedding guest list, and voting for president, you will anguish over choosing the right yearbook quote to the point of giving yourself an aneurysm, only to realize upon completion how utterly pointless the whole fucking endeavor is.)

1. "As merry as the days were long / I was right and you were wrong / Back at the old grey school / I would win and you would lose," from "You've Got Everything Now,"

Typically utilized as a not-quite-subtle shot at a much-loathed protagonist. Neither side can accurately recall the origins of their quarrel -- in all likelihood it started when some lip gloss was borrowed and never returned, or when one individual tallied more goals than the other during a field hockey game in gym class -- just that it mushroomed into a burning animosity that nearly inspired Heathers-style acts of violence.

2. "I could have been wild and I could have been free / But Nature played this trick on me," from "Pretty Girls Make Graves."

A neat and tidy cop-out for that weeknight/weekend hermit made squeamish by the outside world -- the kid with the Felicia Day fetish, the bookshelf filled with Harry Turtledove novels, and the impulse to pen "Gimme A Break!" fan fiction. He could have tossed back alcoholic elixirs and reached the final boss level with plenty of girls, but you know, genetics kicked sand in his eye.

3. "And when I'm lying in my bed / I think about life / And I think about death / And neither one particularly appeals to me," from "Nowhere Fast."

There are studies that say an adolescent's brain essentially eats itself. I shit you not. That theory, and the perilously high levels of hormones mean the typical teenager is two ham sandwiches short of a picnic. It's why they can look you in the eye and express a ghastly aversion to living and dying, a desire to exist in a fixed, emotionless stasis, when their idea of personal adversity is dealing with a mild bee allergy and having to go two years without new skiing gear.

4. "Hang the DJ / Hang the DJ / Hang the DJ / Hang the DJ / Hang the DJ / Hang the DJ, etc," from "Panic"

Perfect for the high school hipster whose pop cultural criticisms -- displayed on the school newspaper's op-ed page or emblazoned on his T-shirts -- were ignored by all and sundry during his four years. This lyric is his final opportunity to remind everyone that their favorite bands suck -- three words that serve as a seemingly innocent yet enormously meaningful statement about his peers' prom-night theme songs, Friday night cruise-the-strip anthems, and football team entrance music.

5. "Boot the grime of this world in the crotch, dear," from "Sheila Take a Bow"

Behold the starry-eyed, idealistic teen. They're going to save the world, one cut-up six-pack-ring at a time. Is there anything cuter? This particular Morrissey line is ideal for those seniors who believe better, more society-altering days lie ahead of them. When reminded that no revolution has ever started from the pages of a yearbook, they insist theirs will be the first.


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Ryan Foley


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