Sunday, January 9, 2011

Music: "Panic", by The Smiths

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Yes, we know: Xmas holidays are over and we are sure many are feeling 'panic' at the mere idea of going back to school -- and not only students!
Just to cheer everybody up a little bit we have chosen a song by The Smiths, "Panic":

"Panic" is a song by the British alternative rock band The Smiths, written by singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr. "Panic" bemoans the state of contemporary pop music, and implores its listeners to "burn down the disco" and "hang the DJ" in retaliation. "Panic" was released by Rough Trade Records as a non-album single in 1986, reaching number 11 in the UK Singles Chart.

Composition and lyrics
A story circulated as the basis for the song is that days before recording the song, Marr and Morrissey were listening to BBC Radio One when a news report announced the Chernobyl disaster. Straight after the report, disc jockey Steve Wright played the song "I'm Your Man" by pop duo Wham!. "I remember actually saying, 'What the **** has this got to do with people's lives?'" Marr recalled. "We hear about Chernobyl, then, seconds later, we're expected to jump around to 'I'm Your Man'". While Marr subsequently stated that the account was exaggerated, he commented that it was a likely influence on Morrissey's lyrics. The band even commissioned a t-shirt featuring Wright's portrait and the phrase "Hang the DJ!"

The song begins with Morrissey mentioning chaos unravelling throughout Britain (specifically naming locales such as Dundee,Carlisle and Humberside). In the second part of the song, Morrissey reveals that the source of this chaos is pop music, which in his words "Says nothing to me about my life". In reaction, Morrissey implores listeners to "Burn down the disco" and "hang the DJ", the latter lyrics repeated with the addition of a chorus of schoolchildren. Morrissey considered the fact that the song appeared on daytime British radio a "tiny revolution" in its own way, as it aired amongst the very music it criticised.

The Smiths were an English rock band, formed in Manchester in 1982. Based on the songwriting partnership of Morrissey (vocals) and Johnny Marr (guitar), the band also included Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums). Critics have called them the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. The group were signed to the independent record label Rough Trade Records, for whom they released four studio albums and several compilations, as well as numerous non-LP singles.


Although they had limited commercial success outside the UK while they were still together, and never released a single that charted higher than number 10 in their home country, The Smiths won a growing following, and remain cult and commercial favourites. The band broke up in 1987 amid disagreements between Morrissey and Marr and have turned down several offers to reunite since then.The Smiths dressed mainly in ordinary clothes – jeans and plain shirts – which reflected the "back to basics" guitar-and-drums style of the music. This contrasted with the exotic high-fashion image cultivated by New Romantic pop groups such as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran.

We bet quite a few students would like to join the chorus of schoolchildren at the end of the song and change this verse in the lyrics:

Burn down the disco, hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music they constantly play

and sing this instead ;-)


Burn down the school, hang the blessed teachers
Because the story that they constantly tell
It says nothing to me about my life
Hang the blessed teachers
Because the story they constantly tell


These are the lyrics:

Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham

I wonder to myself could life ever be sane again?
The Leeds side-streets that you slip down
I wonder to myself

Hopes may rise on the Grasmere
But Honey Pie, you're not safe here
So you run down to the safety of the town
But there's Panic on the streets of Carlisle
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside, I wonder to myself

Burn down the disco, hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music they constantly play

On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down
Provincial towns you jog 'round

Hang the DJ
Hang the DJ
Hang the DJ
...

And now enjoy the video:



No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

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