Released in 1984, The Smiths created a legacy that would last with their game changer ‘Hatful of Hollow’. This was the album where fans began to believe the hype concerning the darlings of the music industry. The Smiths are a band who have surrounded me from a young age; snippets of their back catalogue forms a few of my formative memories. However, it was not until a few years ago that I developed a real appreciation for their music.
The appeal of ‘Hatful of Hollow’ was originally the album artwork (which deeply intrigued me), although as I began to delve deeper into this strange, yet comfortingly familiar new world, I was struck with awe at Morrissey’s scarily accurate lyrics and Johnny Marr’s unforgettable and empowering riffs.
Last summer, I was lucky to receive tickets for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and once again ‘Hatful of Hollow’ transfigured itself into my personal soundtrack. I always listen to this album (admittedly) but for the Jubilee weekend I listened to only this album. Call me sentimental but I was feeling nostalgic – this was the inevitable choice of music.
One memory that shines brighter than the rest is sitting in our seats outside Buckingham Palace, waiting for the Royal Family to ascend that balcony. It was torrentially raining but I didn’t care; I had my favourite band to keep me company. Another factor as to why I love this album, is because it covers a variety of relatable mood. If you’re feeling melancholy – Morrissey wrote about it, angsty – you bet, Morrissey documented that and feeling epic – yeah, there’s a track for that too. The man is a genius who fully explored the teenage spectrum of emotion and human experience. He gets what they are about, even when others seem not to.
On twelfth track ‘Accept Yourself’, there is an eerily haunting line “Oh, but dreams have a knack of just not coming true and time is against me now.” For a sixteen year old with far too many dreams (some you might consider a little ambitious) this line sums it up in one, and made me feel a little less alone. It was reassuring to understand that one of my favourite musicians had been through it too. Another line which struck a nerve is from the second track ‘What Difference Does It Make?’, “Heavy words are so lightly thrown, but still I’d leap in front of a flying bullet for you.” This line summarised a situation that was happening at the time perfectly. I was arguing with my best friend (who’s a guy) so much over silly little things. We would argue like an old married couple and say plenty of things we didn’t really mean, but I knew that if it came to it he’d have my back, and I would do just about anything for him.
To me ‘Hatful of Hollow’ will always be more than just an album. It will be my greatest friend, and coping mechanism that got me through countless rough patches and a million happy times. All I can hope is that The Smiths and their iconic legacy will remain.