When the going gets tough, the tough get sardonic. Here are some of my all-time favorite biting, acerbic lyrics that have been feeling all-too-appropriate lately. Supplement with a few of your favorite Smiths songs for a miserable evening in.
Shannon and the Clams - “I Will Miss the Jasmine” - “I’ve been huffing stardust all night long / One last taste of moonbeams before the dawn” Like a coin-operated robot band in a fun house on a pier, Oakland’s Shannon and the Clams are woodsy wizards, slovenly sock hoppers, and jurassic jammers all in one. I’ve alwaysthought this mystical metaphor could inspire a pretty sinister piece of visual art.
Spectrals - “Peppermint” - “Now I want to put a ring on it / And whose fault is that /Do you think I could have my tongue back?” Libido falls hard with serious talk. Shy ginger Brit Louis Jones, the man behind Spectrals, reminds me of Orange Juice’s Edwyn Collins on this track.
Gazebos - “Boys I Like” - “I don’t like the boys who like me / And the boys I like don’t like me back” A dating anthem for the ages. In fact, Gazebos’ entire indie glam rock debut, Die Alone, could singlehandedly gratify all of your satirical cravings.
Sleater-Kinney - “Modern Girl” - The Woods - “My whole life / Is like a picture of a sunny day” Say it’s true and it will be so. Need I say more?
Veronica Falls - “Try Again” - “There’s no easy way to say / I burnt down your house today / There’s no easy way to say I’m sorry today” Surf-tinged indie pop band Veronica Falls demonstrate their proficiency in fake apologies once again. If you dig the blunt tone, “Wedding D ay” is another splendidly-sardonic track from this now-defunct band (RIP).
Tennis - “Viv Without the N” -“Oh I ain’t looking to back you up” This deceptively-sultry tune reminds me that I don’t owe anything to anyone.
The Smiths - “Nowhere Fast” -“And when I’m lying in my bed / I think about life and I think about death/ And neither one particularly appeals to me” Like horoscopes that in all their vagueness manage to form themselves to almost any life scenario, Morrissey’s hand-crafted sardonicisms (of which there are hundreds) always manage to make my lips curl up with their poignancy.
X-Ray Spex - “I Am a Poseur” - “I am a poseur and I don’t care / I like to make people stare” Don’t mistake this for a hipster anthem. Poly Styrene, a braces-clad biracial female punk, was just about the ultimate anti-star.
The Amps - “Full on Idle” - “In silence what I’d like to do / With your violin and its bow” A cryptic political criticism, Kim Deal covers herself in this slightly more electrified version of a Breeders original.
Savages - “Fuckers” - “We can fight until we’re dead / Don’t let them walk upon your head / And we can drive away from town / Don’t let the fuckers get you down” Though I often dream of blaring this song in the streets from a boombox on my shoulders, I hope I never have to.
Bethany Kaufman is EarthQuaker’s Operations Assistant. When she’s not at the office, she’s busy being a badass biker babe on her 1969 Honda.