The Smiths

Bigmouth Strikes Again

Composed by Johnny Marr / Morrissey

Song Review by

The second single from The Queen Is Dead, "Bigmouth Strikes Again" follows in the fractured guitar tradition of "How Soon Is Now?" But in place of the distant melancholy of the famed earlier single is a huge dose of somewhat pompous, feigning guilt. One would guess that Morrissey has positioned himself as the protagonist. His comparisons to Joan of Arc fit perfectly with the sexually ambiguous image he had molded for himself at the time. The anachronisms of the song make for a sneering attack on the perceived ignorant critics of the band and singer. Imagery dealing with Joan of Arc's melting hearing aid seems purely self-referential. Morrissey had taken to wearing a hearing aid at some concert performances and during televised appearances. Supposedly this gesture was to make hearing-impaired fans feel more comfortable with themselves. Whether it was empathy or affectation, Morrissey seems utterly detached and angry with his fellow humans, or it seems he's refusing to apologize, at least in a serious way, for his bold, spiteful treatment of the world and his musical peers in the press. He's basically saying, "Take me as I am, tortured artist's warts and all." The weird, processed voice in the background that punctuates some vocals is courtesy of Morrissey. The liner notes credit it to Ann Coates, but the credit is just a playful reference to the Ancoats area of Manchester. Johnny Marr's acoustic guitar sticks to the same couple of jangly chords, but he adds a quick bit of picking mid-song to liven up the pace. The single was released in May 1986, with the rare B-side "Money Changes Everything."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1986 Rough Trade
The Queen Is Dead 1986 Rhino / Warner Bros.
No Image 1986 Money Maker 5:29
The World Won't Listen 1987 Rhino 3:13
Rank 1988 Rhino / Warner Bros.
The Best of the Smiths, Vol. 2 1992 Sire 3:13
Singles 1995 WP
The Very Best of the Smiths 2001 Warner Music / WEA International 3:14
All That Alternative 2005
Various Artists
Warner Bros. / WEA/Warner 3:13
No Image 2007
Various Artists
WEA/Bose 3:13
The Sound of the Smiths 2008 Rhino 3:14
Singles Box 2009 Rhino 3:12
Complete 2011 Rhino / Warner Bros. 3:13
The Old Grey Whistle Test: The Anthems 2013
Various Artists
Rhino 3:20
Unloveable Chelsea
No Image Showtime Records
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