HANG THE DJ: The best uses of The Smiths in film

the best uses of the smiths in film

Artwork by Chloe Leeson

The Smiths are a band that captured the 80s, maybe your parents are fans or your older siblings, but The Smiths are also a band that continue to capture generations, their inclusion in film (be it a plot point or just a lovely backing track) is one that continues to blossom to this day. Morrisey’s dramatic and bleak lyrics resonate with young people today and often find themselves the perfect pairing to dramatize a scene, be it a solitary moment in one’s bedroom, a zombie apocalypse or the beginning of a new romance, here’s my top 5 uses of The Smiths in film…


Song: Asleep

Album: The Boy With The Thorn in His Side (B-Side)

In 2012, I assume The Smiths compilation CD sales went up quite a bit. The Perks of Being a Wallflower hit hard with many teenagers experiencing some of the same issues as Charlie and Asleep became the most iconic track on the soundtrack (one including David Bowie, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Susanne Vega!) striking notes with low teenagers all over the world that spent their time cooped up in their rooms passionately lip-syncing with headphones on.

THE CRAFT (1996)

Song: How Soon is Now?

Album: Meat is Murde

Covered here by: Love Spit Love

There’s something completely creepy about ‘How Soon is Now?’, especially this cover from Love Spit Love, a rockier, grungier, 90s take on The Smiths tune. Something sinister seems to be present when ‘I am human and I need to be loved’ is croaked throughout the song, a hint about otherworldly being perhaps?? Witches, yes? The song later became known as the theme tune for other witch based viewing, Charmed.


Song: Panic

Album: Rank

Most likely the shortest usage in the list but definitely the funniest. Edgar Wright’s hilarious brand of visual comedy here uses quick cuts as Shaun flicks through the TV stations, foreshadowing the apocalyptic events happening outside that he isn’t yet aware of. ‘Panic on the streets of London’ is essentially the basis of the entire film. Just brilliant.

500 DAYS OF SUMMER (2009)

Song: There is a light and it never goes out

Album: The Queen is Dead

The Smiths are pretty much the basis behind the entire plot of 500 Days of Summer. Summer here’s Tom listening to ‘There is a light and it never goes out’ in an elevator, complimenting his music taste. After this encounter he believes they are destined to be together and that she will solve all his problems because apparently its rare as fuck to like The Smiths. Chloe Moretz’s character explains the point of the film perfectly ‘Just cause a cute girl likes the same bizarro crap as you do, that doesn’t make her your soul mate.’


Song: Asleep

Album: The World Won’t Listen

Covered here by: Emily Browning

Emily Browning really should take up singing if the acting ever goes down the drain. Her lovely rendition of ‘Asleep’ is just as sad as the original mixed in with a serious longing to be saved. The song also perfectly ties in with the dream-like imaginary world Babydoll coaxes up in her mind to deal with her stint in the mental institution. She knows that the fantasy world is a better place where she is powerful and can save herself and the rest of the girls.

By Chloe Leeson

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