Song of the Day #4,727: ‘Panic’ – The Smiths

‘Panic’ is one of the better-known tracks from Louder Than Bombs, The Smiths’ 1987 compilation of singles and B-sides that hadn’t had a U.S. release. Pound for pound, this album rivals any of the band’s studio releases.

The story goes that Morrissey and Johnny Marr wrote ‘Panic’ after listening to coverage of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster followed immediately by a silly pop song. The opening verses describe a chaotic scene as people react to world events, before the chorus shifts to a call to arms against the DJ whose music choices are too frivolous.

The repeated line “hang the DJ” was attacked by some as a dangerous provocation, though I have a hard time picturing Smiths fans acting on the suggestion.

Black Mirror creator Charlie Booker used this song in one of that series’ best episodes (titled, yes, ‘Hang the DJ’).

[Verse 1]
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…

[Verse 2]
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…

[Chorus]
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

[Verse 3]
On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down
Provincial towns you jog ’round

[Outro]
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
Hang the DJ, hang the DJ

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,727: ‘Panic’ – The Smiths

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Yet another Smiths song that does nothing for me.

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