The Fall: 10 Essential Songs

Hear highlights from late, great post-punk malcontent Mark E. Smith's sprawling four-decade discography

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"Spoilt Victorian Child" (1985)

Smith's knack for Ray Davies–like social commentary – which would peak in 1988 when the Fall released a faithful cover of the Kinks' "Victoria" – was in full bloom on 1985's "Spoilt Victorian Child." With catchy guitar lines balanced against Smith's acidic vocals, the bouncy tune flaunted a disdain for England's past and enduring class consciousness while filtering it through a typically cryptic lens: "Let's take it 10 years on/You're looking back from then/Under rough, grey blankets." Resolutely working-class in both upbringing and do-it-yourself pride, Smith exclaimed to NME that "We're not Dire Straits. We're a working group." Not that anyone would have ever mistaken him for Mark Knopfler, but still.

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