I’m writing this as I sit in my car, watching my son practicing baseball in the raw, bitter cold of April(?)…. checks calendar
…Yep, it’s April. Well, no matter. Swinging a metal bat in cold, rainy weather and feeling the sting crack your hands – that builds character! Easy for me to say as I sit in the comfy confines of my heated car, typing/playing games on the laptop and listening to the radio. No WiFi connection around here, but I didn’t expect much from a place that’s surrounded on both sides by senior citizen housing.
I’ve been thinking about my five songs (I’ve only listed one so far and that’s here) and, by some synchronistic magic, one of my Five Songs I Can’t Live Without
is now on the radio.
Ok, so I was going to pick a Smiths song, I knew that much. It was a tossup between There is a Light
, This Charming Man
and How Soon is Now?
, all of which have been listed by others.
There is a Light
is a hoot to sing (And if a ten ton truck, kills the both of us
..) and This Charming Man
has some very happy memories attached to it (and you can kind of dance to it), but it’s the seminal Smiths song, How Soon is Now?,
that gets my vote and goes on my list.
Listen, we’ve all been lonely. We’ve all been heartsick. We’ve all felt at one time as if we would live the rest of our lives in a deep, dark place that never sees the light of love.
But no matter how many goth poems you’ve written, no matter how many times you sighed and declared your life to be meaningless, no matter how many times unrequited love slapped you in the face, you could never, ever pull off patheticness quite like Morrissey.
In the beginning notes of HSIN, we’re there with him. Son, heir, vulgar shyness. If you’ve ever been a wallflower (and if you hero-worshipped Morrissey, I assume you have), you nodded along to those weirds.
You shut your mouth, how can you say, I go about things the wrong way. I am human and I need to be loved, just like everyone else does.
Oh, my sweet Morrissey. You have struck a chord with me. Your words have resonated in my heart as if you have looked into it and saw my despair. Face it; those of us who had some social defect – whether you were ugly or clumsy or gay or nerdy or goth or any of those things that made others treat you as less than human – well, Morrissey had us at shut your mouth.
And so the song goes on, with that same dirge-like chord in the background, and you’re not really listening to the music, because you are wallowing in yours and Morrissey’s misery and waiting for his voice to kick in again. Come on, Morrissey, tell us more! Spill your guts!
So he gets to this part:
There's a club, if you'd like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home, and you cry
And you want to die
That’s where the song stopped being about me and became solely about Morrissey’s pathetic soul. Oh, it’s not the lyrics – anyone who tried and failed to seek out a relationship can relate – it’s just the way he sings it.
You can hear it in his voice, his inflection and his tone. I bet they had to do ten takes at least, because he was crying as they recorded. I’m not dissing him, mind you. I feel for the guy. My heart really aches for him and I have, more than once, turned off that song thinking that my life really isn’t so bad and I am just not as pathetic as Morrissey.
And he finished up with this:
When you say it's gonna happen "now"
Well, when exactly do you mean ?
See I've already waited too long
And all my hope is gone
Yeah. I think I wrote exactly those words in high school, when that French-Canadian guy kept telling everyone he was gonna ask me out, but he never did.
Aside from the heartfelt lyrics and Morrissey's brilliant singing, there are the long instrumental breaks between the verses that, if listened to on headphones while laying in the dark and contemplating your life, sound very haunting and sorrowful.
There have been many cover versions of HSIN; Quicksand (excellent job) Snake River Conspiracy (sorry, it was not meant to be sung by a female), Everclear (not bad) and Love Spit Love which is my absolute favorite cover (and is the Charmed
theme song and also the theme song to The Craft
which I think Charmed
may be loosely based on). I heard that Tatu also covers it bud I'd rather not hear that one, thank you. Anyhow, there ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.
If you listen carefully – listen with your heart – HSIN is a song that will make you ache, make you want to track Morrissey down and give him a great big hug and tell him, don’t worry, baby. Here, have some Xanax and a nice shot of tequila and comfort yourself with the fact people still like you
. Perhaps not Johnny Marr, but people, nonetheless.