day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad


The Smiths – I Know It’s Over

Okay, the other day I mentioned how people sometimes misunderstand The Smiths. It’s about how you use them. Mostly, anyway.

Listening to I Know It’s Over is wonderfully self-indulgent. It amplifies all those teenage angsty feelings you might be ashamed of.* It’s full of woe-is-me melodrama: “I can feel the soil falling over my head” is the kind of lyric that gets Smiths fans pinned down as miserabilists. But then it cuts through all that, with a knowing monologue.

“If you’re so funny,
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
And if you’re so clever,
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you’re so very entertaining,
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you’re so very good-looking,
Why do you sleep alone tonight ?
I know:
‘Cause tonight is just like any other night
That’s why you’re on your own tonight
With your triumphs and your charms
While they’re in each other’s arms…”

And with that, my teenage self was pinned down like a butterfly in a collector’s case while a scalpel-wielding Morrissey picked away those grandious self-delusions one by one. Morrissey was probably attacking himself here, but it seems almost designed as a surgical strike on the type of people who’ve always gravitated towards The Smiths.

As such, it’s probably the most devastating bit of lyrics-as-weapon I’ve ever experienced in pop music. It’s why I used to lie facedown on my bed and listen to I Know It’s Over on repeat every time I had a teenage melodrama to get teenagedly depressed about. It’s probably why I ended up the way I am, in a few ways. It might just be the reason I’m here, writing things like this, obsessed with pop music.

Lucky for you.

*Unless you’re Helen Shepherd, of course.

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