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Sunday, February 12, 2012

"How Soon Is Now"

The Smiths - How Soon Is Now? (1984)

How shameful is it that even though I knew it was a cover I still associate this song with Charmed?

Oscillating reverb guitar. Not exactly what The Smiths were known for, but this has become one of the definitive tracks when people bring up the band. Guitarist Johnny Marr wrote the song, then had a jam session in the studio with bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. After adding that brooding slide guitar part, and other overdubbed effects, they were done; and sent a rough cut of the song in the mail to Morissey. All of the massively echoing guitar actually gives the song the perfect feel for a club. It makes you feel drunk and more than a little high just by letting the song hit your eardrums.

Morissey's lyrics have eluded me many times over the years, but none quite so embarrassing as this slip up. I had always heard: /I am the sun, and the air/ Nope. It's /I am the son, and the heir/. Makes the next line make more sense anyway, though it does make it less nature-Wicca-power feeling. I guess that's my punishment for associating the song with a WB network show about witches and sisterhood. That cover version by the way is by Love Spit Love, the "hiatus band" of Psychedelic Furs singer Richard Butler. It was recorded for mid nineties teen witches film The Craft and the producers of the show Charmed thought it would be perfect for their new TV show about witches. The lyrics in the bridge are actually almost painful to listen to. The singer is embarrassing himself to such a great extent. He starts by describing a club, where one invariably ends up going alone, standing alone, and going home alone. Then when he interacts with someone who obviously asks him something like "let's get out of here soon" or "I want to do it now" he reacts with an almost stammering: /When you say it's going to happen"now"/Well when exactly do you mean?/See, I've already waited too long/. Painful.

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