A few months ago I went to the doctor because I felt like shit. Shit is the only word I can use, I guess. Although I don’t think it covers it. I told him everything I felt and he said “depression and anxiety.” You can’t even make it sound good. You know, at least if you have a cold your voice gets a bit husky and suddenly people want you to talk more. But anxiety and depression? You might as well say you’ve got something not mentioning. For me, I’m conflicted. Part of me is sort of glad I know what’s wrong with me but the other part wants it gone. I’ve been told it gets better but right now, no part of me sees that. I have more bad days than good.
Last Friday I had 5 panic attacks in under 2 and a bit hours. I’d have much preferred someone to have punched me in the face for 2 hours. It would have hurt less. The aftermath of a panic attack for me is equally as bad as having one. I get a migraine straight away but with a normal migraine, the pain is less tense and the nausea that comes with it I can sort of tame. After a panic attack, the migraine just doesn’t go. It’s a constant stabbing sensation in my head and the feeling of being sick stays. It’s debilitating and exhausting.
The thing with depression and anxiety is that no one sees it. No one can see someone is mentally unwell. They don’t see someone who has to set an alarm half an hour before they need to be up so they actually get up and go to work. They don’t see how everyday small things can set a person off. And that’s okay. Imagine if we could see it. It would be useful but as someone who hates any form of attention, I’d probably be worse. Most days I just want to stay in bed. I don’t want to see or speak to anyone. It used to be passed off by others as me being “difficult” or “unsociable.” I’m neither of these things. Although sometimes you do just want to tell people to piss off don’t you. But I think that’s just human nature.
There are parts of you that feel, “what if no one believes me?” I’m stuck with that constantly. I feel because I can force a smile at times and laugh- maybe I don’t have these things. Maybe it’s not real. It comes and goes. I don’t always feel shit, but I do and I think that’s okay. I’ve learnt to try find a safe space wherever I am. As I live in a stupidly big city, it’s hard to find any form of peace. For me, the gym is my safe space. I used to go because I hated being fat and hated my body. I still do, but now it’s to keep my mind clear as best as I can. Going to gigs used to be my safety net but the last gig I went to, I had a panic attack and had to leave. This was a month ago and since, I’ve missed a handful of gigs because I can’t set my mind free.
Like some, music is my safety net. Certain bands/singers voices and music take away how overbearing and how overwhelming this feeling is. Certain bands have become my safety net, my safe space for when I can’t physically get somewhere.
From the rowdiness of Melvins to the calming sounds of Beach House, certain songs take whatever is happening away. But not all the time. Sometimes it’s just no use- and that’s okay.
I’ve chosen a couple of songs that have been vital in calming me down and being my crutch whenever I’ve needed. The songs that store my sanity but as yet, don’t have the power to keep everything at bay. But that’s fine. I’ve experienced understanding and a lack of understanding through all this. I’ve started CBT and apparently that will work. As someone who has a dislike for things like that, it’s tough. My mind is open. Ironically, I had 2 panic attacks whilst on my way to my first session so that was a great experience. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. I don’t know- nobody does. And that’s okay.
Anyway, enough of the self-indulgent bullshit. Have some songs:
“Frankly, Mr Shankly, I’m a sickening wreck, I’ve got the 21st century breathing down my neck.”
There are some records after one listen stick with you for the rest of your life. These are the records that become your life, save your life, ARE your life. The records you turn to when there isn’t a soul around. A certain is your crutch, and whenever you hear it a bout of strength comes over you. Feelings come in waves, in odd numbers, in even numbers, on a Tuesday afternoon when gazing out of a 4th floor window. It hits you when you start to forget who you are, what you are and how tough you are.
1986. The year of many great records. And for better or for worse, the year I entered the world 6 weeks before my due date. Quite possibly the only time I’ve ever been early. Prior to my birth several months before, The Smiths released the wonderful (and equally wonderfully titled) The Queen Is Dead. Their highly influential third record. Many fans of the band do regard this as their best work, and you really cannot find any faults within this record. Everything about it is remarkable and ahead of its time. The lyrics show Morrissey at his best (whilst in The Smiths) and are full of words that will make you smirk, laugh, cry, think- anything and everything.
Of course I’ve been one of those who leaned on I Know It’s Over when I first had my heart torn out. I found so much comfort in this song, and having your heart broken is a very isolated feeling- which is why music is such a vital part of the healing process. This song just has this honesty to it that shows what it is like to be part of something that is no longer there, but you cling to it. Every word is brutally open and I think it might be one of the easiest songs in the world to relate to. There are so many lines in this song make you feel weak at the knees because of how they hit you in the gut. “It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” Easily one of my favourite lyrics of all time. It’s also one I want tattooed on me. In time, I probably will.
Then you have the genius and wit in songs like The Queen Is Dead and Frankly, Mr Shankly. The Queen Is Dead has so much humour, and one line that really shows this is: “She said: “Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing” I said: “that’s nothing – you should hear me play piano.” As someone who cannot sing nor play piano, I can identify with this. I also haven’t broken into the Palace with a sponge and rusty spanner.
Bigmouth Strikes Again is also another that shows how brilliant Morrissey’s songwriting was then (and obviously still is.) And I do suppose it is one of those you can play, and think of someone who gets on your last nerve, but you wouldn’t wish any harm upon them. Aside from the humour, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side shows this captivating sensitivity within Morrissey’s words, and the way he sings it is with such care, longing and slight caution. I just think the last part of the song, “And when you want to live, how do you start? Where do you go?” This is line that I remember floating in my head every single time I tried to leave home but it didn’t quite work out. As luck would have it, today is exactly 3 years since I left home for good. I’ve had some great times, some really awful times but I’ve made some brilliant friends in doing so. I wouldn’t change a thing, well maybe one or two. Or three. Everything happens because it must, and it works out- for the most part.
I can’t talk about this record without mentioning of their most famous songs and one of the greatest songs of all time. I’m a HUGE fan of The Smiths and Morrissey, and sometimes I feel like a lesser fan by claiming There Is A Light That Never Goes Out as my favourite song. But hear me out, if you can tolerate any more of my words. There Is A Light was a song I used to play on repeat in my room most evenings, before I went to sleep and when I woke up as I had to face the torment of secondary school. The words embodied escaping. The only way I could escape was through songs. Through Morrissey’s words. Through his words I found a world that made me feel okay with being out of place, a misfit, an outsider. His words were and still are everything to me. We always need someone on our side, and he’s on mine. I’m on his. This song for me just embodies hope. For those who claim he’s miserable, I urge them to play The Queen Is Dead- take the words in. There are songs there to make you laugh. His humour is something else. Especially on this record.
For me, I know that without this record a lot of bands I love would not have ever formed. The influence that The Queen Is Dead has on so many bands, even 30 years on is just astonishing and beautiful to see, and hear. I can’t imagine my life without this record. I don’t know what I would have and would do without it. It’s got everything you’d need from a best friend in it- it feels like home. I know I’ve mainly touched on Morrissey’s lyrics here, but for me lyrics are everything. I know how brilliant this record and how they all created something truly inspiring on it. I know how important each note played and how each word sung is on this record. I know. I know. A band/singer will always find you when you are lost, for me it is obvious it was The Smiths/Morrissey. I’m going to be the same age as one of my favourite records soon. Suddenly hitting 30 doesn’t seem so bad.
I never do this, but I’ve written this for my mum. The person who is responsible for my love for The Smiths, Morrissey and music. The person who I love more than anything in the world and the person who, when I grow up- I hope I’m just like. The only person I’ll go to a Morrissey show with. There’s something quite special about watching your hero on stage whilst hugging your heroine next to you, at the same time. I love you, and thank you for everything. You’re my light that never goes out x
When a band/singer covers a song and it sounds exactly like the original, it’s pretty dull. When they take the song and make it their own, that’s when you know you’ve found something rather special. Cat Power’s covers usually sound better than the original because she seems to put a lot more into it. She’s someone who makes it easy to pick up on every feeling imaginable when you hear her sing, whether it be her own song or a cover.
Dum Dum Girls have covered a number of songs and I probably should just list them all to make it easier (for myself) but I’ve managed to narrow it down to a solid 5. I’ve looked over it a few times and so far, I don’t think I want to change it but there’s still time.
Sorrow (The McCoys)- Aside from being known for their massive hit, Hang On Sloopy, The McCoys sang the gorgeous Sorrow which has been covered by many mod bands in the 60s. Dee Dee’s take on the song is stripped back and her voice adds vulnerability to it which is slightly missing from any other version I’ve heard. All this song does is show you how delicate Dee Dee’s voice is and how she makes you feel she wrote this song for you to really REALLY feel in your gut. With all songs Dum Dum Girls have covered, they manage to make you feel like the song was never created by another, and it is such a hard thing to do. It’s a hard thing to do well,and they truly exceed any expectations someone may have from a cover song.
Sight Of You (Pale Saints)- Their cover of this makes me want to take a long walk through New York City in the bitter cold during a blizzard. They make this shoegaze classic into a psychedelic whirl, you feel as if you’ve dropped acid and are in the late 80s/early 90s at some kind of Mancunian party with The Stone Roses. It is a stunning cover, it’s one of my favourite covers ever because like with The McCoys cover, you really do feel as if Dee Dee sat down one day and poured her heart and soul into this timeless song. Sight Of You is one of those songs (for better and worse) that makes you think of someone your brain shouldn’t. It happens to us all, it doesn’t matter who you are. There’s less pain in their version but more sadness. Sure the two are linked, but pain and sadness can be so different at times which is why I love their version of this song. It’s a euphoric gem, DDG style.
Be My Baby (The Ronettes)- Maybe I shouldn’t mention this one because the quality of the video online isn’t too great, but Be My Baby is easily one of the greatest songs ever written and many who have covered it have really not done it justice at all. What caused me to become a fan and fall freely in love with Dum Dum Girls music was their ability to sound like a 60s girl band, mixing wall of sound with a strong Punk DIY ethic. I adore that so much, and a lot of bands I love manage to capture that feel in their music. Personally, I feel Dee Dee’s vocals are wonderful to listen to because she reminds me so much of singers I love such as Ronnie Spector, Shirley Manson and Patti Smith. When you see DDG live, you can see the attitude and strength of those singers when she performs. If anyone can do this song justice, it is Dum Dum Girls.
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths)- For me, covering a song by The Smiths or Morrissey is sacrilege. But, I can make exceptions when the cover is equally as great as the original. The Smiths version makes you feel alright with feeling lost, vulnerable and alone. Dum Dum Girls cover is a breath of life. It isn’t as sullen as The Smiths, but there is something equally fragile about it. There is no other band that I can think of that could make this song feel right as a cover. This song is one I hold dear to me, like most fans of The Smiths/Morrissey do. If they were to cover another song by them I would definitely love to hear them take on Please,Please,Please Let Me Get What I Want. There’s no doubt in my mind that Dee Dee could hammer home the vulnerability and sacredness of that song. They could probably cause you to breakdown if they covered I Know It’s Over.
Zombie (The Cranberries)- I found this clip on YouTube by accident, and sometimes accidents are wonderful things. This live clip is bloody brilliant. Dee Dee gets the pain across in this song, Zombie is full of pain and rage. Dee Dee unleashes this so beautiful with Andrew, Sandy, Jules and Malia adding fuel to the fire. This is definitely my favourite cover they’ve done so far. You can tell they’ve played this song over and over, and have paid close attention to every tiny little detail in the song and created their own version which doesn’t shy away too much from the original. I would love them to put this in their live shows as it really shows how strong they are as a band. Dee Dee has a delicate voice, and is so clear. With this cover of Zombie, even a non fan of the band would fall in love. Although it doesn’t take much from the original, they all manage to convey the message of the song and make it still as powerful and relevant more than before.
Of course it is worth mentioning that their version of Oh Those Eyes (The Vagrants) and Baby Don’t Go (Sonny Bono) are nothing short of stunning, and there are so many songs I’d love to hear them take on. In particular I’d love to hear them do a version of I Think I’m Paranoid and/or The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, and probably You Look So Fine by Garbage. That would be perfect. Ask The Angels by Patti Smith, I Wanna Be Adored by The Stone Roses and Who Loves The Sun by Velvet Underground, maybe something by Nick Cave for sure. I could go on and on, but you get my point. They just take songs and make you forget they are covers. Not only does it make them stand out as a band but it just makes me love their music even more.
There is something quite emotional about picking up a book that your hero has written about their life. Knowing you are about to read things about them that you never knew- will it change your view on them? Will it change how you feel about certain songs? Will you be shocked? One thing happened after I finished reading Morrissey’s autobiography today; my love for him became stronger and reinforced why he is my absolute hero. I know heroes are meant to be people who save lives and the like. But the thing is, Morrissey saved my life- that’s why he’s my hero. I’ll take it to my grave debating if it was a life worth saving or not, but he was there when I had nothing or no one. He always will be. His words mean more to me now, after reading his biography.
I’ve never written a book review before and I evidently cannot write music reviews. I suppose this won’t be a review because I won’t tell you what happens and what is said. He does touch on his personal life, and to an extent I do think he mentions things fellow Morrissey fans already knew. We know of the trouble he went through with THAT court case. However for me, there is one moment in the book that brought me to tears (happened a few times, but at this point I had to stop reading for a while.) The friendship he had with the wonderful Kirsty MacColl was beautiful. You can truly sense the love he had (and still has) for her when you see how fondly he writes about her. There’s a paragraph about her death (I won’t type it up) that just made me sob uncontrollably for a while. Maybe I wanted to just hug Morrissey and tell him it’s all okay. Maybe at that point I realised that my hero feels everything I feel and can word it in ways I’ll never be able to, but I already knew that. I don’t know what it was, I suppose it was the way he wrote it. He writes in that beautiful delicate yet honest way that us Morrissey fans love him for. He gets to the core of every human emotion regardless of how ugly it may be, and makes us feel less alone for carrying it around.
Yesterday I watched the news on Channel 4 and ITV, showing clips of Morrissey fans in Sweden finally meeting their hero. I’ve seen lovely photos on Facebook of the fans who were lucky to meet him. The whole atmosphere surrounding this book is something that I don’t think will be repeated, maybe again. Is anyone going to care about the winner of X-Factor’s life? No. Well, maybe if they read Heat magazine/if dull and mundane things interest them. Morrissey’s life has been painful at times, and to read about the losses he has experienced is heartbreaking. I knew that, from his lyrics alone, that this book would be written in that extremely personal way (it’s an autobiography afterall! I know) but to read it all in book form is completely different. At times you do feel as if he is sat next to you telling you everything about his life. All you can do is nod in agreement or cry at the moments that just break your heart.
His book is a work of art and shows him in a vulnerable yet beautiful way. That’s just Morrissey all over. He is someone who is baffled at his own success yet those who love him can see exactly why he is adored like this. Morrissey writes with utter tenderness and sheer humour when needed. He is everything I want in a hero. I remember when I read Patti Smith’s Just Kids, when I finished it I knew it would be a book that I would constantly go back to when I needed something to make me feel human and capable again. The same applies to Morrissey’s autobiography. Except with his book, it is reminder that things take time and you won’t always be the laughing-stock.
I sometimes think about what it must be like to meet him, and to somehow tell him what he means to me, but I’m no good with words. I’m no good with saying certain things, maybe I’d have to play him a song to sum it all up. I have no idea, maybe that day will never come. As the book came to a close I believed he is finally at place where he is happy and has all that he needs. He is by no means a materialistic man, and I think that’s part of why I love him. I don’t understand people who wish to purchase things of value to claim their worth as a person. Your worth is established in your heart.
Morrissey is the person who has dragged me kicking and screaming through life when I didn’t see a point. At times I still don’t see a point, but I play a Morrissey song and I hear hope. I hear hope that will carry me through. Of course, he is my light that will never go out. His charm and wit is an honour to be familiar with on a daily basis. Some may regard his autobiography as 457 pages of self-pitying. It really really isn’t. He is telling his life story, his way. There are stories that will make you cry, stories that will make you laugh- much like his songs. When asked a question at school, he replies with “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.” It was obvious that from a young age that this young boy was destined to be the voice of those who needed to be heard in a way that only Morrissey understood and could express.
There are many stories in his book that are just a pleasure to read, but there is one paragraph that spoke to me instantly and will remain etched upon my heart and brain:
“However heavy-hearted and impossible you might feel about yourself, you can still bestow love through recorded song-which just might even be the only place where you have the chance to show yourself as you really are since nothing in your disposed life gives you encouragement.”
There is something about fans of The Smiths and Morrissey that just stands out from fans of other singers/bands. I’ve never really met anyone in person who truly got my love for Morrissey. Maybe one or two, but that’s it. Those who truly get the love for him are the ones I’ve seen at Morrissey shows. The ones who cry as soon as he walks on stage, the ones who sing every word back to him knowing that it is one of the many songs of his that saved our lives. It doesn’t need words, because the actions of us all just sum up our feelings perfectly.
There are times where I’ve worn one of my Morrissey/The Smiths t-shirts and a knowing nod or smile has been thrown my way from a stranger on the street. Once I was waiting at Piccadilly station in Manchester on the platform, and I was wearing a Morrissey shirt. Stuart Maconie walked past me and smiled. That was pretty cool. I’ve had a woman in Liverpool stop me as I was walking through the street, grabbed my arm and asked if the M tattoo on my arm was for Morrissey. You feel something quite powerful and a mutual understanding when this happens. It makes you feel something that probably wouldn’t mean as much if it was another band or singer.
One of these encounters happened again today.
Today is a year of my girlfriend and I being together, and this afternoon we went out for lunch. On my jacket I have a badge with Morrissey’s face on with the words, “It’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate. It takes guts to be gentle and kind” around it. A voice of a young chap said to me, “Excuse me, is that..on your badge..The Smiths?” I said it was. He replied with “I Know It’s Over.” An d we agreed on the beauty of the song and spoke briefly about his autobiography which is FINALLY out next week. That short interaction with someone about a person who has evidently been one of the biggest influences in your life not only makes you proud to be a fan, but it makes you glad that someone else also gets the importance of Morrissey.
Of course you do get these people who seem to love just saying nasty things about Morrissey. They label him as miserable (obviously they don’t get intelligent humour) and such things. However, you cannot please everyone. And why on earth would you want to please everyone and win people over? No thank you. For me, I love Morrissey because he manages to express every ugly feeling I’ve ever had in a way that makes it feel alright. He exposes the feelings we are told to push down and ignore in a way that makes you feel less vile for having them. He also dislikes the Royal Family, which I fully endorse. His words for so long have been my life. He’s changed my life in ways those who TRULY love him will only know how. If you’ve only ever heard of The Smiths because of 500 Days Of Summer and have never listened to another song by him or The Smiths- they will not get it at all. That’s alright, they probably love another band/singer in the same way. Everyone has that one singer/band that they will defend until their very last breath.
When someone stops you in the street to acknowledge the t-shirt you are wearing, and you both exchange understanding acknowledgments- it just makes you even more proud to be a fan of that band/singer.
There is one video, I believe that truly sums up how much us Morrissey fans love him and what it means to love him. Oh and of course the atmosphere you can feel whilst at a Morrissey show:
Morrissey fans are the most passionate and loving fans. They know what it is like to truly love a singer with EVERYTHING they have. They’ve rinsed their bank accounts to just see him live. They’ve declined sleep to travel to see him. His music is our life, and I doubt we’d have it any other way. Many of course will continue to slag off Morrissey, but he’s still around. He’s lasted longer than most, and his words are the lifeline for so many. He is someone who you don’t just play in the background and carry on with whatever you’re doing. You play his music daily and you feel every word deeper than you did the time before, and the time before that. Your love and respect just grows.
Music is a massive part of my life, and I’ll always stand by that Morrissey’s words are why lyrics mean the most to me. Seeing songs like Speedway live was like a healing process of sorts. Seeing I Know It’s Over live was something I’ll just never forget- the words went deeper that time, for obvious reasons. It’ll always be my favourite song by The Smiths. I do believe that no one but Morrissey should sing his songs/ The Smiths songs, but Dum Dum Girls cover of There Is A Light is my only exception. Always. His words may be delicate at times, but he gives you strength. Feel alone, feel weak, cry- whatever. It doesn’t matter, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of having those feelings. He was the only one to have taught me this, and I’ll carry it around with me for the rest of my life. The songs that really did, save my life.
With this being my 1000 post, I thought I should try write something of worth. Whether or not it is, well that’s a different subject entirely. It may make sense, it may just wind up being another nonsensical rant, which is usually is. I don’t need telling, I already know. As the end of 2012 approaches (or it may already have depending on your location) you see a lot of people taking to social networking sites declaring how the next year will be THEIR year or they are going to change. It irks me because, you can make whatever change you wish at any point. You announce these things but by the second week of January you hate yourself more than you ever did. Make life easier on yourself, and just carry on as normal. I say this, but I make life hard work for myself at times. It’s a fault, one of many.
I don’t like discussing my weight/how chubby I am because I’m not exactly a fan of myself. I could have easily been like most and said START OF THE YEAR I AM GETTING FIT. Over the past year and a half, I have been working on losing weight. It’s not easy. Fortunately, I really do enjoy going to the gym for a few hours and listening to music. I’d take a book with me but whilst on the treadmill I do look like a panic-stricken bear. When I go there, it doesn’t just get rid of my horrendous fat, but it clears the mind. I currently work at HMV, but it’s only a Christmas job. I love it. I bloody love it. For every grumpy customer, there is one that just makes your day. I’ve held up queues talking to people about bands, I’ve been hugged by customers because I helped them, I’ve had people sing to me then ask “do you have that one?” and the old favourite, “Excuse me..do you work here?” It is a brilliant job and those I’ve worked with are equally as brilliant. It was my third year there, and I think this year was my favourite. It just gives you a sense of pride and self-worth knowing you’ve helped someone. I must add, it is usually the older generation (60+) that are much kinder. Kids today are just rude really. Or maybe it’s the kids over here. I have no idea. Put down your iPads kids, and go take a walk. Use your mind. Come 5th January and I’ll be out of work, and on the Monday I’ll be taking that awful trip to the job centre to sign on. If you’ve never had your soul crushed and your dreams shat on; I suggest you go on the dole. If you want to be treated like dirt and have a wealth of self-hate upon you; go on the dole. My degree is useless, but I have no means of going back to uni. Of course in an ideal world I would have my own record shop, with a healthy selection of books. Later on I’d have my own publishing company. And finally, I’d be able to get a dog. These are hopes and dreams that maybe I’ll one day achieve.
We treat this time of year as a time of reflection. I don’t like thinking about the past, because it can sometimes make you debate what you want your future and present to be. Although, we cannot control the future. I firmly believe if something is going to happen, it will happen. I can relate this to the one I love. Many years ago, maybe something should have happened. Go forward five years and seeing her whilst in London during Pride (oh I know, but this one was alright so…) this year was truly the best thing to have happened. Part of my brain thought, “This could happen..somehow.” Every day since we have been talking, and FINALLY after waiting 5 years, this beautiful and perfect being is my girlfriend. I’m not a happy person naturally, but who is. But I finally know what sincere happiness and what true love is, thanks to her. It was always going to be her- and now it finally is. I’m working on trying to make her buy me a dog. Baby steps, I know. I know. It’s just lovely to be with someone who is full of love and kindness, and wants to change no part of me. Also means I get to spend more time in London too.
This year I have learnt that patience prevails. If you wait, it will happen. With reference to above, I can also link this in to music. Since 2009, I have been a huge fan of Crocodiles. They dragged me through a break-up, showed me a different (and better) world with their music and their lyrics claimed a part of my heart that needed claiming. I missed out on several tours, cue heartbreak and loathing wherever I was living at the time. 4th September they did a free gig at Rough Trade. Oh fate, how I love thee. I was already in London. I think I was staying for a week. I walked past Brandon and Charlie just outside Rough Trade. My stomach flipped. If I was 14 and mental, I may have chased them. Instead, I am a 26-year-old who gets tongue-tied most of the time. Their free gig at Rough Trade was a special moment for me. I paid no attention to anyone in the crowd. I don’t even think 100 hundred people were there. I sang to every song, I swayed and shut my eyes. I opened them, in awe and in shock of being right in front of the band that did more for me than they will ever know. Sadly, I was too much of a wuss to go up to them at the end and talk to them. Next time, I will. I vow to talk to them. About something, or nothing in particular.
My favourite music moment of this year has to be Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls covering Just Like Honey by The Jesus And Mary Chain, just for me. Just for me. A nobody from nowhere. It started as a sweeping statement from myself on Twitter one evening. I was listening to Psychocandy, and just wrote on Twitter something like “Imagine if Dum Dum Girls covered Just Like Honey.” The next day I woke to a reply from Dee Dee telling me to email her. So I did. She replied telling me she would try to do a cover for me. A few months later, she emailed me the cover and wrote “For your ears only xx.” I do not think anyone in this world can understand what this meant to me, and still does. And yes, I did cry. I’ve been a fan for many years of Dum Dum Girls, and for this to happen just blew my mind. If I see them when they come to the UK, I just need to thank Dee Dee face to face for it. That’s all I can do. Their music has made certain events less shite, you know how it is. Coming Down is my go-to song. Rest Of Our Lives describes my love for the one I love. Season In Hell gives me hope and Catholicked brings me back to life.
This has gone on long. I think I’ve said too much, but I have more to say.
I’ve been freelancing for close to 7 years now, and I started this blog in 2008 as part of an Online Journalism module whilst at Uni. I think I was the only one in that class to keep up their blog. There have been times where I thought there was no point in writing. No point at all. There have been times where if, Writer’s Block was a person I would gladly thump it in the gut. But then I hear a song or find a new band, and my love is restarted and I cannot imagine me not writing. I just HAVE to do it. It keeps me going. I have never been paid to write. Never. No one has offered to do so. I’m not about money. I own nothing of worth. Material things mean nothing to me. My Docs have holes in them and I rip jeans more often than I should. I look like a 70s reject. I look like the lovechild of Joey Ramone and Patti Smith; if they ever had a child. I have had more job rejections than I can count, and each one is a kick in the gut. But a motivation to try harder. Although, I don’t know if I can try harder than I do. I’d love to write a book, but god knows what it would be about. Obviously music. I’ve always wanted to follow a band around and write a book about it (Royal Chant I am looking at you, and Warpaint.) The film, Almost Famous is to blame for that goal.
This year (and last) I’ve had many kind words said to me from bands, PR companies and record labels with regard to what I have written about them and their work. You cannot put a price on that. Of course I believe still, that the only person who reads this is my mum but hey. If you’ve got this far, then I’ll buy you a cup of tea one day. I’m easy to find, but please don’t look as you will be disappointed. This part is a thank you to all the bands that have got in touch with me, all the PR companies and record labels. You’ve made writing even more enjoyable. There are stand-out bands and labels I’d mention, but that wouldn’t be fair. You are all brilliant, so thank you.
I will always ALWAYS welcome new music from any genre, so please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) I don’t care if no one bar your mum knows you exist or if you’ve supported some household name on a lengthy tour. Music is music. Send it.
Don’t forget who you are, and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. Or that your goals are stupid ideas. Freedom comes from the heart, goes up into the mind then is unleashed. Don’t make a prisoner out of yourself. It’s all okay. It’s going to be alright.
“Reel around the fountain. Slap me on the patio, I’ll take it now…”
Manchester, Manchester- you beautiful city. Look at what you have given us. John Cooper Clarke, The Fall and of course The Smiths. On a damp and dreary (I’m going to assume it was, I was born just under 3 years later) an album by one of the world’s most influential bands was released. A debut record is a record critics will thrive off picking about and throwing away. That didn’t happen with The Smiths debut first record. If I have it in me, I’m going to attempt to put my all into writing this. Expect sentences that ooze frustration because I cannot say what I want to say. I’d like to mention I am writing this drinking tea out of a Morrissey mug.
I want to delve right into the very core of the album’s opening track, and one of my favourite songs by the band EVER. I want to go into detail about how gloriously sexually charged the lyrics are. Thing is, Morrissey’s lyrics have always had this wonderfully subtle sexual connotations that click with certain kinds of people. The shy ones, like myself who lack charm and anything to offer another (Moz has the charm, we all know that.) The Smiths made the outsider feel part of something. They made you feel as if you had found a home, a safety haven. All your desires and longing came true in this band. They also voiced them because you couldn’t do it. Can you do it now? I know I can’t. If only it was okay to say to someone you liked, “I like you but I cannot sum it up..so listen to this song by The Smiths.” Reel Around The Fountain has a verse that I just adore. It makes me want to cuddle that young, shy Morrissey and say, “It’s okay lad, you’re better than everyone anyway.”
“I dreamt about you last night. And I fell out of bed twice. You can pin and mount me like a butterfly. But “take me to the haven of your bed.” Was something that you never said.”
I, like most fans of the band can relate to nearly EVERY lyric and this is just utterly divine and accurate. Moz says the things I seem to have on the tip of my tongue, no exceptions.
Not a band to shy away from negative criticism from the press and anyone in-between, The Smiths felt the brunt of their open music when Suffer Little Children was placed as the B-Side to Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. I love The Smiths more than I can put into words, but this one song that I’ve only listened to..not even a handful of times. It is far too painful and to the core. Personally, I don’t find it distasteful so for certain shops to pull the record from the shelves was too much. If anything, it was a tribute to the victims of one of the most horrendous and brutal crimes ever committed. It was also one of the first songs that Morrissey and Johnny Marr wrote together.
You really do not need someone like myself to tell you just how important this record is. From the lyrics to the music to the excellent production that is present on this record. Anything and everything The Smiths ever did was nothing short of perfection. Even the imperfections and glitches were beautiful. Sometimes I am asked “The Smiths or Morrissey?” And, I usually do say Morrissey for many many reasons. I guess I can relate more to his solo work, but this debut record is just one of the greatest records ever made. Of course being released through Rough Trade wasn’t a bad thing either.
The debut record is exquisitely honest and vulnerable. Morrissey just pours out all the frustrations you can possibly handle. 28 years on since its release, and it undoubtedly still is as important and apt as ever.
I cannot write this in a way that reads as something critical. I’m just throwing these words out as a fan, that’s all I can do. The first song I remember hearing by The Smiths was Hand In Glove. I just loved the sounds I was hearing, I was far too young to understand the lyrics but as I hit my teens..I paid full attention to the lyrics. The Smiths and Morrissey didn’t only just put out music that saved my life, they BECAME my life.
It angers me when people say “Oh they HAVE to get back together.” They don’t. They really bloody don’t. When a band splits, that should be it. It’s like getting back with an ex isn’t it? Royally pointless and a dumb thing to do. The Smiths will always be one of the most influential and best bands ever. The music and the memories we have are more than enough. It all started 28 years ago today with this record. I’ve loved them for so long, and I couldn’t imagine my life and record collection without them. It’d be awful and dull (both my life and music.)
Listening to this record again, to write this- there is always one line that has forever stuck out for me. A line that I constantly have flailing around my heads causing me to probably overthink :
“Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I dunno…”
It has been many many years since I first heard this record, and I am still trying to work out what rules what. Maybe it is just safer to say that the heart rules everything, but at the same time probably cocks everything up. There is a song on this record for every point in one’s life. Miserable Lie will help you get our something or someone. Hand In Glove will help with acceptance. What Difference Does It Make will help you see that people are sometimes, not worth the hassle. Reel Around The Fountain will make you pine for that person you cannot get out of your head. It described life for so many 28 years ago, and it still does the same now.
It is obvious just how vital this record is, and what it for music. Time may drag and drain us all, but with records like this, it makes the whole process less painful.
As you know, I’m not exactly articulate or clever with my words. I don’t try to be, I wouldn’t know how. I know that my biggest problem is that I write from the heart and possibly with too much feeling. I guess it’s because the music I love is like that. If I don’t write this way, then there’s really no point. I suppose that is why I know I will never ever be paid to do this for a living. That being a Music Writer is just some childhood dream that has followed me into adulthood- but it just stays a dream. I’m just another twerp with a Journalism degree who’s trying to be heard (I don’t want to be seen.) But anyway, that isn’t about that right now. This is going to be another post with a lot of feeling. I have no idea why I’m even doing this. Maybe it’s beause I have a awful cold, and I’ve had too much cough medicine. You don’t have to read this. And why should you anyway.
I have no idea how to approach this at all. I never do. You see, I can pour everything I feel about a song or band so easily here. It seems to be the easiest thing in the world. Ask me to tell you how I feel about certain people or whatever- I seem to lose words and the ability to function. I guess it’s why I’m always writing something. Whether it be here, in my poetry notebook or my lyric notebook. I’m always writing something, about something- or someone. I’m not an emotionally challenged person. I just lose the ability to make sense a lot of the time. Nor do I need to be drunk to tell you that I love you, or to ask you for 10p. I’ll start this for real now.
Something happened very close to a year ago. Something which every single person on this planet fears. I’ve never spoken about in great detail with anyone. I didn’t see the need. I didn’t see why I should or why anyone would give a shit. I spoke about it with one friend. In fact, we both cried about it. This is why she’s my best friend and rock. She’s one of the very very few people who changed me for the better. She won’t see this, so there’s no point in me praising her too much 😉 Last year my mother flew over to England to tell me she had Breast Cancer. My reaction was typical. I cried like a fucking baby and clung onto her like an ape. I think my heart and world stopped. I wanted to swear, but I respect my mother too much to use the word FUCK in front of her. Buggery and twat is fine though. It was something I never ever imagined I would hear. It wasn’t something I ever thought about. How I felt from that moment from then on is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone- even someone I disliked. People say having your heartbroken by a lover is awful. Whatever. That’s nothing. This feeling is a trillion times worse. It makes the romantic kind of heartbreak seem like nothing. However, we’re all different and deal with life’s obstacles in different ways. If you’re anything like me, you do the whole “if I ignore it, it’ll go away but I know it will creep up and bite me in the arse.” Oh, and it did. It did.
I’m not writing this for anyone to think or feel, “You poor thing.” No. I’m doing this because I want to show how music, how a song can pull you through anything. Even something as horrific as this. My mum is one of the lucky ones. She is still here. However, when she tells me she’s in pain or doesn’t feel well- I panic so much internally. All I can do is offer a hug or a cup of tea. I know, I’m useless. When she was undergoing Radiotherapy she still managed to look amazing. I think she’s one of these people who cannot leave the house without make-up. She had her treatment in Sheffield, so I’d go up and see her a few times a week. She didn’t want me to go to the place where she was being treated, which I fully understood. Instead we’d wander around York, Manchester and Sheffield. I’d be lugged around clothes shops and in return, I’d make her go to record shops with me.
My mum is the most strongest and loving human beings I know. I saw how strong she was through all of this, and it just inspired me in ways that I didn’t know how. I never really sat down and spoke about this with her. I didn’t see how me talking about how I felt about her being ill would help. It wouldn’t rid her of cancer. It wouldn’t make this less real. My way was to just act like normal. In front of my friends, I would remain the joker doing my best to make them laugh- doing my best to make sure nobody ever caught onto how awful I felt. For a month or so, I just cried myself to sleep. There were times when leaving the house was seen as the most impossible thing ever. I just wanted to sleep, and when I woke up- I wanted none of this to have ever happened. I always thought, “Fucks sake Olivia. You have NO right to feel so bad. You’re not the one with cancer.” I told myself this all the time until I snapped out of it. I guess I had to trick myself into living again so I wouldn’t be a mess. Thing is, to everyone and anyone- I was totally fine. I was strong and together. I was told a few times that it was okay to break or whatever. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t physically go to a friend and just have an outburst. When my mum told me she was sick, I left her for an hour and I went to my best friend’s house. I sat on her bed. And just bawled. She did too. That was the first and last time I did that. I hate crying. It gives me a migraine.
I’m not writing this to make anyone feel sorry for me, or for anyone to praise me or anything. I’m doing this for one reason. I’m writing this to make someone else see that…it’s fucking okay to be a mess you know? Just because you reach rock bottom doesn’t mean you cannot get up again. Use Music as your fucking crutch. I did. Certain songs (which I will link you to in a bit) pulled me through. When I couldn’t sleep or when I didn’t feel too great- these songs gave me something. I’m not exactly the poster-child for bravery. I think the cowardly lion is possibly my spirit animal sometimes. I think I’ve got better. Who knows.
You’ve got to put your faith in something or someone. A place, a person or a sound. Just something. Give yourself to something. I don’t like bothering anyone with anything that gets to me. I’m more likely to just play a song I love to find comfort and answers. And so, that is exactly what I did. The songs I’m going to link you to ALL played an important role in making sure I didn’t become a selfish wanker wallowing in self pity. These songs stopped me from going under and into something shit.
My mum’s okay now. Well, mentally- she will always be tapped in the head. I think that’s genetic. I’ve got no fucking chance of being normal. Not that I’d ever want to be 😉 I remember when she was undergoing treatment she kept saying to me, “I don’t care if I’m on a fucking drip-we ARE going to see Morrissey.” And we did. Twice. I refuse to ever EVER go watch Morrissey live with anyone but my mum. I don’t care who you are- I can only go with her. When we saw him in York we stood for an hour at the end of the gig waiting for him to come out. He came out. As he got into his car, waved and nodded at us. For me, that was perfect. We’ve seen Morrissey 4 times, each time it just makes me feel so alive. However seeing him twice last year meant so much more, for the obvious reasons. It was just perfect.
I think I’ve written far too much. I’ll probably delete this because, when I re-read this I will see how much of an idiot I am. I’m sorry. If you’ve read this- thank you, and I’m sorry you put yourself through this. Anyway, go listen to these songs. They sum up what I’ve been trying to say better than I ever could, especially Kate Bush and Brand New. Running Up That Hill..the chorus just sums up everything I felt and feel. I would give anything to have swapped with my mum so she didn’t have to go through any of this :
I cannot stand songs that go on and on about being in love or how wonderful the world seems. I can’t relate to it, so I don’t really care for it. I love songs and artists that drag out the ugly, and dark feelings we are conditioned to ignore. The feelings we are told to never speak of. I love it when an artist has the guts to sing the songs that reach for your soul and just crush you. It crushes you in a way that leaves you crippled with so many painful feelings; you just don’t know what to do with them. I don’t mean songs about having your heart broken by someone. That isn’t the only bad feeling in the world. There is more to life than being in love and losing love. However, again; we are conditioned to seek love from another so we can justify our existence. Personally, it’s utter bollocks. You validate your existence in your own way. It doesn’t have to mean you have to be in love to do so.
Although I love songs that rake out the harsh and brutal feelings we are meant to push aside, this doesn’t mean I walk around hating life and everyone. I’m an average human being; nothing special. I hate no one, I hate nothing. I don’t have it in me to have that feeling at all. There’s good and bad in everything, and in everyone. I’m not someone who is against being in love; I’m sure it’s a delightful thing when it goes right. I just find the darker side, the things we are told to not go near much more interesting.
There is something romantic and comforting about hearing a song that just oozes pain and despair. Heroin by Velvet Underground is one of the most gut-wrenching and heart breaking songs ever written. It isn’t about a lover. It is fairly obvious what it is about. Every single time I listen to it, it just delves into a part of me; I cannot imagine a cheery song doing this to me. Don’t get me wrong, I do listen to a lot of music that someone could pass as “happy.” However, bands such as Velvet Underground make me happy because of what they mean to me. It doesn’t matter what song I play by them, it just goes to a part of me that, although the lyrics can be quite sad- it still makes me happy. It makes me happy that I have a band like that in my life, that mean so much to me. The same can be applied to The Jesus And Mary Chain, Spiritualized and Townes Van Zandt.
One of the first songs I remember hearing by Spiritualized was Broken Heart. If anyone was to ever list the songs that could break a person in so many ways- this should be at the top. Jason Pierce has this way of projecting such frailness and vulnerability into his lyrics that make you connect so deeply with what he is saying. He takes you right down to rock bottom with him. Thing is, you don’t want to get back up from it. He was one of the first artists I really remember feeling this way about. Just instantly connecting with every word. Clinging onto it with all I had. Much like The Cure and of course, The Smiths. A band can really make you feel less alone when you think you’ve hit the lowest point. I guess sometimes, you can always go lower. If you’re scared of hitting it- you’ll probably get there quicker than you planned to. If you’re not scared, it’s up to you how you deal with it. Some things you can fight off and avoid. Some things just happened. You cannot plan a thing.
Townes Van Zandt (aside from Morrissey) is my favourite male solo artist of all time. What I loved (and still do) about his music was the honesty and how you could easily feel every single word he sung. You knew he meant every single word when he mentioned feeling so low. Songs such as Waiting Around To Die, Cocaine Blues just really made you feel for him. I will always stand by Waiting Around To Die as being one of my favourite songs of all time. I could listen to it over and over, and not get bored of hearing his breaking, powerful, trembling voice. He was well and truly the most underrated singer/song-writers of all time. If you want pain and aching lyrics- Townes Van Zandt is the one.
All these reasons I’ve mentioned (and more) are probably why I love The Drums so much. I love how they have such sadness surrounding their songs but it is disguised through the electrifying guitars and upbeat drums. Songs such as Book Of Stories, Best Friend, What You Were, I Felt Stupid are so heartbreaking- but so utterly perfect. You know, I don’t think I could look at someone who didn’t enjoy at least one song by The Drums. I remember first hearing them in early 2009 and, I felt how someone must have felt when they first heard The Beach Boys, The Ronnettes, The Smiths- it was so exciting, and so needed at the time. I do believe that if they ever called it quits- I would cry. Just like I did when The Long Blondes split up. When you feel such a strong connection to a band, they become your life. They say everything you cannot say. I love Marina And The Diamonds because she can write songs that make you feel less alone about having bad days and disliking yourself. She makes you feel okay about not being as strong as you think you should be. I love Florence + The Machine because Florence can express such dark feelings in a way that just blows me away and can make you feel less troubled about carrying around certain feelings that probably bug you a Hell of a lot.
You see dear reader, it is quite easy to tell a person something so positive and charming. Yet when you have to attempt to say something quite dark and hurtful about what is whirling on in your head- it can be quite daunting. There’s a song for every occasion. There’s a lyric to describe everything you feel- whether it is joyful or horrendous- someone has already said it for you. Someone has already felt that way and made it more eloquent than you could even try to do. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s bad enough feeling like shit, so when someone else can sum it up in a song for you- it takes the added pressure of expressing yourself off.
Just remember- it is okay to feel like shit. It is okay to be happy. Never feel bad for how you feel, whether it is good or bad. You cannot switch yourself off, but you can always, always-restart.
Death. A subject most fear and refuse to ever talk about. A subject that no matter how hard you try to avoid, it’s still going to happen. Anything that starts will always end. Friendships, relationships, life. With most things in life we go through with others. We share certain moments with others such as love, laughter, tears, joy, pain- everything. Aside from death.
What fascinates me about death is that nobody can tell you what happens when your body leaves this earth. We all make our own assumptions. Some choose a religious stance, others may take a spiritual approach and some just have no opinion on the matter. Personally, I’m on the spiritual side of things- but this is not the time or place for me to put across my personal views.
With death, it is a one person thing. Just YOU feel it. YOU’RE the one that is aware of what is happening to you. Nobody else can feel that emotion. A person that has died cannot come back and tell you what it is like. Nor can they tell you what happens afterwards. This may be daunting for some, but I just find it entirely fascinating.
I’m not someone who sits and thinks about how I will die or how I wish to die. I’m not that morbid or curious. Nature can deal with it. One thing I find interesting are songs about death. Regardless of genre- death is a subject that is frequently touched on. Some may hide it better than others. Certain genres go more in depth with it. So, I’m going to choose a selection of songs that touch on the subject of death. I’m not going to make it insanely depressing; just focus on the creative side of it and how an artist expresses their views on the subject.
The first song I’m choosing to write about is one that I feel is one of the most heartbreaking songs of all time by one of the greatest bands of all time. Treasure by The Cure is quite simply, breathtaking. The fragility in Robert Smith’s voice here always hurts to listen to. It’s such a sad sad song. It is taken from the album Wild Mood Swings which was the first album I heard by The Cure. I remember finding it amongst my stepdad’s music collection, I was only 10 years old- I took the CD and was just fascinated by what I was hearing. Treasure stood out for me more than the other songs because it just sounded so dark and vulnerable. I was always an odd one, so I guess its no surprise I was fascinated with such a dark song. I suppose you could take it as a breakup song, but I honestly wouldn’t understand why. It’s got such an aura of death and dying surrounding it. The way he sings, “She whispers, “Please remember me. When I am gone from here.” She whispers, “Please remember me. But not with tears.”” It just instantly crushes you. Robert Smith sings it so delicately, like an Angel or something. His voice just sounds so pure and innocent. I love The Cure because they just hit this part of you that no other band could get to. I love The Smiths/Morrissey with all I have, but The Cure hit a part that no one else could reach. They’re a lifeline, a crutch at best. When I listen to Treasure, I can’t help but feel for the person who is telling the loved one not to cry. Knowing you’re about to leave someone forever is just as crushing as being the person left behind. You suddenly find more things you want to say to them, the time you had with them seemed to have been too short- more needs to be said. But what can you say? What can you prove? “Remember I was always true. Remember that I always tried. Remember I loved only you.” Not only is this enough to make you breakdown, it’s just so apt. You want the person to know that you were always theirs; you always tried your best for them. More importantly, they were your everything. You loved them, always. You always will. In life and in death.
If one song sums up the solitude found in death it has to be Waiting Around To Die by Townes Van Zandt. If I had to list my favourite songs of all time, this would be in my Top 5. I love the pain, frustration and anguish in his voice. A lot of his songs were just riddled with loneliness. Anyone who claims to have never felt lonely is a liar. Being alone and feeling lonely are two very different things, and to deny ever feeling that way just makes you a liar. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, well, there’s still time. Waiting Around To Die for me, just cries out someone waiting for death because means nothing; that ending it would just give it more meaning. It oozes boredom and addiction. Some may say there’s a link between the two; I say it’s all down to strength of character. The last verse ALWAYS cuts deep into my heart. With all his songs, you can hear and feel he means every single word he is singing, but this song just grips you so hard. It’s a painful grip because you can sense his pain, but for some reason you just cannot let go. Do you want to? I doubt you could. “Now I’m out of prison, I got me a friend at last. He don’t steal or cheat or drink or lie. His name’s Codeine, he’s the nicest thing I’ve seen. Together we’re gonna wait around and die.” Everyone has done him wrong, so he turns to a substance, in this case Codeine- it’s all he has, they’ll wait it out and die together. To feel that low and desperate must be such an exhausting feeling. I think it’s something that we all work hard to never ever feel. You cannot control what happens; you cannot control your emotions. Some things you just cannot fight off.
I cannot write an article on death in music and ignore The Smiths can I? It has to be Asleep. Morrissey’s gorgeous voice over the haunting piano is so comforting. It’s comforting in a way you never thought a song like this could be. It’s evidently about suicide, but the way Morrissey has written it is so clever. He regards death in this song as basically just being asleep which makes it a less painful concept. “Don’t feel bad for me. I want you to know, deep in the cell of my heart. I will feel so glad to go.” I think anyone who has felt so alone and has felt that awful feeling of just wanting to leave will truly feel that part of the song more than most. You don’t want any loved ones to feel sorry for you because it is what you want. You just cannot carry on anymore. Some people that have felt this low manage to pull through. Some sadly however, succumb to this horrible feeling and just call it quits. It isn’t right, it isn’t wrong; it is just a shame. As a massive (understatement) fan of The Smiths and Morrissey, this song just shows Morrissey at his most painful, darkest and articulate. The loneliness that pours out of Moz’s music is astounding. He makes you feel lonely even if you don’t feel it. That’s the beauty of music; it can make you feel things you never thought you could feel. Sometimes they are horrible feelings, sometimes they are wonderful feelings. What I take from music is the ability to no longer be scared of having feelings. It’s okay to feel like utter shit, its okay to be happy. There is no right or wrong, ever. Asleep is like a lullaby, an extremely dramatic and aching lullaby. You feel as if you’re floating away from all you hate as you listen to it. When you wake up, well that’s an entirely different feeling altogether.
One of the first Hip Hop records I remember buying was Ready To Die by Notorious B.I.G. His debut record is not for the faint hearted or those who have never possessed a deep thought in their life. It isn’t for those who cannot take pain and honesty. One song in particular, Suicidal Thoughts is one of the most intense and darkest songs I’ve ever heard. Not just from the Hip Hop genre, but in general. Biggie was a poet, you cannot deny that. The greatest Hip Hop artists SHOULD be regarded as poets; it’s just a shame most of them aren’t. A lot of people are always like “BIGGIE OR TUPAC?!” No. It is so easy to see that both artists were as astounding as each other, both fantastic poets who could make you really feel what they were saying. They made you feel part of the stories they were telling. They were so much more than Hip Hop artists, but the media, as ever just labelled them as thugs. The opening line, “When I die, fuck it I wanna go to hell. ‘Cause I’m a piece of shit, it ain’t hard to fuckin’ tell” The harsh feel of self loathing in this line is painful, the brutal honesty just takes you back. You can’t help but think, “How can someone feel so low?” Quite easily, sadly. This line is nothing compared to the rest of the song. Suicidal Thoughts is just brilliantly dark. It keeps you on edge; if you aren’t left feeling tense after listening to this you probably don’t have a soul. Certain lines make you squirm because the honesty hits you so hard. The whole song is one big dramatic build up. It doesn’t read like a suicide note. If you read the lyrics, you just get a sense of what goes in someone’s mind when they feel so low. He states that the mother of children would be glad he was dead, no one would miss him. It’s horrific that a person could feel like that, but it happens. The song is a phone call between Biggie and a friend. The end of the track ends with the line, “Matter of fact, I’m sick of talkin’” followed by a gunshot. Then his friend calls out for him. I swear, if this doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable then something is up with you. It’s a difficult song to listen to- you could be the happiest person in the Universe, but this song will destroy your happiness for a while after hearing it. It’s so deep, so harsh.
The song I want to finish this on is on a different level of beauty and perfection. The artist is easily one of the greatest artists ever. I remember when I first heard this song, I just cried. I cried because it was so frail, haunting and accurate. I know I said at the start that death should not be feared, but a level of uncertainty should be kept and questioned. We need to question what happens to keep us going, and to ease the fear. The song is of course, Hope There’s Someone by Antony And The Johnsons. This isn’t a song you just casually play in the background whilst cooking your dinner, oh no. This isn’t a song you play whilst getting ready to go out. This is a song you play by yourself when you just feel something that is beyond words. I don’t listen to it often because it just crushes me more than any other song. The whole song is just fear and uncertainty, but there’s one part of the song that just sums up what every single person must feel as they approach death. Whether they know it is going to happen or not, this line must be something similar to what they feel: “Oh I’m scared of the middle place, between light and nowhere. I don’t want to be the oneleft in there, left in there.” I think that is exactly how someone must feel as the end approaches. The piano build up in this song feels like the person leaving the world in body, becoming free. Flying away from this life and into the next. It is so euphoric. This is the kind of song you listen to with your eyes shut, and as you open them- the tears just fall. Antony’s voice is so beautiful on this song, his voice trembles and you can feel his fear. “Hope there’s someone who’ll take care of me. When I die.” We all want someone to meet us on the other side. I’d love it if John Peel and Lester Bangs greeted me on the other side with records and a cup of tea. The way Antony sings that line just makes you want to cradle him, and tell him that someone will be there; that he has nothing to fear. But can we be so sure? Personally, I believe there is someone.
So there you have it, probably the most morbid thing I will ever write. Thing is, I enjoyed writing this more than previous articles. I know there are so many songs that touch on the subject of death and dying. I just picked the ones that I feel portray the subject in such grand ways; whether it be intense or just heartbreaking. Like I said at the start, it’s something we go through alone. However, music again just proves that we are never alone with how we feel. Remember, it is okay to be scared and unsure; but do not focus on it. Make the most of what you have, for when it is over; it is only over in this lifetime. You can start over again in the next one.