I’m jealous of Phil Adams (and whoever the other “half” of A Longing Look is). I wish I’d invented the “love letters to lyrics” format…
The songs of The Smiths are beautifully orchestrated. The music is uncommonly crisp and keen and acute. Listening to The Smiths is like the heightened sense of lucidity after a bout of illness. Your senses, temporarily dulled by infection, compensate by temporarily working overtime. You feel light-headed. Everything is ultra-bright, super-saturated and high-contrast.
Of course the highest contrast of all is that between the music and the lyrics. Lyrical dissonance was not a creative device for The Smiths, it was a strategy.
How Soon Is Now is an exception to the dissonant rule. It is a portentous song and its lyrics and orchestration are perfectly aligned, pushing and pulling in the same ominous direction.
I like to think that the opening lines of How Soon Is Now are a joke at our expense. We are meant to hear “I am the sun and the air”. I am elemental. I am a force of nature. Morrissey over-compensating for his wallflower tendencies with bombast. He knew he would be pulling most people’s plonkers. I’m not ashamed to say that he had me for a while.
“I am the son
“And the heir…”