Our song for today is this one, one of the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of WPINOYB.
What do we think?
Really enjoyed this analysis of the lyrics!For me, the lyrics raise it to a different level in comparison to the other soft, pleasing ballads from more recent years, like Blue Dreamers Eyes.
It does feel very autobiographical and the fact that it's never been played live might suggest a deep emotional connection.
I personally think he's not only asking other people to 'forgive' but also advising himself to do the same. I always thought that each verse is about a different period in his life and perhaps a certain person he'd wish to be able to forgive and be forgiven by.
The first verse seems to be about someone he had intense arguments with, who's very stubborn. Could be anyone of course but he's ready to run back to them in an instant, so it must be someone he felt very close to. An ex partner or close friend perhaps.
The lines "Betray you with a word/I would slit my own throat first of all" remind me of similar overdramatic statements from earlier songs of his:
"I would lose both of my legs
If it meant you could be free"
"If they dare touch a hair on your head
I'll fight to the last breath"
"Heavy words are so lightly thrown
But still I'd leap in front of a flying bullet for you"
The second verse very blatantly sets the scene, it gives us a time ("when I was still ill") and a rough idea of place ("the black peat of the hills"). To me there's never been a doubt that this verse is about The Smiths and Marr in particular. Others will disagree of course but as Flibberty has mentioned there are some parallels to Autobiography in this lyric and I think it's possible that he wrote this while finishing the book. I don't think it's unlikely that revisiting all those memories could lead to him reflecting on one of the most important rifts of his life. It was messy and in a way The Smiths is where everything began...
"See this mess and forgive someone
And then recall if you can
How all this even began"
The last verse takes us back even further, to his youth. Eleven words is all it takes him to set the scene here "Shorts and supports and faulty shower heads/At track and field". Morrissey used to be a runner and this last verse seems to be about a fellow student. Someone he fancies but who teases him about it. "In the bleachers you sit with your legs spread/Smiling/Here's one thing you'll never have". A fling that never was, perhaps.
In Autobiography he mentions a boy (Pete Gregg), "the star of the fifth year sports",
who he seems to physically admire, the last verse might be about him or not. We'll never know, because "Our truth will die with me".
To finish my rambling, I think the lyric is brilliant. I disagree that it should have been on the proper album though. I like it better than most of the album tracks but it doesn't fit the concept of World Peace. For better or worse, the musical and lyrical style that dominates on that album was a conscious choice and there's no room for this personal, nostalgic gem, which I adore deeply.
A delightful little song. The cheap synths almost ruin it, but somehow they fail to.
Maybe my fave of the World Peace-extra tracks.
The cheap synths are so noticable I wonder if it's a deliberate echo of something?
It's like ironic retro/sincere torch song. Makes me think of plays like The Entertainer or Little Voice - the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd.