Reinterpreting Hand in Glove

Qvist

Active Member
I'm not suggesting that this is the way to read Hand in Glove, but it struck me the other day while listening to it that it actually makes a lot of sense if you take it not just as a declaration of defiant love, but as a sort of manifesto of musical and artistic intent - a program declaration for the Smiths and the establishment of a sense of rapport with their (presumed) audience.

Hand in glove
the sun shines out of our behinds

No, it's NOT like any other love
this one is different
because it's us!


Confidence, certitude of being different and better, a unique band collective or the assertion of a unique connection to fans (that is still not at this time reality)

Hand in glove
we can go wherever we please
and everything depends upon
how near you stand to me

Confidence that they can go far, and that the closeness of the working relationship with Marr is the key - or an invocation and underlining of the intent to make music that is deeply personal and demands a willingness of the listener to enter deeply into it?

And if the people stare
then, the people stare
I really don't know
and I really don't care
Kiss my shades...

Hand in glove
the Good People laugh

Defiance, defiance, defiance - pride in being different.

Yes, we may be hidden by "rags"
but we have something they'll never have

This was actually the line that sparked off the whole reflection, because it works so well so literally - the notoriously underdressed Smiths with their whole anti-80s-glamour attitude and indeed with something they'll never have...Also, again swaggering confidence in their music and their whole artistic project

So hand in glove I stake my claim
I'll fight to the last breath

Isn't "I stake my claim" a pretty good summation of HIG as a release, a first single? Morrissey's one big chance at escaping a life of desperate drudgery, with all the desperate determination that entails.

If they dare touch a hair on your head
I'll fight to the last breath

For The Good Life is out there, somewhere
So stay on my arm, you little charmer

This is where it starts to get a bit strained, of course. Unless you want to rationalise it as a declaration of firm internal band loyalty, or an invitation to listeners to come along and approach their art and music with the same furious passion, and an assurance that that furious passion is also in some sense directed at the well-being of those who partake of the music, standing up for them and leading them on to better things.

But I know my luck too well
yes, I know my luck too well
and I'll probably never see you again
I'll probably never see you again
I'll probably never see you again

Which you would have to see as the inevitable Morrisseyesque destabiliser that seemingly overturns what went before, a slip into desperation. That much goes for any general interpretation of the song, really.

Kinda works, doesn't it? I thought listening to it in that way rather added to its potency. Whether it tries to or not, it does seem to sum up the key elements of the Smiths at their most combative and ambitious.

cheers
 

Eraserhead

Accept Myself
Yes. I suppose it is Morrissey's call for unison, to make the dream real. Many of his lyrics seem self-reflexive and Hand in glove is probably the ultimate example of this. The determination of the self-fulfilling prophecy.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I've always thought the song was fairly clear but maybe it gains more meaning in retrospect, knowing the band's history and being able to go back to the very beginning where it all started. I read "Hand in Glove" as being about his immense pride in / love for Marr and their songwriting, i.e "The Smiths".
 

Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
^ ^

That's what makes Morrissey a genius, isn't it? :)

Morrissey packs more emotional ambiguity and universal meaning into one song than many can muster in a lifetime.

Paul Weller never threw me for a loop. :D
 

JD93

New Member
you're right, I think Morrissey often deliberately uses language to suggest a statement of intent, infused with the romance of gang mentality.

"It's time the tale were told"

"And if they don't believe us now, will they ever believe us..?"

"A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours"

"Every second of my life I have lived only for you,
And you can shoot me
And you can throw me off a train
I still maintain: Life is a pigsty."

"You hiss and groan and you constantly moan
But you don't ever go away
Because all you need is me
...You're gonna miss me when I'm gone"

"Nobody Loves Us", "There's a place in Hell for me and my friends", "I don't mind if you forget me"...
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
I'm not suggesting that this is the way to read Hand in Glove, but it struck me the other day while listening to it that it actually makes a lot of sense if you take it not just as a declaration of defiant love, but as a sort of manifesto of musical and artistic intent - a program declaration for the Smiths and the establishment of a sense of rapport with their (presumed) audience.

Excellent job of interpretation. I don't doubt you're correct. I've always listened to the song in this way. I cheated, however, because I recall reading a few early Smiths interviews in which Morrissey more or less cast the song as the band's manifesto. :)

Anaesthesine said:
Paul Weller never threw me for a loop.

Am I the only one then...? :confused:

Going Underground, Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, Boy About Town, Ghosts, Just Who Is The Five O'Clock Hero?, Start, That's Entertainment, Strange Town, Away From The Numbers, Little Boy Soldiers, Pretty Green, Absolute Beginners, The Eton Rifles, Dreams of Children, Girl On The Phone, Town Called Malice, In The City, Wasteland, But I'm Different Now, The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow), Beat Surrender...

Edit: And this little number, which to my ears is as good as anything Morrissey's written in the last 20 years.

 
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CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
I think your interpretation is insanity and I'm putting this thread on ignore. :p

(Kidding. Though I don't agree pride was the driving force of their defiance, but something more like valor.)
 

Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
Am I the only one then...? :confused:

Going Underground, Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, Boy About Town, Ghosts, Just Who Is The Five O'Clock Hero?, Start, That's Entertainment, Strange Town, Away From The Numbers, Little Boy Soldiers, Pretty Green, Absolute Beginners, The Eton Rifles, Dreams of Children, Girl On The Phone, Town Called Malice, In The City, Wasteland, But I'm Different Now, The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow), Beat Surrender...

Edit: And this little number, which to my ears is as good as anything Morrissey's written in the last 20 years.


Ah, but I didn't say that Weller wasn't as good a craftsman as Morrissey - he may be a better one. as I said in the other thread, Weller is edifying - he's a great, great songwriter. Morrissey, he's the one that mystifies me, that whispers in my ear and makes me wonder how he could possibly have known...
 
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Wozzer

New Member
Edit: And this little number, which to my ears is as good as anything Morrissey's written in the last 20 years.


If Morrissey ever released something as mundane (lyric-wise at least) as this Weller piece, people really would accuse him of losing the plot. This probably belongs in the Weller vs Morrissey- dispute but let it be known: Morrissey operates on a completely different level when it comes to talent and character.
 
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murder and desire

Junior Member
I'm not suggesting that this is the way to read Hand in Glove, but it struck me the other day while listening to it that it actually makes a lot of sense if you take it not just as a declaration of defiant love, but as a sort of manifesto of musical and artistic intent - a program declaration for the Smiths and the establishment of a sense of rapport with their (presumed) audience.

Hand in glove
the sun shines out of our behinds

No, it's NOT like any other love
this one is different
because it's us!


Confidence, certitude of being different and better, a unique band collective or the assertion of a unique connection to fans (that is still not at this time reality)



Confidence that they can go far, and that the closeness of the working relationship with Marr is the key - or an invocation and underlining of the intent to make music that is deeply personal and demands a willingness of the listener to enter deeply into it?



Defiance, defiance, defiance - pride in being different.



This was actually the line that sparked off the whole reflection, because it works so well so literally - the notoriously underdressed Smiths with their whole anti-80s-glamour attitude and indeed with something they'll never have...Also, again swaggering confidence in their music and their whole artistic project



Isn't "I stake my claim" a pretty good summation of HIG as a release, a first single? Morrissey's one big chance at escaping a life of desperate drudgery, with all the desperate determination that entails.



This is where it starts to get a bit strained, of course. Unless you want to rationalise it as a declaration of firm internal band loyalty, or an invitation to listeners to come along and approach their art and music with the same furious passion, and an assurance that that furious passion is also in some sense directed at the well-being of those who partake of the music, standing up for them and leading them on to better things.



Which you would have to see as the inevitable Morrisseyesque destabiliser that seemingly overturns what went before, a slip into desperation. That much goes for any general interpretation of the song, really.

Kinda works, doesn't it? I thought listening to it in that way rather added to its potency. Whether it tries to or not, it does seem to sum up the key elements of the Smiths at their most combative and ambitious.

cheers

I always thought this was the obvious second reading, it's called a statement of intent.
 
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