Song of the Day #1,548: ‘Asleep’ – The Smiths

I’m interrupting this weekend’s random selection for a last-minute movie review/song appreciation.

I just got in from seeing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a lovely adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 novel (Chbosky wrote the screenplay and directed the film himself). The movie contains several references to the song ‘Asleep’ by The Smiths — the closing track of their 1987 singles compilation Louder Than Bombs.

The Smiths get trashed on this blog quite a bit (by my readers, not me) so I wanted to call attention to the spectacular case Wallflower makes for their impact and importance, particularly in adolescence.

The band is very present in this movie, in the soundtrack and dialogue and on the bedroom walls of the main characters — walls filled with posters and album covers, allowing the teenage protagonists to expose their minds and souls by exposing the things they identify with and adore. That’s what we had before we had Pinterest.

The movie is set in 1991, a year after I graduated from high school, so it feels very familiar. At one point the characters hear a song on the radio that they love but can’t identify… a quaint reminder of a time when every answer wasn’t a quick Shazam app or Google search away.

One of the nicest touches of Wallflower is how right it gets the importance of music to adolescence. Shared musical taste is as important to a true friendship as just about anything else. Mix tapes are exchanged in lieu of love letters. A song can change your life, or at least momentarily define it.

This film should be deep and meaningful for teenagers the way Garden State was deep and meaningful for 20-somethings. I don’t mean that in a bad way… that’s what it’s aiming to be. A wizened old almost-40 year-old like me isn’t going to identify with it on a molecular level the way a 16 year-old will.

That said, the movie did find the molecule within me that remembers being 16, having strange friends with real problems, experiencing moments that felt like seismic shifts in my life.

And in the film’s beautiful final moments, a bit of narration hit home for me very directly, quickening my pulse and bringing tears to my eyes. They say a great ending can make any movie great. I buy that.

I realize I haven’t said a word about the plot or characters… this isn’t that kind of review. Suffice it to say that I heartily recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Especially if you’re a Smiths fan.

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I’m tired and I
I want to go to bed

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don’t try to wake me in the morning
‘Cause I will be gone
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

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I don’t want to wake up
On my own anymore

Sing to me
Sing to me
I don’t want to wake up
On my own anymore

Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I really want to go

There is another world
There is a better world
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well…

Bye bye
Bye bye
Bye…

About these ads

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,548: ‘Asleep’ – The Smiths

  1. Dana says:

    So could I like the movie despite being a Smiths detractor? And for what it’s worth, my dislike mostly centers on the voice. This song is perfectly lovely, but I would enjoy it more sung by someone else.

  2. Clay says:

    Yes, I think a Smiths detractor can like this movie (though probably slightly less than a Smiths fan).

  3. pegclifton says:

    I would love to see this movie just to hear the ending that brought tears to your eyes :) Also, Ezra Smith, one of the stars, is the grandson of a friend of ours right here in Middlebury, and I think a wonderful actor

  4. Clay says:

    Yes, he’s a great actor. I didn’t see him in the Tilda Swinton movie but I hear he was wonderful, and he’s excellent here in a completely different role.

  5. pegclifton says:

    and he was wonderful in “City Island”, if you haven’t seen it, rent it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s