Song of the Day #2,123: ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ – The Smiths

queendeadGiven that my first ever Song of the Day post was about The Smiths, it’s only fitting that they find a spot on this desert island list.

I was surprised to see that, unlike every other song I’ve featured over the past two weeks, I have never written about today’s song. ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ is one of the band’s most beloved songs, a highlight of their best album, The Queen is Dead.

‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ is the quintessential Smiths tune, as jauntily depressing as anything they ever did. It perfectly captures the romantic loneliness of adolescence.

I fell in love with this song during my senior year of high school, when I was living in a friend’s house in order to finish school without changing cities. At one point I was in a bad mood over something and fled the house. These lines played on the stereo and I felt like the song was written just for me: “Driving in your car, oh please don’t drop me home, because it’s not my home, it’s their home, and I’m welcome no more.”

The other lyric that hit me right where I lived was this beautiful description of cowardice winning out over courage: “And in the darkened underpass I thought oh God my chance has come at last, but then a strange fear gripped me and I just couldn’t ask.”

I never was much of a ladies’ man.

[Verse 1]
Take me out tonight
Where there’s music and there’s people
And they’re young and alive
Driving in your car
I never never want to go home
Because I haven’t got one anymore

[Verse 2]
Take me out tonight
Because I want to see people
And I want to see life
Driving in your car
Oh please don’t drop me home
Because it’s not my home
It’s their home
And I’m welcome no more

[Chorus]
And if a double decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well the pleasure
The privilege is mine

[Verse 3]
Take me out tonight
Take me anywhere
I don’t care
I don’t care
I don’t care
And in the darkened underpass
I thought oh God
My chance has come at last
But then a strange fear gripped me
And I just couldn’t ask

[Verse 4]
Take me out tonight
Oh take me anywhere
I don’t care
I don’t care
I don’t care
Driving in your car
I never never want to go home
Because I haven’t got one
Oh I haven’t got one

[Chorus]

[Outro]
There is a light and it never goes out

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,123: ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ – The Smiths

  1. Dana says:

    I’m calling foul on this pick!

    First and foremost, it is more than just “surprising” that you have not featured this purportedly top ten favorite desert island song after posting on 2,122….let me say that again….2,122 songs, including about a dozen other Smiths songs and about a half dozen Morrisey songs.

    Also, and I meant to bring this up earlier, it seems you are blurring two different types of lists here, namely your favorite songs and your “desert island” picks. As Amy pointed out when listing her selections, those two categories will likely feature different songs. The desert island list might include more upbeat songs for Amy simply because she doesn’t want to wallow in the miserable state in which she finds herself, while you presumably would like to wallow away with your melancholy selections. Also, the desert island tunes would more likely feature a representative song from an artist or album you love, which is really what you have been doing with this list so far, rather than simply featuring a single true favorite song that you could stand hearing repeatedly while marooned on that desert island.

    Finally, I want to propose a new desert island rule just in case we both find ourselves stuck on that desert island. We should be able to strike at least one song selection the other makes. This song would be strike one. Oh, and rule 2 is no sexual relations no matter how long we are marooned or how desperate we get!

  2. Clay says:

    Although I know I’ve used both phrases, I’m not looking at this list as either “desert island picks” or “favorite songs.”

    The scenario I’m imagining is that Rolling Stone has invited me to list five (or ten) songs in the magazine’s Guest List column. So I want to pick songs that will say something about me to the readers.

    I’m not considering whether these will be the only songs I ever get to hear again. I just want a batch of songs that captures something about my musical tastes and musical history.

    And I accept your desert island terms, particularly the second one!

    • Dana says:

      Ah, thank you for clarifying. So, with that description of the list in mind, when I make my list, I will try to pick songs that say something about me.

  3. Andrea Katz says:

    Some interesting definitions here. Interesting that your island is so G-rated. 🙂

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