Song of the Day #2,327: ‘Unlovable’ – The Smiths

louderthanbombsI have a great musical memory.

I don’t mean that I can easily recall melodies or lyrics. On the contrary, I butcher the lyrics even to songs I know very well.

I mean that I can vividly remember the experience of hearing certain songs — the time, the place, the people I’m with.

I recall listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket’s ‘Fall Down’ while driving over I-95 on I-595 more than 20 years ago. My girlfriend (and future wife) exclaimed that it was the new single from the band we both loved.

I heard No Doubt’s ‘Sunday Morning’ traveling southbound on I-95 not far from there about a year later. I have no idea why that stuck with me, but it did.

Today’s random SOTD brings up a nice memory from my college days. I was in the apartment of my sister and her boyfriend (and future husband) playing cuts from The Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs for her.

She was reading the lyrics to ‘Unlovable’ while another track, ‘Asleep,’ played. The mournful music combined with these sad lyrics caused her to tear up. This isn’t in itself a significant event, as my sister cries quite easily. On Thanksgiving Day, I described a new Publix commercial to her and drew tears.

What really stands out to me about this memory is that I was playing a Smiths record for two people who are, today, decidedly anti-Smiths. Tears aside, I assume they weren’t all that interested in the music I was playing that day either.

I used to be a lot more proactive in evangelizing my favorite artists. I remember playing tracks from Elvis Costello’s Mighty Like a Rose for my mother. I don’t even like that album very much, and I’m a Costello fanatic… why on earth did I think my mother would go for it?

These days I would never sit somebody down and force feed an album. Maybe I’m afraid of the rejection. I guess this blog is the virtual equivalent.

Oh
I know I’m unloveable
You don’t have to tell me
I don’t have much in my life
But take it, it’s yours
I don’t have much in my life
But take it, it’s yours
Oh

I know I’m unloveable
You don’t have to tell me
Oh, message received
Loud and clear
Loud and clear
I don’t have much in my life
But take it, it’s yours

I know I’m unloveable
You don’t have to tell me
For message received
Loud and clear
Loud and clear
Message received
I don’t have much in my life
But take it, it’s yours

I wear Black on the outside
Cause Black is how I feel on the inside
I wear Black on the outside
Cause Black is how I feel on the inside

And if I seem a little strange
Well, that’s because I am
If I seem a little strange
That’s because I am

But I know that you would like me
If only you could see me
If only you could meet me

Oh
I don’t have much in my life
But take it – it’s yours
I don’t have much in my life
But take it – it’s yours
Mmm
Oh

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,327: ‘Unlovable’ – The Smiths

  1. Dana says:

    It’s funny that you recall playing this for us as I have no recollection of it or Amy tearing up, though, as you point out, the latter is not uncommon. Do you remember what I was doing at the time? Was this the beginning of what has since become my patented Morrisey imitation? Did I express an opinion about the album at the time?

    By the way, I don’t think Amy is quite as anti-Smiths as I am. For me, it’s mostly his voice. Today’s song, for example, is perfectly lovely, but I’m sure I would like it better if sung by someone else.

    In any event, I like that you keep evangelizing music, even if it is now virtually. Some of my favorite artists have come through your evangelizing. I think we should play your parents the new Vampire Weekend album today after lunch, or maybe Road to Ensenada as they don’t seem to know or appreciate the brilliance of Lyle.πŸ˜„

  2. Clay says:

    I believe you were in the room, also weeping openly. πŸ™‚

  3. Amy says:

    While I don’t remember the specific moment you cite, I don’t find it hard to believe. Some of my favorite memories are from the two years we all were in Gainesville together, and many of them surround listening to music, introducing each other (and, yes, sometimes evangelizing) to music, movies, tv shows… good times πŸ™‚

    I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another on The Smiths, though I tend to find most of their songs you feature on the blog to be a bit moodier or more melancholy than I like (which, I recognize, is exactly why you love them so!)

    Meanwhile, I must defend myself regarding that Publix commercial. Your description was poignant as hell!

    Okay… I’m crying… I just found the commercial and watched it for the first time. Here it is:

    Finally, I’m with Dana. Never stop evangelizing. While your recommendations may not always be flawless, they’re always perfect πŸ™‚

  4. Andrea Katz says:

    Had no idea that I’d like The Smiths until I heard this. So I guess you’ve converted me?

  5. pegclifton says:

    I didn’t mind you evangelizing music to me, it was sitting me down to watch Reservoir Dogs that traumatized me πŸ™‚ and yes, I tear up in Publix commercials too

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