How Soon Is Now?

By N Mark Castro

The punk subculture is a diverse array of ideologies, and forms of expression, including fashion, visual art, dance, literature, and film, which grew out of punk rock. Punk is largely characterized by a concern for individual freedom and anti-establishment views.

There is no illness that can infect a human mind far worse than any bacteria or virus put together than an idea … especially an idea whose time has come

And this was the idea that was given birth during my youth. We suffered as victims to its fashion, yet its cause became our passion, long before globalization was a hip term.

You can imagine my surprise when my 21 year old assistant said that she would attend a punk rock concert, with such an air sub-culture, as she became equally surprised when I took interest and asked about the group here.

She could not believe I have heard of punk.

Ah, sweet child of mine … if only you knew the music we lived and the life we led.

My assistant — though a female — reminds me so much of my youth: such beauty, such energy, such potential, such youth.

I cannot believe how stupid I was.

But in that brief time travel discussion, I was transported to a time when music defined the very life we could not explain, when being punk meant being alive, when artists were poets, when life was full of innocence.

MOST KIDS today, for instance, deify the music from the famous TV witchcraft-inspired show CHARMED.

The song played on the popular show, HOW SOON IS NOW, was a cover of the band Love Spit Love, which was an offshoot of the 80s band Psychedelic Furs.

What not many people may know is that the song was originally performed by The Smiths, and written by Smiths singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr. And because of the song’s endurance, it has been hailed as “the ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ of the Eighties”.

In here you will find the energy of the group, and the powerful vocals of a man named Morrisey.

MUSIC, LYRICS & POETRY

File:Smithshowsoonisnow.jpgTo disabuse you of the notion that a punk rock song is nothing but a cacophony of noise, you will actually be surprised to learn that the song contains only one verse which is repeated twice, plus a chorus and a bridge. The subject is an individual who cannot find a way to overcome his crippling shyness and find a partner. Two couplets from the song are well known in pop culture, the opening to the verse:

I am the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is criminally vulgar

I am the son and heir, of nothing in particular.

and the chorus:

I am human and I need to be loved

Just like everybody else does

The opening line was adapted from a line in George Eliot‘s novel Middlemarch:

“To be born the son of a Middlemarch manufacturer, and inevitable heir to nothing in particular”

As critics pointed:

The majestic ease of Morrissey’s melancholic vocals are tinted with vitriol, as they move through vistas of misery with plaintive spirals around the pulse of Johnny Marr’s vibrato guitar. The string’s muted strains conjure wistful signs that bridge the schism between crass sentimentality and callous detachment. Each repeated phrase intensifies the hypnotic waves, with results that outflank anything since …

Which is why it isn’t surprising that Rolling Stone included it as among the Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time while being voted as VH1’s TOP LYRICS OF ALL TIME.

WHO IS MORRISSEY?

Hailed as one of the most influential artists of all time, Morrissey has become an active advocate of animal rights and a political critic. He continues to perform, still with the same vocal range that has been described as:

his enduring influence has been ascribed to his wit, the “infinite capacity for interpretation” in his lyrics, and his appeal to the “constant navel gazing, reflection, solipsism” of generations of “disenfranchised youth,” offering unusually intimate “companionship” to broad demographics.

Rolling Stone has named him as one of the greatest singers of all time, and noted that his “rejection of convention” in his vocal style and lyrics is the reason “why he redefined the sound of British rock for the past quarter-century.”

And despite his advanced age, his interpretation of the song that cemented his musical existence has remained the same:

And as he performed the song in Jakarta this year.

So, go ahead, Punk, make my day …

punk

HOW SOON IS NOW

I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir
Of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir
Of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

There’s a club if you’d like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home and you cry
And you want to die

When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
Well when exactly do you mean?
See I’ve already waited too long
And all my hope is gone

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on December 8, 2012, in General, Music and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hey SweetKitten, thanks for liking this post. Really cool evolution of a song and the singer, no?

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