Thursday, 24 October 2013

Hunt For The Best B-Side: The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?


The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" is definitely one of the obvious choices for our B-side hunt. Where rarities succeed in entertaining the listener without commercially viable content, The Smiths' reverse it. It's an almost intentional 80s indie ideology to trick us in to thinking said song isn't as good as its A-side. The A-side in question happens to be "William, It Was Really Nothing", so Rough Trade can be forgiven. But it's B-side, the third track: "How Soon Is Now?", stood out as the defining musical creation in The Smiths' five year occupation. Forget "This Charming Man", and "Panic" for a moment - "How Soon Is Now?" and what it carries easily pops out as The Smiths' signature song. And that's why it was reeased the following year in 1985 to raptures.


With all brilliant B-sides, theres a popular aspect of it that didnt quite persuade an executive or writer at the time of initial release. "How Soon Is Now?" was never the sound The Smiths portrayed in their musical direction up until its creation, which is why it was held back. It’s Proclaimed to be: "The "Stairway to Heaven" of the Eighties", by Seymour Stein, who of course has his name written in music history both as a label head, but as a fantastic Belle & Sebastian song -who are still asking if he's ever seen Dundee. Yet it’s not the popular figures that make a record a successful one, it's the content. Johnny Marr is credited for creating the phenomenal oscillating guitar riff, one which is instantly recognisable to us all. Then there’s the stereotypical percussion and bass known in The Smiths' three minute single collection. It all amasses together with Morrissey's repeating verse lyrics for just under seven minutes. It's mancunian chauvinism at its prime, before the city erupted with two Gallagher’s. "How Soon Is Now?" tells the autobiographical story of an icon searching for love, searching for admiration; with crumbling, depressing effects: "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."
~Eddie Gibson

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