The Smiths – Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now 12”
Rough Trade, 1984
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2009
“In my life, why do I give valuable time/ To people who don't care if I live or die,” Morrissey sings on one of the Smiths all-time Top 5 jams. It's a question I've been pondering, especially after randomly listening to the This American Life episode “Frenemies.” The whole show asks the question: Why do we keep around people who we either don't like or who are not really our friends. This song broaches the same subject and asks: What's the point of faking it? At the same time, the song also seems to be about drunkenly hooking up with someone and regretting it or feeling the repercussions for reading into it. It's just the ultimate sad bastard anthem, and I love it. And I also love a band that releases its best songs on singles. New Order did the same thing, maybe it's an 80s thing. Now it's unheard of, or the single is turned into an EP. It's as if the song is too GOOD to work on an album, it's so great it works just fine on its own. “Girl Afraid” is on the b-side (along with the pretty good but a little maudlin and too serious “Suffer Little Children” (it's based on some children who were murdered)) and is sort of the ideal b-side. That is, it's a song that could easily be it's own single but is just slightly not as good as the tune on the A-side. It's also a little too short, but that's what I love about it. Short and sweet, and catchy as hell. I really, really shouldn't have bought this. At the time, a few months ago, $8 was a pretty penny but I couldn't resist! The kitchen-sink realism-esque cover art was just too perfect. I saw it as a sleeve I could put in one of those record cover frames. And really, listening to it now I think it might have been worth it. Why not?