The Smiths are a punk-pop English group regarded as one of the most important acts to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. As I mentioned in my post about lead singer Morrissey’s song Everyday is Like Sunday, I came to their music late in my musical journey. I’m relieved I did, but it’s unfortunate I didn’t learn to appreciate them in my adolescence when they came onto the scene.
Today’s track Girlfriend in a Coma is musically one of their more mainstream and catchy tunes, but the lyrics are morbidly twisted. The narrator describes his conflicting feelings: “There were times when I could have murdered her/But you know I would hate anything to happen to her“). He says he does not want to see her then says he does.
The song received little airplay although reaching No 13 on the UK charts from the band’s fourth and final studio album, Strangeways, Here We Come. Morrissey later said, “You’re not really supposed to like those songs. They’re very depressing and not supposed to be played on radio.“
RollingStone reported in this article of the shock, hilarity and scandal that the song deserves celebration on the 30th anniversary of its August 10th, 1987 release. They stated that Morrissey ‘pretended to offend the tradition of conventional pop song subject matter‘.
To be honest, I don’t know when The Smith’s music didn’t try to offend the tradition of conventional music. They further added – he ‘won pop star status for romanticizing unconventional, misunderstood passions. His songs for the Smiths were trailblazing inspiration for the acceptance of social perspectives and emotional sensitivity that cool hipster rock had forbidden‘.