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Song Analysis - How Soon Is Now?

  • Date Submitted: 10/15/2013 10:11 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.1 
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Haydn Schoonover
Green 2
Mr. Cohen/Mr. Anderson
April 10th, 2013

How Soon is Now? The Smiths (Morrissey/Johnny Marr)

Many people believe that the song How Soon is Now? is about the struggles of being gay and the initial confusion of that, but the song How Soon is Now? written by Morrissey in the mid-80’s, is a somber, somewhat terrifying song, accurately detailing the struggles with social anxiety, depression and loneliness among young people, Morrissey specifically.   The song makes a convincing and valid justification for social anxiety being a legitimate worry among people, especially teenagers. The song can be taken in a linear fashion, as well as a broad, complex song with intricate melodies and lyrics.   The opening lyrics are evidence of my case. The song starts out as very simple but has a very obvious message:
I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar

These lines explain that Morrissey has built up years and years of anxiety, built around people beating him down, verbally. He is basically the product of his own shyness. In several interviews, Morrissey explains his struggles with kids at his secondary school, describing himself in his teenage years as a “teenage back-bedroom causality, sitting in my bedroom, writing furiously with a bottle of pills in my hand”. Despite that, he has stated in the past that his athleticism saved him from the majority of his high school bullying.

The heavy “whirr” of the oscillating guitar chords really sets the mood for the song. It’s like something you’d play at a nightclub, filled with lonely, intoxicated souls, wanting to dance, but were afraid to.

The next jumble of lyrics is one of the most important messages in the entire song:

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

These lyrics are the defense and response to people who bring Morrissey down for having anxiety. He is telling...


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