This a tribute to Nick Hornby’s “Songbook”.
As a requisite to both literary and music culture studies, this book has been reviewed by countless enthusiasts since its release. I’m not going to talk about it, instead I’m going to make my own version of it. But I must say, if you haven’t read it yet, you might want to get your hands on it after you read this blog.
Just like Nick Hornby’s book, this blog is also dedicated to all the people who sent me new music to listen to.
When The Camerawalls went to Iloilo for a show at the Mellow Mangrove, I had the pleasure and privilege of actually meeting them. While we were walking from the venue to their hotel, I remember talking to Clem Castro, the vocalist, about The Smiths. My question has now been vagued by the two years that has passed, but his answer is still vivid, “baka dahil sa 500 Days of Summer yan” or something along those lines. But his point was the film introduced The Smiths to a wider audience, especially to people my age. He was right, well, partly. I met The Smiths because of Frank Turner’s “Reason Not To Be An Idiot”, few Londoner online friends and yes, 500 Days of Summer.
“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” is morbidly romantic. And for a person who romanticize everything including death, I found the honesty of Morrissey’s lyrics mesmerizing. The song starts off pleading, it climaxed to frustration and everything falls into an emotional dive with Moz sincerely repeating the line “I don’t care. I don’t care.” All happening to Johnny Marr’s gloomy but oddly blissful arrangement.
This song is self torture. It drains you with all the emotional pain you have/must go through. And strangely, it is comforting. I remember one Saturday night, when lightning and thunder seemed to be chasing each other while the rain plays referee for them, I experienced the song in all of his glorious sadness. The pain of wanting to go to a place “where there’s music, and there’s people and they’re young and alive” is so strong it is almost physical. I played the song countless time, till I could only hear Morrissey’s agony and not mine. It eventually dissolved all the pain.
I have since developed the habit of sitting at home and listening to The Smiths, just like the girl in that Frank Turner song.
I have dreamed of walking into a pub and being welcomed by a Scottish indie- folk band this singing this song. Sometimes when I ardently think of it, the image of Scott Hutchison unfolds in front of my eyes. And he’s singing “”would you be good enough to take me home”.
The song is like a dreamscape that switches layers with each verse. Scott Hutchison has explained that the idea of the song came to him in his dream and it is amazing how he was able to transport his listeners to that dream.
When my friend Joy broke up with her long time boyfriend, we went to bars from night to night seeking comfort in bottles of beer and endless conversations. We went to a bar where they allow us to play the songs we want, when this song came up, the air cleared out like a blanket slipping off from a bed. And slowly I woke up to dream, I’m here just because every one else has come just to be seen. A part of me suddenly wanted to go home. But that place with colorful lights dancing to people’s mocking laughter oddly feels like home. It was like I was with them but I wasn’t there.
Fuck that place.
(to be continued…)