Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Please Please Please Let Me Get Get What I Want" /
The Smiths

It's killing me here, knowing that, out in San Francisco this weekend, Nick Lowe and Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner played together for the first time in nearly 20 years, coming just a John Hiatt short of reconvening their old band Little Village. Elvis C made a guest appearance, too. All this happening and me not there? It's killing me. The whole gang of them are playing the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival right about now (some year I seriously have to get out there for that festival), and then Nick's going down to Austin to tape a segment of Austin City Limits. I am so dying here!

And don't even get me started about how much I'd love to fly over to London for a night to see Ray Davies in his new musical, Come Dancing. The show is reported to be simply brilliant, but let's face it, the chances of it ever coming over for a Broadway run are slim-to-none.

But no, here I am stuck in New York cleaning up dog poop and nagging children to do their homework and trying desperately to finish this book I'm writing. Cruel and unusual, that's what I call it.

Well, here's a song that sums up my state of mind. You can always count on the Smiths to deliver a premium neurotic snit when you need one. Morrissey's petulant whiny drawl suits my frame of mind perfectly. It doesn't even really matter whether his affected pose is tongue-in-cheek or not -- I still get a kick out of his fey falsettos and vocal flutters, that sing-songy rehearsal of all his wrongs. "Good times for a change / See, the luck I've had / Can make a good man / Turn bad" and then later "Haven't had a dream in a long time" -- this thing is just drenched in self-pity.

Those dogged repeated "please's" sound so urgent, and yet so unhopeful -- just listen to the chorus: "So please please please / Let me, let me, let me / Let me get what I want / This time. " The kicker is that tacked-on "this time", a rib-jab reminder that every other time, he hasn't gotten what he wants. And just in case you were ever in doubt, he reiterates at the end of the song, "So for once in my life / Let me get what I want / Lord knows, it would be the first time /Lord knows, it would be the first time . . . "

What he wants is, so obviously, sex -- and not just sex, but a particularly furtive, groping, clumsy sort of adolescent sex. It's urgent as hell, but by the time he's done, I'm grinning too much to feel sorry for myself anymore. A dose of rock-and-roll therapy -- that cures me every time.

Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want sample


Uncle E said...

Although I am a big fan of the smiths, I have to admit that I find it difficult to listen to anything but the debut and The Queen is Dead with any frequency. I think this song was used to great effect in Ferris Beulers Day Off. Or was it Pretty In Pink? Ir was it Weird Science? Or was it The Breakfast Club? Or was it...oh forget it...

Natsthename said...

"just a John Hiatt short .."

Best line ever.

And I love this Smiths song. You have impeccable taste!