“How Soon is Now?” was written by The Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr and singer Morrissey.
Marr’s haunting, tremolo and sliding guitar part prepares the perfect sonic atmosphere for Morrissey’s angst-ridden lyrics.
“I am the song and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar,” the singer croons to his listeners.
Upon the band’s break-up, writer Simon Reynolds named this dark tone as the key element that made the band so appealing:
“Why were The Smiths ‘important’? Because of their misery….The Smiths finest moments - ‘Hand in Glove,’ ‘How Soon is Now?’, ‘Still Ill’, ‘I Know Its Over’ - were moments of reproachful, avenging misery, naked desperation, unbearable reverence - free from the ‘saving grace’ of quips and camp self-consciousness.
If there was laughter it was black, scornful scathing….they were like those gauche youths who turn up to house parties only to cling to the dark corners in...