The Smiths: The Open Secret of 'Girlfriend in a Coma' - Rolling Stone
How a unique alternative-rock tune became the Smiths' most controversial song
By Armond White
"It's a new kind of love song, stranger – and more strangely affecting – than most because it zeroes in on the complex vagaries of love: Love equal to friendship; friendship equal to love. This understanding of human relations is more advanced than everyday pop. Morrissey opens up pop heterosexual clichés – queers them – with an open mind and kind-heartedness that reveals the song's true meaning, its open secret. Girlfriend in a Coma" is an AIDS song. It's a response to the crisis that took the lives and broke the hearts of so many friends and lovers – the holocaust of the 1980s. In contradistinction to Elvis Costello's notion that Morrissey could not complete an introductory thought, the song's terse, subtle elegance goes on to address a worldwide trauma."