"'Girlfriend In A Coma' is an AIDS song - Rolling Stone article by Armond White

Discussion in 'General Discussion archive 2017 (read-only)' started by Uncleskinny, Aug 10, 2017.

By Uncleskinny on Aug 10, 2017 at 6:58 PM
  1. Uncleskinny

    Uncleskinny It's all good Premium

    Jun 1, 2000
    On the moors
    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."
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2017
    1. Anonymous
      What kind of revisionist bullshit is this?
    2. Calamine Lotion
      Calamine Lotion
      What is going on with Rolling Stone? They have covered The Smiths more in the past month or so than they did in the previous decade. Isn't there a Young Thug record they can talk about?
      • Funny Funny x 1
    3. Famous when dead
      Famous when dead
      I lost interest in Rolling Stone after that God-awful Boston Bomber cover.
      I've never, in 30+ years, heard the AIDs nonsense they assert.
      As for Disco Dancer: "Girlfriend" is the jaunty coda that follows the longer but no less subtly profound "Death of a Disco Dancer." On that track, the band takes up gay, dance-music subcultures that suffered the phenomenon of sudden bereavement and connects their experience to the stunned mainstream."

      What invented dog shit is this?
      Some journo has looked superficially at the songs and tried to make something out of nothing - twat.

      From STSYL:
      ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ was a further stylistic departure for the group, particularly during its first two takes which accentuated Marr’s jerky rhythmic strokes lending the song an unexpected rocksteady feel. ‘That song came out of mine and Morrissey’s love of Bob & Marcia’s “Young, Gifted And Black”,’ reveals Marr. ‘We both absolutely adored it. So “Girlfriend In A Coma” was trying to capture the spirit of that. If you listen to the string parts on both you can maybe see it.’
      Of all Morrissey’s pop coups d’état, the ability to craft a hit single with the distasteful title ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ was among his most remarkable. The lyrics were an ingenious twist on the classic 60s’ ‘death disc’ scenario, lamenting a hospital-ridden lover after a ghastly accident (as in Ricky Valance’s 1960 number one ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’). In this instance, the anxiety that his injured sweetheart will survive is multiplied by the guilty memories of their bitterest arguments. The first draft had Morrissey divulge ‘there were times when I could have cheerfully strangled her’, then retracting his initial refusal to see his beloved’s critical condition by begging ‘with tears in my eyes, I ask you!’. All too soon, the drama is steered towards its grimmest possible conclusion, with a morbid recitation of The 4 Seasons’ ‘Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye)’ (later a 1975 UK number one for The Bay City Rollers). Chillingly juxtaposed against Marr’s jovial major key backcloth, the curtain falls with Morrissey preparing himself for the dreaded ‘last goodbye’. In what was to be their shortest single ever, the emotional gauntlet of life, hope, guilt, regret and death rattles past the listener in just two minutes and two seconds flat."

      (edit: Leah Betts ref removed - was Mandela Effect as she died long after the song's release - mea culpa).
      Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
      • Like Like x 3
      • Informative Informative x 3
    4. gordyboy9
      bullplop of the highest order.
      • Like Like x 1
    5. Erskine
      I know right?
    6. Anonymous
      Wonder if this is the same person who wrote that best of list
    7. Quando quando quando
      Quando quando quando
      It's all utter bullshit.
      There is nothing, absolutely nothing there in that song relating it to AIDS.
      Not that it matters if it was.
      Could be anything, even an accident for the girlfriend in a coma.
      That's not what the song is about.
      It is really farfetched to come up with this after 30 years.
      Another journo stirring up shit.
      And missing the point.

      It is a great song, again touching a universal feeling many people can relate to as many had a loved one in a hospital and hoping and praying and regretting the time they wished they could strangle that loved one.
      The lyrics are also very funny, the music is upbeat but at the end when he whispers his last goodbyes you know it is also very tragic. And serious as already announced in the first line of the song.
      It is a brilliant short song as only The Smiths could do.
      Everything in life is there, crammed into 2 minutes of pure genius.
      • Like Like x 1
    8. Ketamine Sun
      Ketamine Sun
      glad folks are finally noticing how so called 'journalism' has taken a turn for the worst. Which explains why M can't even stand to breath the same air in a room with these cretins, and so only does interviews through email.
      • Like Like x 3
      • Dislike Dislike x 1
    9. Quando quando quando
      Quando quando quando
      They are not really interested.
      So why should he open up and reveal anything of any worth to them?
      It only happens when a journo is really interested and asks him inspiring questions he feels challenged to answer and confront him with. It is also a game and Moz is good at that.
      I think he IS disappointed about the lack of interest and knowledge about his music and the feedback he gets.
      Fans ask more relevant questions then the journo's as Abrahan proved.

      And it has nothing to do with anything critical he wants to avoid.
      I remember an interview with Paul Morley that was great. It was critical too.
      But he asked the right questions and Moz replied them quite bluntly and direct.
      It is a shame cause back in those days it always was a pleasure and a feel of excitement to know and to read an interview with him as he made it a part of his ambition to make a good interview.
      Now, sadly they destroyed that for him, beginning with that awful NME, The Guardian and whatever, that want to spin his words and damage his reputation, IMHO.
      • Like Like x 2
    10. Calamine Lotion
      Calamine Lotion
      Stop. If you want to believe he isn't inspired by the questions that's fine but Morrissey doesn't need anyone to spin his words to make him look bad.
      • Dislike Dislike x 1
    11. Quando quando quando
      Quando quando quando
      But he was right.
      He never denied he did say that. And he didn't ask them to retract that.
      But that wasn't only in England.
      And now we have to deal with the negative sides of opening the floodgates everywhere.
      Maybe there are some positive sides too as "experts" claim?
      • Like Like x 1
    12. 12" on the slack
      12" on the slack
      It may well be about AIDS. I don't understand the outrage.

      A great song can be about whatever the listener wants it to be about. Great art is open to interpretation.
      Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
      • Like Like x 6
      • Informative Informative x 1
    13. SuedeMoz
      I did a quick skim of the article ... it seems like it's trying to be clever for clever's sake. GIAC could be about someone suffering from AIDS I suppose, but it provided no evidence to back up its dogmatic claims.
    14. 12" on the slack
      12" on the slack
      I think they present a plausible case. There is no evidence that it's about AIDS, in this article or anywhere, just like there is no evidence that it isn't. But the knee-jerk "how dare they suggest something so stupid" reaction is borderline homophobic.
      • Like Like x 1
    15. Uncleskinny
      I'm convinced Disappointed is about a friend with AIDS.
    16. Anonymous
      I don't understand the outrage either. Moz always encouraged listeners to interpret his songs. That's why he is so coy about explaining them.

      Also Armond White is the last person who would insult or simplify Morrissey.

      The one thing he forgot to mention is that the director of the GIAC video, Tim Broad, died of AIDS.
      • Like Like x 2
    17. 12" on the slack
      12" on the slack
      "I'm convinced Disappointed is about a friend with AIDS."

      No need to exaggerate.
      Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
      • Interesting Interesting x 1
    18. Famous when dead
      Famous when dead
      When the song first came out (30 years ago yesterday), there was not a single review, comment, TV spot or similar that linked it to AIDS or the very scary, OTT 'don't die of ignorance' campaigns (launched the same year: 1987) played on a loop on terrestrial TV. There is zero homophobic in reacting negatively to an incorrect assertion being made 30 years after the fact (and I suspect Morrissey at the time would have made it clear if it had such a profound meaning as empathy for AIDS sufferers, but he was busy making new music).
      The article is actually borderline homophobic - "Morrissey opens up pop heterosexual clichés – queers them.." is a very poor choice of words when the disease was attributed to only "queers" at the time. It took quite a while for the world not to view AIDS as a gay only issue and Morrissey certainly wasn't writing some amazingly forward thinking lyrics by making the song about a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend.

      More article bollocks:
      The title 'GIAC is an AIDS song' is a tiny clue to their agenda and is asserting a direct link to AIDS.

      "How a unique alternative-rock tune became the Smiths' most controversial song". - utterly factually incorrect - far more 'scandal' with other songs.

      "...is perhaps the most famous – and most scandalous – of all songs recorded by the Smiths. It's because of that shock, hilarity and scandal..."
      - nope, not the most famous, no real shock or scandal attached and would Moz really write about AIDS with 'hilarity' in mind? - the writer is doing this to link AIDS to something 'scandalous' and 'controversial' for drama more than fact. I remember more people laughing at the title and lyrics when on TOTPs than any links to people dying of AIDS.

      "...the song's terse, subtle elegance goes on to address a worldwide trauma."
      "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." - both direct assertions that it's about AIDS - that is slightly more than an 'interpretation'. More drama added with 'holocaust' (we all know what happened to the last person who used that term!).

      "The realization of suddenly threatened illness and possible death emboldens the seemingly simple, "shocking" subject so that this brief, two-and-a-half minute, song tests the substance of modern living, surviving and grieving during the Plague."
      - Again, overused drama to really hammer home how right the writer is - the song is now about surviving a 'plague'.

      "...describes the condition of a fragmenting society that likely was getting worse: Indifference to AIDS tragedy – which the song reproaches –anticipates the next millennium's extreme political polarization." - Morrissey writing 'I'd rather not get involved' morphs in to this drivel which ends with Morrissey becoming psychic about future world developments...just tripe.
      There is no knee jerking nor outrage about the gay community or a killer disease. The reaction is to the over dramatic garbage and twisted facts. Yes, we can debate fluffy concepts such as 'interpretation' ad nauseum, but songs can actually have ascribed meanings too - the whole tone of this article is definitive not speculative like it should be.
      Living through its release shapes how you think about the record and the RS assertion, I suspect, is completely alien to anyone who bought the record in '87.
      I think this kind of posthumous over examination would garner the same reaction from say Beatles fans if you said 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' was actually a song about a paedophile's desire to offend - yes, the lyrics can have a that interpretation, but it's bloody daft and factually / historically incorrect. People reacting to that type of assertion, much like this article are not doing so because of homophobia - it's simply because it's garbage.

      Not even I read long posts,
      Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
      • Like Like x 1
      • Insightful Insightful x 1
      • Informative Informative x 1
    19. Anonymous

Share This Page