YEAR IN REVIEW
This is what the Defector staff enjoyed listening to in 2022.
The Best Things We Heard In 2022
4:46 PM EST on Dec 28, 2022
“You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby,” by The Smiths
The greatest thing I heard this year was from 1986. I was at an arena show by The Killers in D.C. in October and the support act, Johnny Marr, came out with the headliners for an encore. Marr launched into a tune that wasn’t introduced but whose reverb-y echo jangle was instantly recognizable as something from a time long ago and a place far away—Manchester, actually. The vocal mix was garbled enough where I was sitting that it took me a while to figure out they were playing “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby,” originally recorded and released by Marr’s brilliant and long-defunct former band, The Smiths. Good god, what a band! And what a tune!
I’ve had the song playing almost nonstop through one of my screens or in my head ever since. Any version I can get my ears on, I’ll consume. (Here’s a good cover
from Kirsty MacColl, another under-appreciated ‘80s Britpop artist with oodles of good-as-it-gets singles—top THIS
—whose career was derailed when she was run over by a boat.) But I’ve spent the most time with the original recording by The Smiths, which somehow was never released as a single.
Every listen reminds me of one of the biggest musical mistakes of my life. I’ve always been a concertgoer and have seen just about every act ever wanted to and lots more. But back in the summer of 1985 my friend Will told me he was going downtown to see The Smiths at Warner Theatre and asked if I wanted to go, and I said “Nah!” for no good reason. They stopped touring the next year and broke up, so I never had another chance to see The Smiths and that hurts bad. (As a younger dirtball in 1978, I had also declined ticket offers from my friend Scott for D.C.-area shows by Bob Marley
and the Sex Pistols
, the latter of which was canceled. But I did pay to see Jethro Tull five tours in a row that decade. What was I drinking?)
I looked up the setlist from the 1985 Smiths show
and “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby” wasn’t on it, but hell if every tune they did play in my absence that night ain’t a timeless banger. Maybe my recent Smiths binge is me subconsciously trying to atone for my negligence all those years ago.
Not that obsessing over “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby” has in any way been a grind. More like a godsend! Don’t take my word for it! Listen to the song here
and then here
and then here, even
! Rinse and repeat! How great is that? – Dave McKenna