Lyrics to Smiler With Knife

Emil

A Burnt Child
Anyone else who thinks that the lyrics to Smiler with knife may be the best thing Morrissey has ever written? Both the form and content of it is nearly perfect. It is the first real or "classic" poem he has written with both rhymed verse and a metre (the first in his œuvre?). Most of the lines contains 7 syllables (though admittedy not all) and it is not being sung but recited.

And the lyrics are really complex with lots of double meanings and sexual innuendo. I think it's quite clear that the lyrics describes a sexual encounter between two men. But it is quite impossible to decide if it is a one-off meeting between a rent boy and Smiler and all the guilt that goes with it or if it's a crime passionnel where Smiler actually kills his lover boy. Is the death just a metaphor for orgasm or is it literal? I think this is one of the most complex and interesting things Morrissey has ever written. The more one thinks about the lyrics the more complex they become. Morrissey has really found new heights as a lyricist in this song (as well as in Mountjoy).

See in me the side of you
That sometimes makes you jump with fright
Smiler with knife it's your big night

Sinking bed, all warm and clean
Only sadness waits for me
Smiler with knife you're just in time
You're just in time

Press the blade against my skin
Never to make love again
Smiler with knife it's alright

Surrendered will I am before you
I am sick to death of life
Smiler with knife, alight
Alight

If such things weren't meant to be
Then they would never come to me
Smiler, oh, don't worry so

Slam-in one-shot gentle pain
Someone calling out my name
Sex and love are not the same
Are not the same

Time has frittered long and slow
All I am and was will go
But where to?
And why now?

When my last breath falls away
Smiler trust me when I say
You'll be OK
You'll be OK
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Anyone else who thinks that the lyrics to Smiler with knife may be the best thing Morrissey has ever written? Both the form and content of it is nearly perfect. It is the first real or "classic" poem he has written with both rhymed verse and a metre (the first in his œuvre?). Most of the lines contains 7 syllables (though admittedy not all) and it is not being sung but recited.

And the lyrics are really complex with lots of double meanings and sexual innuendo. I think it's quite clear that the lyrics describes a sexual encounter between two men. But it is quite impossible to decide if it is a one-off meeting between a rent boy and Smiler and all the guilt that goes with it or if it's a crime passionnel where Smiler actually kills his lover boy. Is the death just a metaphor for orgasm or is it literal? I think this is one of the most complex and interesting things Morrissey has ever written. The more one thinks about the lyrics the more complex they become. Morrissey has really found new heights as a lyricist in this song (as well as in Mountjoy).

See in me the side of you
That sometimes makes you jump with fright
Smiler with knife it's your big night

Sinking bed, all warm and clean
Only sadness waits for me
Smiler with knife you're just in time
You're just in time

Press the blade against my skin
Never to make love again
Smiler with knife it's alright

Surrender will I am before you
I am sick to death of life
Smiler with knife, alight
Alight

If such things weren't meant to be
Then they would never come to me
Smiler, oh, don't worry so

Slam-in one-shot gentle pain
Someone calling out my name
Sex and love are not the same
Are not the same

Time has frittered long and slow
All I am and was will go
But where to?
And why now?

When my last breath falls away
Smiler trust me when I say
You'll be OK
You'll be OK
I absolutely love smiler with knife. And I agree - it's a great poem and, as with is best work , it's open to interpretation. I like some if your ideas, by the way. The line "sex and love is not the same", gets me. Maybe he can't/ didn't find love and sex is all that is left and so he feels a certain guilt when indulging ? Who knows :)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I had heard it was about rape.
Who knows, indeed.
Would be nice to hear Morrissey's thoughts.
 

Emil

A Burnt Child
I absolutely love smiler with knife. And I agree - it's a great poem and, as with is best work , it's open to interpretation. I like some if your ideas, by the way. The line "sex and love is not the same", gets me. Maybe he can't/ didn't find love and sex is all that is left and so he feels a certain guilt when indulging ? Who knows :)
I really think the guilt is due to the homosexual urges that Smiler feels. See in me the side of you/That sometimes makes you jump with fright. What is it that makes him jump with fright? It may very well be his homosexual urges. If such things weren't meant to be/Then they would never come to me. What wasn't meant to be? Sex between men? But still they all come to the narrator. And are these feelings of guilt the reason why Smiler kills his rent boy or lover? If a murder indeed does take place. The lyrics are full of different ways of interpreting them.
 

bhops

Last of the famous international screw ups.
Damon was a barber right? Specialized in razor shaves? Makes me think of Moz getting a close ahem 'shave' from him, LOL.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Surely it's 'Sink in bed' and 'Surrendered will, i am before you' ?
 

hand in glove

40 percent papier mache
Subscriber
I think the song is based on the book The Smiler with the Knife by Nicholas Blake (C. Day-Lewis, 1939) The main character in the series of books is Nigel Strangeways and his wife is Georgia. In TSWTK, Georgia takes lead and is the heroine. Her job was to seek out and take down a right-wing conspiracy. She ingratiates herself with the conspirators, discovers the identity of its leadership (Lord Chilton Canteloe) and the details of the conspiracy. Throughout the story she dances in shadows until the final showdown. I believe "Smiler" is a woman (Georgia) and the narrator of this song is Lord Chilton Canteloe. When all is said and done, Georgia says, "‘I’m safe, I’m safe, I’m safe! I’d forgotten what the word “safety” meant. We’re all safe, all the decent, ordinary, hard-working people, the people who make England…’"

Yes, it's completely open to interpretation. For me, it's something totally different, but I really believe this is the foundation on which the song was built. Why does it always have to be homosexual? Why can't a woman be his killer?

I agree this is one of the best songs Morrissey has ever written, by the way, and it's definitely my favorite song on the album.
 
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CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
I think the song is based on the book The Smiler with the Knife by Nicholas Blake (C. Day-Lewis, 1939) The main character in the series of books is Nigel Strangeways and his wife is Georgia. In TSWTK, Georgia takes lead and is the heroine. Her job was to seek out and take down a right-wing conspiracy. She ingratiates herself with the conspirators, discovers the identity of its leadership (Lord Chilton Canteloe) and the details of the conspiracy. Throughout the story she dances in shadows until the final showdown. I believe "Smiler" is a woman (Georgia) and the narrator of this song is Lord Chilton Canteloe.

Yes, it's completely open to interpretation. For me, it's something totally different, but I really believe this is the foundation on which the song was built. Why does it always have to be homosexual? Why can't a woman be his killer?

I agree this is one of the best songs Morrissey has ever written, by the way, and it's definitely my favorite song on the album.
Well done. I think the "Morrissey has gay shame" theory can be shelved along with the "Morrissey only drinks tea and reads Oscar Wilde" theory and next to the "Morrissey's heart was broken by Johnny Marr so they will inevitably reunite" theory.
 

hand in glove

40 percent papier mache
Subscriber
Well done. I think the "Morrissey has gay shame" theory can be shelved along with the "Morrissey only drinks tea and reads Oscar Wilde" theory and next to the "Morrissey's heart was broken by Johnny Marr so they will inevitably reunite" theory.
I agree wholeheartedly. I do not believe for an instance that Morrissey is ashamed of homosexuality; nor do I believe that he feels any guilt from past/present relationships. People see Morrissey purely in black and white. They forget to delve further into the grey shadows that make up the man we love. The man who can create such astonishing works of poetry.
 

CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
I agree wholeheartedly. I do not believe for an instance that Morrissey is ashamed of homosexuality; nor do I believe that he feels any guilt from past/present relationships. People see Morrissey purely in black and white. They forget to delve further into the grey shadows that make up the man we love. The man who can create such astonishing works of poetry.
Because of this I've been barely skimming the first paragraph of reviews and skipping posts about the songs altogether...until I hear the album which I'm thinking about pushing up to tomorrow the love for it is driving me crazy to hear it! :D No, I'll hold out.
 

Emil

A Burnt Child
Yes, it's completely open to interpretation. For me, it's something totally different, but I really believe this is the foundation on which the song was built. Why does it always have to be homosexual? Why can't a woman be his killer?
No, I really think that Smiler is a man. The line "Slam-in one-shot gentle pain" I see as describing the act of penetrating and being penetrated ("slam in" meaning "penetration", "one shot" meaning "ejaculation" and "gentle pain" meaning "being penetrated"). But of course this interpretation is just one possible interpretation of that line and maybe not even the most plausible one.
 

CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
I'm pretty sure he faxed the lyrics to Steve Barnett at Capitol.
 

hand in glove

40 percent papier mache
Subscriber
No, I really think that Smiler is a man. The line "Slam-in one-shot gentle pain" I see as describing the act of penetrating and being penetrated ("slam in" meaning "penetration", "one shot" meaning "ejaculation" and "gentle pain" meaning "being penetrated"). But of course this interpretation is just one possible interpretation of that line and maybe not even the most plausible one.
Yes, it's very easy to see it that way. Being "slammed" in isn't a gentle way to penetrate a man (or a woman), though. And, it's certainly not a "gentle pain". But, sex is so much more interesting. Especially if it's forbidden and dangerous.

"Slam-in one-shot gentle pain" may also be her blade going through his heart. It's quick. There's little pain. It's easily done (in one shot). I only said that I think the book is the foundation of the song. That line could mean both of those things as it's followed with "someone calling out my name / Sex and Love are not the same/ are not the same" It is indeed very complex, but I see a deeper side to it, I suppose, and I still think it could be a woman. Or, let's completely flip the story and make the narrator a woman and Smiler a man. After all, Maladjusted was written through an underage, working girl's perspective...
 

CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
Yes, it's very easy to see it that way. Being "slammed" in isn't a gentle way to penetrate a man (or a woman), though. And, it's certainly not a "gentle pain". But, sex is so much more interesting. Especially if it's forbidden and dangerous.

"Slam-in one-shot gentle pain" may also be her blade going through his heart. It's quick. There's little pain. It's easily done (in one shot). I only said that I think the book is the foundation of the song. That line could mean both of those things as it's followed with "someone calling out my name / Sex and Love are not the same/ are not the same" It is indeed very complex, but I see a deeper side to it, I suppose, and I still think it could be a woman. Or, let's completely flip the story and make the narrator a woman and Smiler a man. After all, Maladjusted was written through an underage, working girl's perspective...
Maybe Georgia and Lord Chilton Canteloe were naughty skyping and she slammed her laptop closed sheepishly when she she caught the beautiful sight of him stroking his glorious knife which she knew in an instant God had not prepared the walls of her winkle wide enough to receive?
 

hand in glove

40 percent papier mache
Subscriber
Maybe Georgia and Lord Chilton Canteloe were naughty skyping and she slammed her laptop closed sheepishly when she she caught the beautiful sight of him stroking his glorious knife which she knew in an instant God had not prepared the walls of her winkle wide enough to receive?
Lol. Put the Vicodin away, CG. Put it away.
 

CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.

Emil

A Burnt Child
Yes, it's very easy to see it that way. Being "slammed" in isn't a gentle way to penetrate a man (or a woman), though. And, it's certainly not a "gentle pain". But, sex is so much more interesting. Especially if it's forbidden and dangerous.

"Slam-in one-shot gentle pain" may also be her blade going through his heart. It's quick. There's little pain. It's easily done (in one shot). I only said that I think the book is the foundation of the song. That line could mean both of those things as it's followed with "someone calling out my name / Sex and Love are not the same/ are not the same" It is indeed very complex, but I see a deeper side to it, I suppose, and I still think it could be a woman. Or, let's completely flip the story and make the narrator a woman and Smiler a man. After all, Maladjusted was written through an underage, working girl's perspective...
No, I suppose it's not a gentle pain. Unless he/she likes it rough maybe...

I'm not sure about that line describing Smiler sticking the blade in him or her. I'm a bit sceptical about using the phrase "one-shot" to describe sticking the blade into someone. But perhaps. It could very well mean both of the things. But I'm also pondering the possibility that "knife/blade" is a metaphor for, you know, the "penis". And sure, the narrator could be female. But I think there's too much pointing in the direction of a homosexual relationship and homosexual guilt on Smiler's part.
 
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