The Smiths A-Z: "Asleep"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member









Next up in our Smiths A-Z project is this song, released as a B-side on "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" in August 1985. "Asleep" was also included on the compilation albums Louder Than Bombs and The World Won't Listen.

The song was played live by the Smiths just the once, at the Inverness show in October 1985. (Audio of that included above but it's a painful listen as there's way too much crowd noise, so I've also added a mesmerising Morrissey performance of the song from 2014.)

What do we think?
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
A really interesting and unique track for the group.

Johnny makes the most of his "limitations" and by that I mean that he has admitted that this was the only way that he knew how to play the piano. Hence it sounding so similar to the end of the Suffer Little Children demo.

Morrissey has always had pretty good musical instincts, despite the fact that he doesn't play an instrument, and his idea of using the wind sound effect adds a lot of atmosphere to the song.

The lyrics aren't some of my absolute favourites as they are fairly on the nose, but a fine song nevertheless.

A rare example of Andy and Mike being absent from a recording.


Just to show other viewpoints and not because they should be considered in any way definitive...

In the poll on this board this song ranked 23rd from 73 of the group's songs.
In the poll on the Hoffman board this song ranked 23rd from 73 of the group's songs.
 

Carlislebaz

Cock of the north
I never really listened to this song much back in the olde days, as I wasn’t that keen on it. It’s only now I can understand the beauty of this song.
Unfortunately it’s still something I rarely listen to .
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
A beautiful, extremely sad song that uses its small arrangement to heartbreaking effect: the solo piano riff is so evocative, and stands up to some of Johnny’s most recognisable guitar licks despite the instrumental differences. The addition of blowing wind sound effects and the music box at the end is enough to reduce some of the most stone hearted people to tears: it gives off an aura of finality, fitting given its bleak subject matter and its place in the trilogy of songs on the “Boy With the Thorn in his Side” b-side (a running order that was thankfully restored on the Queen is Dead deluxe reissue). As for the lyrics...well, they are some of Moz’s most cavernous, unrelentingly solemn words put to music: unlike similar tunnels of emotion explored in songs such as “Life Is A Pigsty”, there is no promise of a positive resolution; it is the close relative of “I Know It’s Over”, and the antithesis of “Angel, Angel...”. It’s rawness has clearly inspired many heart on sleeve artists in the following years.
Put simply, it’s the first of the band’s greatest achievements we’ve seen thus far on this list - and there are many more of those to come.
10/10
 

Carlislebaz

Cock of the north
A beautiful, extremely sad song that uses its small arrangement to heartbreaking effect: the solo piano riff is so evocative, and stands up to some of Johnny’s most recognisable guitar licks despite the instrumental differences. The addition of blowing wind sound effects and the music box at the end is enough to reduce some of the most stone hearted people to tears: it gives off an aura of finality, fitting given its bleak subject matter and its place in the trilogy of songs on the “Boy With the Thorn in his Side” b-side (a running order that was thankfully restored on the Queen is Dead deluxe reissue). As for the lyrics...well, they are some of Moz’s most cavernous, unrelentingly solemn words put to music: unlike similar tunnels of emotion explored in songs such as “Life Is A Pigsty”, there is no promise of a positive resolution; it is the close relative of “I Know It’s Over”, and the antithesis of “Angel, Angel...”. It’s rawness has clearly inspired many heart on sleeve artists in the following years.
Put simply, it’s the first of the band’s greatest achievements we’ve seen thus far on this list - and there are many more of those to come.
10/10
🙄
You have a brilliant way with your words. A great description of the song in Question. 👍
 

Surface

Vegan Cro’s parents regret the condom splitting
Beautiful song and I thought it was fantastic how he sang it during Speedway on the 25 live video. 2.09 mins here

 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I find it hard to write about this song, given how much it meant to me back in 85/86.

Don't listen to it very often these days but when I do, it still has that power, that perfect mix of bleak and beautiful. I know it's a song about suicide but if assisted dying ever becomes a legal thing in the UK, I can't think of a nicer way to go than drifting into the abyss with this playing on headphones... Amazingly powerful pop music.
 
V

Vegan Cro Spirit .777

Guest
A really interesting and unique track for the group.

Johnny makes the most of his "limitations" and by that I mean that he has admitted that this was the only way that he knew how to play the piano. Hence it sounding so similar to the end of the Suffer Little Children demo.

:)
correct
one suco 🎹 riff
one sucy :guitar: riff
thats :handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft: 'repertoire':statueofliberty:


Morrissey has always had pretty good musical instincts, despite the fact that he doesn't play an instrument, and his idea of using the wind sound effect adds a lot of atmosphere to the song.

The lyrics aren't some of my absolute favourites as they are fairly on the nose, but a fine song nevertheless.

A rare example of Andy and Mike being absent from a recording.


Just to show other viewpoints and not because they should be considered in any way definitive...

In the poll on this board this song ranked 23rd from 73 of the group's songs.
In the poll on the Hoffman board this song ranked 23rd from 73 of the group's songs.

correct, Moz musical instincts and expertise make the song a Moz masterpiece.:hammer:
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
Without straying into hyperbole - whilst doing exactly that - I think this is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever recorded in the history of humanity.

The haunting, Wuthering Heights winds which bookend the music; the simple, innocent, childlike piano; the sensual, heartbreaking words...this meant everything to me when I first heard it at 16 and still does, a lifetime later.

Wonderful, just wonderful.
 

Carlislebaz

Cock of the north
Without straying into hyperbole - whilst doing exactly that - I think this is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever recorded in the history of humanity.

The haunting, Wuthering Heights winds which bookend the music; the simple, innocent, childlike piano; the sensual, heartbreaking words...this meant everything to me when I first heard it at 16 and still does, a lifetime later.

Wonderful, just wonderful.
Wonderfully put 🙄
 

Ben Budd

Well-Known Member
Absolutely gorgeous and haunting piece of music. Want to learn the piano just so I can play this.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
One of their most barren and bleak tunes. Just a stand-up piano, a desolate voice, piercing words and the wind blowing through it; but the emotional impact was very profound.

I nearly cried when he performed it live in 2014. He and his band nailed it completely at this occasion.
 

The Wild Turkey

Wild T!
Turkerator
My Mom used to sing Wild T to sleep with...
Little Turkey you've had a long day,
Now's time to just dream away,
Tomorrow's a chance, to have a new dance,
To explore and frolic and play.

Then she would open up my music box and
as the ballerina would twirl around, the
Auld Lang Syne tune would play.
:)
 

Nikita

Senior Member
Come on, at some point in our lives, especially if we listened to The Smiths in our teenager years, we thought about committing suicide and leaving Asleep's lyrics as a final note.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Never a song I’ve sought out when needing comfort and solace from Moz/Smiths. It’s objectively a stunning song in every way, but it’s never been one of my all time favorites.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I have a very faint memory of there being some "controversy" around this song in the months after it came out, after a small number of Smiths fans apparently committed suicide. Have I made that up, or does anyone have any kind of press cuttings that relate to it?
 
Tags
the smiths a-z
Top Bottom