Each morning before class, I make sure my iPod is fully charged in preparation for my morning walk to Palumbo. The soundtrack changes but the sentiment stays the same; from The National to Drake and everything in between, I often have a very specific slew of songs to fit my mood or the season. Given it’s winter here in the wonderful world of Erie, I’ve been listening to The Smiths and Morrissey pretty much every day.
It never fails. Okay, so maybe it’s only been two years since I discovered the ragtag group of handsome devils, but the listening experience really hasn’t changed. The season of Morrissey starts right around Halloween, my favorite time of year. Each year I head down to Cedar Point for Halloweekends and the Smiths facilitate my trip there and back. As the cold accumulates, there is something about Morrissey’s ambiguous mystique and relatable loneliness that clicks. The colder it gets, the better; “Bigmouth Strikes Again” on the way to class, “Asleep” just before I go to bed.
Looking back at my last semester (which, as you may have read, was a bit rough) and where I am now, I’d say the Smiths accompanied me throughout a pretty pivotal point in my life. Pulling the pieces together, getting help from the people I need and getting back to work: these songs with there for me throughout he good and the bad and I could feel them under my skin. That’s a feeling our generation has lost in a sea of digital singles and radio play – the feeling of finding entire albums and discographies that can literally change the way you feel because of how relevant they are to your life, or the joy of just relaxing in the dark with a nice pair of headphones and focusing on the songs at hand.
I recently wrote about a similar topic for the Gannon Knight, concerning the beauty and perfection behind Jeff Buckley’s lonesome 1994 debut, Grace, and I would say almost the same thing for The Smith’s Hatful of Hollow. Hatful of Hollow was my introduction to the band, a collection of (mostly) non-album singles rerecorded during sessions with BBC. It’s like a greatest hits album without the shame, because the majority of the songs only appear on other, less-worthy compilations (although it is missing the second most beautiful piece of music ever recorded, “Asleep”).
As my semester begins, I am faced with brand new challenges: an online class, a new writing gig at FDRMX.com, a presidential position at G.P.S. (Gannon Paranormal Society) and aspirations to write a novel this year. But I know that grades come first, and I will do everything I can to take a breath, my time and approach these goals step-by-step. In the words of Kevin Smith, the indie filmmaker behind movies like “Clerks” and “Tusk”, “Please pay attention very carefully, because this is going to be the truest thing a stranger ever says to you; in the face of such hopelessness as our eventual death, there is little sense in not at least TRYING to accomplish all your wildest dreams.”