SONG OF THE DAY: August 4th

Written by Steve Pierce on . Posted in Music


The Smiths, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”
She & Him, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”

The Smiths are enjoying a resurgence of sorts due to their prominent role in the excellent new film, (500) Days of Summer (Rhombus review forthcoming). In a nutshell, the movie’s romantic leads initially bond over a shared love of the British mopers, seemingly exposing an entirely new generation of young moviegoers to Morrissey and his melodic mastery of melancholy. (A sidenote: Any film that features a non-ironic fantastical dance sequence set to Hall & Oates‘ “You Make My Dreams” get eight billion thumbs up from me every single time. This is Reason 1A why you should buy your ticket to (500) Days of Summer immediately.)

This comma-averse ditty should already be familiar to many moviegoers, although most were almost certainly unaware of the Smiths connection: the music to “Please Please” was featured in the iconic scene at the Art Institute of Chicago from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Of course, the original track included here features Morrissey’s harrowing tenor: you can almost feel the depression dripping off every word. Accompanied primarily by a simple chord progression on an acoustic guitar for much of the song, “Please Please” is a study in the misery inherent in much of pop music, effectively raising the timeless question of John Cusack’s Rob Gordon in the film version of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity: “Do I listen to pop music because I’m miserable, or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?” (We shall probably never know — and perhaps things are best this way.)

She & Him‘s ramshackle cover of the track, featuring the always lovely Zooey Deschanel (co-star of (500) Day of Summer) doesn’t stray too far from the original, except to add some trademark M. Ward electric guitar noodling. The cover is a little rough around the edges, which almost makes the track feel like it was cut in a single take (although I have no evidence to corroborate such a notion.) Regardless, She & Him do an admirable job covering all of Morrissey’s bases: Deschanel’s sultry croon adds an unexpected dimension to Moz’s original performance that is, unsurprisingly, uniquely feminine, and Ward’s ragged guitar work on the song’s infamous interlude is less polished but seems more heartfelt than that of the Smith’s maiden voyage. Altogether, a sufficient effort from one of indie’s most likable acts.

Which do you prefer: Morrissey’s original mope or Zooey and M. Ward’s scruffy re-do? As always, we’d love to hear from you in the space below.

Listen to: The Smiths, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”

Listen to: She & Him, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”

And just to get you psyched, imagine the always exceptional Joseph Gordon-Levitt dancing to this classic Hall & Oates tune, complete with a color-coordinated mob of commuters, a marching band and an animated bird. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome:

Listen to: Hall & Oates, “You Make My Dreams”


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