DRIVING YOUR GIRLFRIEND HOME

I'm driving
Your girlfriend home
And she's saying
How she never chose you
"Turn left", she says
I turn left
And she says
"So how did I end up
So deeply involved in
The very existence
I planned on avoiding ?"

And I can't answer

I'm driving
Your girlfriend home
And she's laughing
To stop herself crying
"Drive on", she says
I drive on
And she says
"So how did I end up
Attached to this person
When his sense of humour
Gets gradually worser ?"

And I can't tell her

I'm parking
Outside her home
And we're shaking hands
Goodnight, so politely


A gentle and carefully composed paean to broken dreams, complemented by one of the more evocative music parts on "Kill Uncle". These are particularly interesting lyrics as the main emotional impact comes not directly, nor implicitly from the words that are present, but specifically from what is not said. By carefully skirting around the relationship between the driver and the passenger (the only indication of any relationship at all is the polite farewell) the focus at first is on the content of the conversation. Morrissey singing of his complicity in obeying her directions is a red herring on two levels - as well as serving to break up the devastating dialogue between driver and passenger, it also brings the lyrics down to a practical level; the stark factuality is in subtle contrast with the hidden and unsaid true meaning.
The driver's helpless plea of "I can't tell her" is once again readable on several levels. It is seemingly contrasting with his simple direct description of his driving. The driver is capable of simple things like that but is lost when it comes to the deeper things of life; could this be considered as a "frank" admission of the true reason behind the first song on "Kill Uncle", Our Frank ?
At the same time, of course, there is a strong hint that the driver in the song is specifically trying to avoid any questions of this, another clue that there may be an unrequited desire here.
It is my personal theory that this song is closely related to The Smiths' song There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. See that link for an explanation of why I believe there is a definite link.
Ian Bell comments :

"It seems the driver is playing the classic 'gooseberry' role, trusted enough (undesirable enough?) to drive the girl home by their mutual friend; the girl is in a loveless relationship, frustrated and keen to talk about her problems. They have a considerable amount in common, not least an obscured dislike of the boyfriend in question, who is no doubt a pretty unsavoury character who deserves the attention of neither. However, amidst a sense of awkwardness at their farewell, the dislike is not such that they would do anything more than shake hands politely."

This song features Morrissey's long-term friend Linder on backing vocals.


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