I KNOW IT'S OVER

Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
And as I climb into an empty bed
Oh well. Enough said.
I know it's over - still I cling
I don't know where else I can go
Oh ...
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
See, the sea wants to take me
The knife wants to slit me
Do you think you can help me ?
Sad veiled bride, please be happy
Handsome groom, give her room
Loud, loutish lover, treat her kindly
(Though she needs you
More than she loves you)
And I know it's over - still I cling
I don't know where else I can go
Over and over and over and over
Over and over, la ...
I know it's over
And it never really began
But in my heart it was so real
And you even spoke to me, and said :
"If you're so funny
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
And if you're so clever
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you're so very entertaining
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you're so very good-looking
Why do you sleep alone tonight ?
I know ...
'Cause tonight is just like any other night
That's why you're on your own tonight
With your triumphs and your charms
While they're in each other's arms..."

It's so easy to laugh
It's so easy to hate
It takes strength to be gentle and kind
Over, over, over, over
It's so easy to laugh
It's so easy to hate
It takes guts to be gentle and kind
Over, over
Love is Natural and Real
But not for you, my love
Not tonight, my love
Love is Natural and Real
But not for such as you and I, my love
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my ...
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
Oh Mother, I can even feel the soil falling over my head
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my ...

Probably the most poetic lyric in his career, along with Suffer Little Children. This song really does bring home quite how much The Smiths as a band had improved in the four years they had been together. This sensitive and intelligent song brings out fine performances from all four members: Joyce's perfectly subdued rhythmic crests and dips, Rourke's meaty yet delicate bass part, Johnny Marr's fine arrangement, and, of course, the absolutely beautiful lyrics welded to the tune by Morrissey, displaying a vocal more expressive than any song previously in their career.
For a song about the end of a fictitious relationship, the lyrics are suitably image-laden. The morbid protagonist seems to equate his forthcoming death with a feeling of utter helplessness - the image of a half-living corpse in a grave is quickly qualified by his contemplation of suicide. We are given the impression that suicide is not really an option for the troubled author, as he is even scared of death itself.
Notably, this is immediately followed by the image of a couple on their wedding day. Perceiving all such permanent promises as ultimately pointless, the protagonist sides with the "sad-veiled bride", while only harbouring hostility for the "loud loutish lover". Cynically viewing the marriage as merely half-hearted, there is an underlying implication that the sad-veiled bride is indeed the object of his attentions, or, at least, serving as a reminder of her.
Only while repeatedly musing on the end of the relationship does he let it slip that, indeed, "it never really began". The author even takes solace in her accusations of loneliness and solitude.
Much has been said about the couplet "With your triumphs and your charms/While they're in each other's arms". You'll notice that I have included it as part of what the amour says to the author, implying that the triumphs and charms are in each other's arms, in a metaphorical sense. Judging from her cynical speech preceding these lines, I would say she is pointing out he has neither any triumphs nor charms. John O'Neal has this to say :

"As far as the "with your triumphs and your charms/while they're in each others' arms" couplet, i would have to say that the speaker is kind of just giving the knife a final twist, it's like the icing on the cake. in the lines coming before that, she is destroying his most precious attributes one by one (if you're so clever, etc) and the conclusion reached is that he is simply on his own and its his own bloody fault because he's kind of deluded about himself.
His only companionship is his false self-exalting nonsense which was just stripped from him (that's why you're on your own tonight/with your triumphs and your charms). and then on the other hand the sad-veiled bride and the loud loutish lover are seemingly tickled pink (while they're in each others' arms)."

Outside of her speech, though, the lines could take on a different tone. The "they" mentioned could be referring to the nuptial couple on their honeymoon, while the protagonist can only look upon past victories.
The song is brilliantly framed by the line "Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head". Set up like this, it's almost as if the middle section of the song explains and jusitifies the opening line, as we are reminded at the end, many times, of the original imagery.
An incredibly beautiful song that proves unlistenable for many fans due its almost unbearable emotional intensity.


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