December 27: “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby”, Kirsty MacColl (The Smiths)

It’s almost the end of this month-long Song of the Day project and I’ve fallen sorely behind. At the beginning of the month, looking ahead to Christmas vacation at the end, I thought that the last two weeks of the month would be when I could really spend some time crafting posts, thinking about songs and what they made me think about. I’d have so much more time, not needing to fit in posts between commuting, working out, and the flurry of Christmas preparations! However, since leaving on vacation, I’ve been surrounded by people — lots of people — almost constantly. This, as anyone who writes anything could probably have told me, is not the optimal writing environment. As well, my lax approach in the last week is consistent with my general tendency to perform well under pressure, and not particularly brilliantly the rest of the time. With little time available to write, I focused on it and got it done. With numerous blocks of time unspoken for and available for writing, I procrastinate.

Looking back at almost a month of somewhat random songs, it’s also clear that my musical taste developed in the 20th century… and for the most part is still rooted there. There are songs from the last decade or so I like, and am even somewhat evangelical and obsessive about, but so far, they haven’t been the ones that make me want to write about them. Maybe more time needs to pass before I can appreciate their place in my soundtrack.

This time of year is when everyone relearns the name of the late Kirsty MacColl, the female singer on the Pogues’ “Fairytale in New York.” I first heard her when she covered Billy Bragg’s “A New England,” and I love this cover of the Smiths’ “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby,” even more. For the most part, there haven’t been a lot of Smiths covers that I know of, perhaps because there’s an assumption that without Morrissey’s morose tones, the songs don’t work. This , I think, proves that’s not true — if anything, the almost gleeful tone enhances the song’s lyrics. This was part of a great mixed tape someone made me once. I lost the tape many years ago, but still have the cover with the track listings.