“This Night Has Opened My Eyes” by The Smiths
Some women are such that aborting a pregnancy may not seem to affect them one way or another. But as for others, psychological/emotional recovery from such a serious act may be long coming, if ever. And such a concept is what this song is centered on.
The subject is a young lady who apparently was seduced by a man significantly older than herself. That decision ultimately results in her being impregnated, while he is nowhere to be found.
The implication would be that the subject is so young that she is totally unprepared for such a responsibility. That would be why she is tempted to do away with the child, which she eventually does. And even though the lyrics infer infanticide, all things considered (i.e. the source of the narrative, which we will get to later) what Morrissey and co. are actually referring to is abortion.
Song’s Title (“This Night Has Opened My Eyes”)
Getting straight to the point, the song’s conclusion reads like in the aftermath of making that decision, resultantly the subject is faced with a future guilt, remorse and regret. For instance, seeing a random child at play ‘reminds her of her own’, as if she is haunted, if you will. And such is what the title is meant to allude to.
The evening in which she committed the abortion is termed as the ‘night that opened her eyes’. And what that metaphor translates to, most simply put, is the subject having done something which will worry her conscience forevermore (i.e. henceforth ‘never sleeping again’, as in truly being unable to rest). And this is despite the fact, as relayed in the chorus, that she is seemingly doing her best to take the matter nonchalantly.
In the end, it wouldn’t be out of the way to suggest that this is akin to a pro-life piece. The vocalist never goes as far as to judge the subject or evaluate the morality of her decision. Rather, he depicts her as someone who has irreversibly altered her future, presumably without being fully aware of the consequences beforehand. So now, the emotional ramifications of it all is something she has to deal with.
Facts about “This Night Has Opened My Eyes”
This song was inspired by a 1958 play entitled A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney (1938-2011). It should be noted that Delaney is actually one of Morrissey’s utmost favorite artists.
This is a track which The Smiths dropped on 12 November 1984, as featured on “Hatful of Hollow”, the band’s first compilation album.
Morrissey teamed up with his Smiths’ bandmate Johnny Marr to write this song. And the entire band – which consisted of Morrissey, Marr, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce – produced it with Roger Pusey. Additionally, this song was composed in conjunction with BBC 1 initiative known as the Peel Sessions.
The “Hatful of Hollow” Album
On the 12th of November, 1984, English rock band, The Smiths, released a compilation album with the title, “Hatful of Hollow”.
The band welcomed assistance from the following record producers in the production of the album:
- John Porter
- Roger Pusey
- Dale “Buffin” Griffin
London based Rough Trade Records and Warner Music Group’s Sire Records were responsible for the release of the album.
This compilation album spent 46 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at No. 7.
In 2000, it was placed at No. 44 on music magazine, Q’s “100 Greatest British Albums Ever”.
Only men can assume that most women regrets an abortion
You assume most men think that way:/
It statistically has an impact on one’s mental health. Stop finding reasons to hate men, we’re all human.
stop assuming things about men.
As a man that was responsible for an abortion, this song haunts me.
It is not about regrets, it shows abortion as a hard experience but still a way to survive. It is naive if you assume that most women dont have mixed feelings after abortion because it is a decision that has impact on your whole life and it is HARD decision. He doesnt judge her, he shows the pressure that is on women to make a “good choice”
Well didn’t that age poorly that men made the decision to get rid of them in total
Too bad it’s got a pro life narrative to it. I like to wish it was unbiased. Bleh. Whatever.
still a bomb ass song
I would take that comment with a grain of salt, since it’s just the writer’s opinion. The more realistic takeaway is this song is just a lovely exploration of the feelings of ambivalence that follow giving up a child. Just because there’s some regret doesn’t mean it’s pro-life. That’s really how it feels, and real life isn’t black and white.
100%. btw the only reference to the child dying is about putting the child underwater, but then its wrapped in newspaper and dropped off on a doorstep pretty much. And its obvious he was saying like, the child could have been a poet or could have been a fool, and i wonder if he is meaning that the mother wasn’t ready to be one and could have given the child a good life, but most likely given the child a shitty life. And its funny that people that dont have kids just think that somehow you will not have emotions about giving up or losing a child, no matter your dumb ass political beliefs, that shit hurts bad.
Sure the song is deliberately ambiguous. The mother may have drowned the infant in the Irwell, or put them on a doorstep. The postulations on the future are also ambiguous the mother doesn’t know, very northern phraseology is used in “could have been” it is very much in Schrödinger territory. Over all, bleak, atmospheric and very Manchester in the early 1980’s. Such a shame, a legacy has been trampled by the career defining racism of the last decade. Irish roots, fascist overtones. Sad.