Girl Afraid—The Smiths
The song “Girl afraid” by the Smiths” is an overlooked gem within The Smiths catalog. Released in 1984 the song contains the trademarks of every song by the band at that time. From the up intricate guitar and moody singing typical of The Smiths. I would have never compared or drawn any parallels to this song and to “The Hands Maid Tale” until I delved deeper into the lyrics. The song details the miscommunication between a boyfriend and girlfriend, delving into their thinking. The lyrics of this song remind me of the relation between Offred and the commander as well as the relationship between Nick and Offred. In the first verse of this song Morrissey sings the words
“Where do his intentions lay? Or does he even have any?” This line reminds me of how Offred felt when the commander first started to take interest in her. After the verse in the first refrain another line sticks out to me. “In the room downstairs he sat and stared, In the room downstairs he sat and stared” This immediately reminds me of the scene in THT in which the commander entered Offred’s room and said nothing (chapter 8 page 49). Another line in the first verse stuck out to me. “He never really looks at me, I give him every opportunity” This line reminds me of Offred’s relation with Nick nearing the end of the book. The lovers’ relationship being strained and filled with miscommunication similarly to the boyfriend and girlfriend in the song. This line of the song especially reminds me of the scene at the end of chapter 36 where Nick refuses to meet eyes with Offred.
Naomi—Neutral Milk Hotel
Written and released in 1996 “Naomi” by Neutral Milk Hotel is a song of obsession. Originally written by Jeff Mangum, the song is about his obsession with Naomi Yang, a bassist of another band. The lyrics focus on the feeling of obsession and many angelic/religious themes remind me heavily of the relationship between the commander and Offred. One particular section of the song that sticks out to me. “I’m watching Naomi, full bloom”… “One billion angels come and hold her down They could hold her down until she cries” This line reminds me of the Commander’s desire for Offred but it being through his puritan view of the world. Not seeing her as a person but an experience. In chapter 129, he even hints as to thinking of Offred and the handmaid as nothing but pets. “If your dog dies get another”-187
While I’m Waiting—Fleeting joys
Released in 2006 “While Im Waiting” by Fleeting Joys is an incredibly emotional and melancholic song. With heavily distorted guitars and somber singing this song creates a deep sense of longing and was the first thing that came to my mind when doing this project. The song reminds me of Offred’s thoughts of Luke and her child. With the song's one repeating lyric “I think I’ll let it go’’ that is broken up by a few lines. One line that made me think of Offred is.
“So happy you’ll never come down, While I’m waiting, I want you” This line directly made me think about chapter 18 of The Hand Maid’s tale in which Offred imagines the different scenarios Luke could have been in after they parted ways. Doing this so nothing surprises her if she ever hears from Luke again thus the lyric “So happy you’ll never come down”.
Julie Profumo — Cleaners from Venus
This theme of trying to escape a bad situation no matter what is prevalent in The Handmaid’s Tale and there was only one song I could think of that represents this theme. Released in 1985 “Julie Profumo” by Cleaner from Venus is another melancholic and somber song I’ve added to this playlist. With lyrics that detail the singer leaving his home to go to England due to the changing times. With lyrics like “Time is racing, Shadows waiting” there is a great sense of urgency in this push for change. This song reminds me of Moira. Her being represented through the lyrics in the chorus. “Someday soon I will forget this junkyard”…”It’s a changing world and I can tell you one thing, Time is racing” Moira is constantly pushing for freedom from Gilead. From holding an aunt hostage and stealing the aunt’s clothing to escape to choosing to be a prostitute. Moira refuses to be stuck in the junkyard that is Gilead.
I Can See It (But I Can’t Feel It) — My Bloody Valentine
The last song in my playlist “I Can See It (But I Can’t Feel It)” By My Bloody Valentine has to be one of the most depressing songs I have on here. Released in 1988 this song is thought to be about someone who leaves their relationship with someone because they thought they were dragging the other person down. With very somber and sad singing with the jangly despondent guitars this song explores some very deep emotions. This song as a whole reminds me of the relationship between Offred and Luke. with the line “Don’t know when I will leave you again, Grab a reason, And I’m dragging you down” in the verse reminding me how before the present events of THT Luke and Offred were willing to make sacrifices for each other and their daughter. With the part of the song with the other part of the verse with the lyrics “Shot in the head I can see I can see it But I can’t feel it” Reminding me of Offred’s thought process on thinking of Luke (chapter 18). imagining him dead or imprisoned or making it to freedom so if she hears any bad news about him, she will feel nothing.