"What She Said" as written by Johnny Marr and Steven Patrick Morrissey....
What she said :
"How come someone hasn't noticed
That I'm dead
And decided to bury me?
God knows, I'm ready!"
La-la-la...

What she said was sad
But then, all the rejection she's had
To pretend to be happy
Could only be idiocy
La-la-la...

What she said was not for the job or
Lover that she never had
Oh...
No no no...

What she read
All heady books
She'd sit and prophesise
(It took a tattooed boy from
Birkenhead
To really really open her eyes)

What she read
All heady books
She'd sit and prophesise
(It took a tattooed boy from
Birkenhead
To really really open her eyes)

What she said :
"I smoke 'cause I'm hoping for an
Early death
And I need to cling to something!"

What she said :
"I smoke 'cause I'm hoping for an
Early death
And I need to cling to something!"
No no no no...


Lyrics submitted by Idan

"What She Said" as written by Johnny Marr Steven Morrissey

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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What She Said song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +14
    General CommentI think this song may be a description of Morrissey's relationship with Johnny Marr. Morrissey being the girl in question, and Marr being the "tattooed boy from Birkenhead".

    Morrissey describes a depressed and lonely person, taking words from Elizabeth Smart's prose, as he would have thought she could describe his feelings better than he ever could. He describes never having a job or a lover, and sitting at home reading great literature, but finally being rescued by the "tattooed boy"; Marr, a working class Manchester lad.

    In case you don't know what I'm referring to, Morrissey spent the majority of his teenage life alone in his bedroom, reading books such as By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. He was very lonely and suffered greatly from depression, until he was eventually rescued one day by Johnny Marr who knocked on his door out of the blue and asked him to join a band, which later became The Smiths.

    I think the song may be based on this.
    SAMOon April 17, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think the character is depressed about herself as a person (not as a worker or lover) so she tries to find her place and meaning in life by reading these classic, philosophical books which actually don't have any more insight into life than she has. Rather, a real person (the tattooed boy from Birkenhead) is the only one to show her the world the way it truly is.
    marbleryeon January 28, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"I have learned to smoke because I need something to hold on to."
    "...I wonder why no one has noticed that I am dead and taken the trouble to bury me"
    -By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, by Elizabeth Smart
    marquiceriseon December 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMoz nails it yet again.
    dewdropon May 20, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"What she read
    all heady books
    she'd sit and prophesise
    (it took a tattooed boy from
    Birkenhead
    to really really open her eyes)"

    that is one of my favourite couple of lines. its a bit sad, but its so true, and then the refference to birkenhead just tops it off... it reminds you just how brittish morrissey is, plus birkenhead is less than half an hour from where i live... fickle i know, but it makes here seem a bit cooler
    sambo28on September 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationFirst of all, I'd like you to know that this is my favourite song by The Smiths, and they are my favourite band, and Morrissey is my favourite person in the whole world. So, this song means a lot to me.

    As we all know, Morrissey is one hell of a writer! His lyrics have many layers of mystique and no one really manages to peel these layers off, which I find very appealing. This song has a thousand interpretations and here is mine.

    "What she said:
    'How come
    someone hasn't noticed that I'm dead?
    And decided to bury me
    God knows I'm ready!'
    La la la la"

    I picture a fragile woman around the age of twenty-eight. I have also imagined someone in their fifties or sixties but that doesn't match the early death implication.

    This is an intelligent and quiet young woman who lives in an industrial city in England, perhaps London, presumably Manchester; she has a very good job, perhaps as an apprentice at a law firm; she lives on her own in a lonely apartment ("with its cupboard bare"); she is single, has never had a serious relationship, partly because she is confused about her sexuality, partly because she is shy and spends her time reading heady books and prophesising.

    Even though she has secured a stable job and platonic success, she knows that she is growing old and she feels worn and torn. She decides to go out one Friday night, she meets a tattooed boy from Birkenhead. He unearths her and for once she feels alive. He takes her virginity.

    But their romance is not to last and he leaves her bare after a few weeks. She resumes to her life as it was before and is again successful at her job though she is not happy. She grows depressed and takes up smoking and doing drugs. She finally takes her own life. No one seemed to understand WHY she did so because she was an intelligent woman who had a good job, but she had an inner conflict, something that Morrissey knows all too well.

    I could write a much thorougher description of this poem but I feel like that could ruin the song!

    But I'd like to add that the line
    "I smoke 'cause I'm hoping for an early death
    And I need to cling to something!"

    reminds me of this:

    "‘Why do you smoke so damn fast?’ I asked.
    She looked at me and smiled widely, and such a wide smile on her narrow face might have looked goofy were it not for the unimpeachably elegant green in her eyes. She smiled with all the delight of a kid on Christmas morning and said,
    ‘Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.’"
    John Green, Looking for Alaska
    mrjones90on December 03, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentVery true dewdrop
    butterflykiss84on August 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy fav. line is " i smoke cos i'm hoping for an early death and i need to cling to something." again the desperation that he is able to put into words. the ability to convey feelings like that to others is something i've always wanted to be able to do. reason why the smiths is and always has been my favorite.
    shelleyn21on January 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta good rockin' song similar in style to London and Sweet & Tender Hooligan. Another depressed character.. but then thats what we expect. Life is depressing.
    CharmingManon March 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe reason why The Smiths are so popular, is because they wrote songs that were so easily identifiable to people who had experienced similar emotions, and in the process musician and listener gain comfort from each other. Philip Larkin puts it better than me somewhere!
    the-princess-is-madon November 07, 2006   Link

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