The song is by The Smiths but the cover version is by t.A.T.u., the Russian duo who became famous by allowing people to (falsely) assume that they were a couple. When I first met my BFF Evelyn one of the things that we immediately bonded over was our shared appreciation for the absurdity of t.A.T.u.
(Men, we realized, will listen, watch, or pay for anything if there’s a chance they’ll get to see two hot girls kiss at some point during it. That’s good information to have, by the way.)
As far as the cover goes, it’s not that bad. t.A.T.u. has frequently been criticized for lacking vocal range but, here, that doesn’t really become an issue until the end of the song, when Julia struggles to make it through the part about waiting too long. That said, I like this version. It’s all about that guitar chord at the beginning.
As far as the video goes, it’s made up of a mix of footage of Julia and Lena performing on stage and some “candid” backstage stuff. By “candid,” I mean obviously staged. “Wow,” the viewer is supposed to say, “there’s Julia and … OH MY GOD, IT’S LENA! THEY’RE IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER! And now they’re in a hallway together! And now they’re in the same bedroom! Are they about to kiss … oh wait, we’ve cut to a different scene now…”
Here’s what Morrissey had to say when he was asked about t.A.T.u.’s cover:
Interviewer: Did you hear t.A.T.u’s version of ‘How Soon Is Now’?
Morrissey: Yes, it was magnificent. Absolutely. Again, I don’t know much about them.
Interviewer: They’re the teenage Russian lesbians.
Morrissey: Well, aren’t we all?