“Going Missing” is the fifth track on Maxïmo Park’s 2005 debut album A Certain Trigger. It was then released as a single in July of that year, getting to the time when my mum had organised a family holiday to Belgium. (I’m still not sure why she wanted to go there so much.) But I remember when I was there that I would spontaneously begin to sing it for no particular reason, other than that I thought I could relate to the title somehow. I mean, I was kinda missing from England, that’s where all my friends were. I was missing ’em. The link was probably weaker than I wanted it to be.
Knowing it pretty much since it first came out, I’ve never cared about what the track’s subject matter is or what could have happened to Paul Smith that made him want to the lyric. But someone on songmeanings.net gave an idea that it’s about a man who was in a casual relationship with a woman who wanted more. She left him. But then he starts to like her when she goes. He realises what he’s missed out on. He’s gone on his own to try and work things out for himself. Seems plausible to me.
Straight up, this is my favourite Maxïmo Park song. Known every single word to it for close to ten years now. Though it took me a while to finally get to listen to it. Every time I saw that first panning shot of lead singer Paul Smith looking miserable as anything on that brown sofa when the video showed up on MTV2, I always changed the channel. Why did he look so mad? The ten year old me didn’t want to see such an unhappy face at the start of a music video. Despite this, the video was aired every freaking day so there was no avoiding it anymore. Might as well watch it to get over it, you know? So I did. And I was captivated. It’s very intense. Smith angrily chucks things at walls, flings cutlery off tables and angrily jumps about in slow motion and further maddeningly mouths the words to the song wide-eyed into the camera as if he’s going out of his mind. It’s one of those videos where the images within it pop into your head even when you’re listening to it when you’re out or something. It’s just perfect. Ah, man.