Greatest Hits "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" as written by Steven Morrissey This cuts to Morrissey saying; "I wish Mike Joyce all the worst in life. accurate --- and not just editing in an unrelated Morrissey quote about Joyce in Jeesus deserved unto reincarnation on a very nice planet, suwe to the life he.
by ichiro_ishikawa | 2017-08-02 17:50 | 音楽 | Comments(0)
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the smiths all songs ranked morrissey johnny marr andy rourke mike joyce The good, the bad and the “Vicar in a Tutu. .. the graveyard so they can quote Keats and Yeats and Wilde to each other, just because nobody Their most flamboyant rock epic, six minutes of Marr going mad on wah-wah, finally.
by Philip Moss
In 1987, The Smiths were at the absolute peak of their powers and Morrissey was the most revered crossover star in popular music. But after a power wrangle with co-writer, Johnny Marr, the group diverged.
Stephen Street, who had just finished working with Morrissey and The Smiths as producer on their final record, Strangeways, Here We Come, had seen no signs in the studio of the band and in 2012 told journalist, Paul Sinclair, that he “thought it was a bit of a tiff and a flexing of political muscles between Johnny and Morrissey.” Assuming that the band were on hiatus, Street sent Morrissey a cassette of demo ideas and asked if they’d be considered as b-sides for the two final, contractually obliged Rough Trade singles. But the split was final and after hearing the cassette, Morrissey had grander plans in mind.
Now, stepping into Johnny Marr’s Clarks’ Wallabees is an enviable task. And that was what Morrissey requested of Street. To be his co-writer and his right hand man on his new project – a solo album and a first offering under his own name. So, in an intense three-month period, starting that October, Street replaced one half of the best songwriting partnership since Lennon/McCartney.
The album would be Viva Hate. A record that would see the start of his romanticism for ‘vintage’ pop labels after encouraging parent company, EMI, to put the record out through the defunct His Master’s Voice (HMV) imprint.
The record was released just six months after The Smiths split and reached number one in the UK charts. It turned 30 year’s old this week, so how has it aged? Is it the best record of Morrissey’s much maligned and adored solo career?
Over a cacophony of swirling guitars, howling backing vocals and groove filled bass, Alsatian Cousin (its title taken from Alan Bennett’s play Forty Years On) kicks off Viva Hate with a soundtrack that every bit matches the album’s title as Moz, seemingly the observer, documents a sordid homosexual relationship. The music is more ballsy and the lyrics – still with that astute eye for life’s microcosms of personal drama – are more collaged and spontaneous, while ‘that’ voice is exactly as was.
Initially, Morrissey had enlisted both Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce of The Smiths to be a part of the Viva Hate sessions. But after changing his mind – it was, after all a fresh start – he settled on Bucks Fizz session percussionist Andrew Paresi and (ex-Factory Records) The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly. Both star on the wonderful Little Man, What Now? as Paresi’s sampled drum loop and Reilly’s resonating guitars back a prototypical Morrissey lyric that tracks ‘a star at eighteen and then-suddenly gone… but I remembered you’. It’s a beautiful kitchen sink vignette, and at just one minute and 45 seconds is one of the most underrated moments in the Morrissey canon.
To many, Viva Hate is best known for its two top ten-charting singles, Suedehead and Everyday Is Like Sunday. The former, which predated the album by six weeks, gave Moz obsessives their first taste of the new Morrissey/Street songwriting partnership – and is every bit the quintessential Morrissey track. Lyrics that present him as the juxtaposed outsider. Check. Glorious guitars (written by Street and performed/elaborated upon by Reilly). Check. A groove you just can’t help but swing your ‘air gladioli’ to. Check. And a superb video that sees Morrissey head to his hero James Dean’s hometown of Fairmount, Virginia for a spot of sightseeing. While Everyday Is Like Sunday is the ultimate ear worm and live favourite that ironically pays tribute to – and wishes the worst upon – the seaside towns of his misspent summer holidays as a youth- ‘Come Armageddon… come, come nuclear bomb!’ And despite the accompanying video being shot in Southend, one assumes the actual ambiguous inspiration is likely to be closer to his Lancashire roots in Rhyl, Morecambe or Blackpool.
Like Strangeways, Here We Come, Viva Hate was recorded at The Wool Hall, Bath and in many ways a number of its tracks carry on exactly where their final record left off. As the album’s centrepiece, Late Night, Maudlin Street is a dark and dense – part metaphoric, part autobiographic – look back to his childhood. Lyrically, the song opens with Moz saying ‘goodbye’ to his childhood home- ‘I was born here and I was raised here, and I took some stick here’, before reflectively weaving in one of the most special lyrics ever to leave his pen- ‘when I sleep with that picture of you framed beside my bed- oh it’s childish and it’s silly, but I think it’s you in my room.’ A song that has clear links to Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me (the venerated centrepiece of Strangeways), both in its teenage angst-filled imagery and its melancholic tone.
Like Little Man, What Now? and arguably one of the greatest songs ever put out by The Smiths, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, the guitar less, chamber squall of Angel Angel Down We Go Together is also sub-two minutes and was one of the tracks first given to Morrissey by Street on the demo cassette that convinced him that Street could be the new co-writer he was looking for. Dubbed ‘the orchestral one’ by Morrissey, he has since stated that it was directly written about Marr and the lack of appreciation shown to him by the music industry – ‘But when they’ve used you and they’ve broken you and they’ve wasted all your money. And cast your shell aside. And when they’ve bought you and they’ve sold you and they’ve billed you for the pleasure… I will be here’. Further fuel for the fire to those who believe Strangeways’ final track, I Won’t Share You, was inspired by the same source.
Perhaps the most beautiful and Smithsian piece of music on the record carries its most understood and critiqued lyric. Bengali In Platforms been much maligned for potentially racist connotations due to its controversial and ambiguous verses – ‘Bengali- oh, shelve your Western plans. And understand that life is hard enough when you belong here.’ But like any piece of poetry or literature that tackles subjects that are potentially moot, one quote in isolation can be twisted to say whatever one wants it to say. Particularly those among the press that view Morrissey as cantankerous, obnoxious and stubbornly contrary. In an interview with Louder Than War, Stephen Street disagreed with this view and set the record straight from his perspective – ‘I never thought it was a racist song. I felt it was a song about being an outsider, because of ones colour in the same way Morrissey has wrote about people being outsiders because of, say, their homosexuality’. When viewed in context with the earlier verse of ‘he only wants to embrace your culture and to be your friend forever’, Street is most probably correct.
As a non-musician himself, Morrissey placed a huge amount of trust in him as musical director and credit must be given as it’s the most eclectically mixed bag of Morrissey’s career. There are a number of near misses – not least, the forgettable, throwaway jangle pop of I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me and the brilliantly titled, but rather average, Margaret On The Guillotine. However, the record is held together by some flashes of stupendous songwriting and faultless vocals. So where does it rank in the big picture of Morrissey’s solo career? Well, in my opinion, it’s probably a decent bet for the bronze medal, worthy of the essential title and contains some of the finest moments not just from his post-Smiths’ output, but his career full stop.
Love Moz’s early albums, but not checked out his new record, Low In High School? Have a peek at our thoughts on it here.
Wanna give us some feedback? Come say hello on social media…
Around fifty pages of _Autobiography _are spent on this, not much less than he writes about the entirety of the Smiths’ six-year career, and it is a section which combines several of the book’s worst faults—a need for retribution over all else, a pointless re-running of obscure long-past arguments, and a shocking indifference to the reader. For anyone who knows nothing about the case before picking up Autobiography, the information that explains what the case is actually about is only slowly and confusingly explained in piecemeal, as if Morrissey thinks that as long as the reader knows that he has been terribly, terribly wronged then any further details are more or less superfluous.
It’s not even that I disagree with the overall point he is making about the case—my legal sympathies are for the most part with him and Marr—but the endless, incoherent, enraged way he makes that point stretches every other kind of sympathy beyond repair. Eventually Morrissey starts going through specific parts of the evidence, legal letter by legal letter, offering his own tart and angry rejoinders to the judge’s comments in exasperated italics, capitals and exclamation marks, like a seething, impotent blogger. He can’t bear what happened; few readers will be able to bear to see him go on and on like this. Is this really how Morrissey wants to be remembered?
Autobiography ends mystifyingly with a long tour travelogue, fairly detailed and fairly aimless, from a few years back. It feels as though, stuck without anything else he really wanted to say, it suddenly struck him he could try to channel the casual and vivid cult pop-literary classic, Diary Of A Rock’n’Roll Star, an account of a short 1972 American tour by his early idol, Mott the Hoople singer Ian Hunter. (“And what do YOU like in life?” a Catholic priest asks Morrissey on page 61: “‘Mott the Hoople’,” I replied truthfully.”) But this feels like another book altogether, and not one that particularly suits him, because Morrissey doesn’t have Hunter’s talent for careless, almost accidental, prosaic revelation. After a few other diversions, Autobiography draws to a close with a sustained grumble about the unpleasantness of the immigration experience at American airports—true or not, we travelled 445 pages for this?—and finally a flowery grace note after a show late in 2011: a female voice calls out to him as he boards the tour bus.
“…and it was dark,” he writes, finally, “and I looked the other way.”
But its true end is surely the paragraph before where he declares—as rallying cry? Regret?—“It is quite true that I have never had anything in my life that I did not make for myself.”
Morrissey’s muse has sometimes stuttered in recent years but this deep into a pop music career, whose hasn’t? I last saw him play at Terminal 5 in New York last October, and there were certainly lumpy moments—the determinedly passionate grind through songs which are perfectly fine but that he clearly imagines or wishes to have a power and a grace and a magic that they simply don’t—but, my goodness, there were also moments when everything he had ever meant to me came rushing back: “Speedway”, “I Know It’s Over” and, at the end, “Still Ill”.
Reading Autobiography, I wondered how often they come rushing back to him. If you spend too much of your time defending your corner, perhaps there comes a point where you’ve spent so long fighting with your back to the treasure you were protecting that you begin to forget what it was that you were defending in the first place. Morrissey has never shied away from making clear how momentous he considers his contribution to the world of song, a cry that has usually been coupled with a lament at how woefully undervalued he is. Both notes are hit constantly in Autobiography, but over and over there is something missing (and one of the weirder ironies here is that the boy he describes in its compelling first third could have told him exactly what it is).
So how could it be that Morrissey the author did not notice the saddest message conveyed by Autobiography: that the man who now seems most in danger of undervaluing—or even at times overlooking altogether—the real substance and wonder of what Morrissey has done is Morrissey himself?
So recalls Mike Joyce on the beginning of his partnership with Andy . Arguably the gloomiest Smiths song of all, and the most neglected. . later derogation of the group's cockier numbers, and none the worse . “Marr's response was, 'It's not really about me, but I wish you the best of luck,'” explains Gill.
Morrissey performing in Seattle in March 2013. Mat Hayward/FilmMagic hide caption
Morrissey performing in Seattle in March 2013.Mat Hayward/FilmMagic
"Loudly and wildly the music played, always pointing to the light, to the way out, or the way in, to individualism, and to the remarkable if unsettling notion that life could possibly be lived as you might wish it to be lived."
This lovingly worded leitmotif of English pop singer Morrissey's Autobiography is not one of the more controversial or barbarous sentences in its 457 alternately inspiring and infuriating pages. Heaven knows there are plenty of those, and they're often indefensible, if at times bitchily amusing: "Her naked self probably kills off marine plankton in the North Sea," he writes of rock critic Julie Burchill. "Crucified by his own enormous teeth, Davis is further weighed down by a colony of purple boils decorating the back of his neck," he says of Nigel Davis, the lawyer who represented Mike Joyce, former drummer of the Smiths, who sued Morrissey and his songwriting collaborator, Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, for an equal share of performance and recording royalties. (This comes only six short sentences after Morrissey remarks that Davis possesses "a face I could never be cruel enough to describe.")
Yet there's plenty of cruelty amidst Autobiography, which should come as no surprise. It sits in the background of his greatest songs, provoking his protagonists to seek solace, however fleeting, in its opposite:compassion. Without it, Smiths classics like, "Hand in Glove," "This Charming Man," "How Soon Is Now?" and "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" wouldn't be nearly as poignant. It motivates the gravity of Morrissey's delivery, the moaning of his lower register and the minor keys that dominate Smiths and Morrissey solo material alike. And it animates his poetic overstatement: Every day is silent and grey in Morrisseyland, and, although we know that this cannot be true, we appreciate the darkness of his perspective, for it makes ours seem lighter. Yes, we're painfully aware that we should always look on the brighter side of life, but for those times when there's nothing more depressing than an optimist, Morrissey's our man.
Cruelty gets foregrounded in Autobiography — so much so that it's bound to test the patience of even the most forgiving Mozophile. A sensitive soul born into an insensitive world, Steven Patrick Morrissey had from early childhood his innocence crushed. Those who've never understood why such a quintessentially English singer would charm a disproportionately large Mexican-American fanbase might be surprised to read that his inner-city Manchester childhood was mired in poverty; routinely classmates fainted from malnutrition. Songs like "The Headmaster Ritual" come to life as Morrissey recalls routine floggings: "By 9:40 each morning, we shall all have witnessed several humiliating beatings at St Mary's, and this is how we begin our day of knowledge."
If Morrissey learned to be cruel early on, there's no evidence of it here, or even during the relatively brief passages devoted to his interactions with his fellow Smiths during their short but fruitful existence. Nevertheless, Morrissey's capacity for cutting remarks swells as the timeline extends through his solo career. It's not that his complaints aren't justified — nearly everything he's recorded sold a fraction of its artistic worth. But belaboring this while ranting endlessly about the incompetence of his record labels, and, particularly, the personal shortcomings of nearlyevery single one of his collaborators does grow wearisome.
For if you enjoy Morrissey enough to engage more than casually with him, chances are you also admire his cohorts, particularly his fellow former Smiths, whom at best he pays the briefest of compliments. Maybe it made him feel better to write page after page of score-settling lacerations. But reading them is only rarely illuminating, and even less fun. If he encountered anyone else writing the same kind of stuff about him, you can bet he'd be railing.
The passages that drew the most attention when the original UK edition of Autobiography was published last October are by contrast slim and far more refrained descriptions of two adult relationships with men — British photographer Jake Walters, whose intimate works adorn several Morrissey releases, and someone known only as "Gelato," a younger Italian — that were likely physical, and one with a woman, Iranian-American Tina Dehghani, that's characterized not by words of passion but by descriptions of domestic dependability. Re-edited just like recent reissues of Moz solo albums, the U.S. edition published Dec. 3 removes a photo of Walters, and pares down references to him even further. Conspicuously missing are most lines cited by The Observer, including one quoted in the paper's headline: "Morrissey describes moment 'the eternal "I" became "we."'" Such cowardice is out of character from the singer who wrote "This Charming Man" and paired much of the Smiths' output with imagery that might've been exotic to outsiders but instantly registered as drawn from gay culture by anyone who shares Morrissey's reference points.
That gleeful image of Truman Capote leaping across the sleeve of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side," the somber still of Candy Darling from Warhol's Women in Revolt that decorates "Sheila Take a Bow" — these are the shimmers of the light that led the singer through oppression's fog, and therein lies the beauty of Autobiography. For although Morrissey is less than generous with praise for his former colleagues, he's unreservedly bighearted toward his favorite films, actors, TV shows and above all, vinyl records. "Song made a difference to everything, and permitted expressions that otherwise had no way through," he notes, introducing the book's central theme. "All human activity is fruitless when pitted against the girls and boys singing on pop television," young Morrissey realizes, "for they have found the answer as the rest of us search for the question. I will sing, too. If not, I will have to die."
Morrissey jests darkly throughout, but he's serious here; life offers him no alternative. "If I can sing, I am free, and no legislation can stop me," he reasons, ever pointedly. Moz finds liberation even in the easy-listening command of Matt Monro, Shirley Bassey and Tommy Körberg, whose glitz paves the way for the glam-rockers who awaken possibilities previously suppressed. "As David Bowie appears, the child dies," he announces. "The vision is profound — a sanity heralding the coming of consciousness from someone who — at last! — transcends our gloomy coal-fire existence. David Bowie is detached from everything, yet open to everything; stripped of the notion that both art and life are impossible. He is quite real, impossibly glamorous, fearless, and quite British. How could this possibly be?"
Time and time again Morrissey zeroes in on gentlemen offering alternative masculinities. On the rare occasion that his attention drifts to footballers, it's to charismatic rebels like George Best. Morrissey treats his own success in school sports — yes, you read that right, sports, particularly track — as incidental. Far more attention is devoted to deconstructing Lost in Space, the camp '60s sci-fi TV show, which fascinated the author by setting Major Don West, "who is of track and field physical," against evil enemy agent Dr. Zachary Smith, whose voice, he writes, possesses "the caustic cattiness of a tetchy dowager rising in pitch as each line ends, hands a-flutter with away with you, my child intolerance." But here's the kicker: "My notepad resting on my lap takes the scribbles of unspoken truth: effeminate men are very witty, whereas macho men are duller than death."
No wonder Morrissey reveled in early '70s proto-punkers the New York Dolls — these urbane toughs in near-drag bring together what's femme and butch. "On face value, the Dolls are menacing rent boys who are forcing the world to deal with them," he quips, taking note of a music magazine headline of the time that warned, "Lock up your sons, it's the New York Dolls!" As he points out, these Dolls were ostensibly hetero, but the antagonism of their stance — rebelliousness through flamboyance, masculinity via femininity — stokes Moz's fire, and sets his mind dreaming. Breathlessly stream-of-conscious, Autobiography is entirely bereft of chapters; there's no index, and his opening paragraph is four-and-a-half pages long. But beloved topics like the Dolls ignite his most feverish prose: "Malodorously 24-carat, the Dolls are legless realism — wired and rigged honest trash scraped up off New York's back alleys, banished from the communities of the living."
By the time he and Marr had assembled the Smiths a decade later, MTV turned gender-benders like Boy George and Annie Lennox into superstars. Pop's closet doors still generally swung shut, but this second wave of Bowie-emboldened fops reveled in sexual ambiguity more emphatically than ever. The Smiths both reflected this freedom and stood apart from it. For although Morrissey dropped Oscar Wilde's name relentlessly and wielded gladioli onstage as if literally hitting people with flowers a la Lou Reed's "Vicious," the band's music and much of Morrissey's lyrics were far more akin to England's kitchen sink dramas of the late '50s and early '60s. Administering the grimly comedic verity of bitter pills like "Reel Around the Fountain," the Smiths offered rock's answer to UK playwright Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey.
That's a singular achievement — embracing a young woman's play about class, gender, race, sexual orientation, addiction and female desire, and cloaking its pioneering social realist aesthetic in traditional rock 'n' roll. Moz doesn't reveal how he and his bandmates did that, or how much of his solo career reflected influences blunter on the surface, yet similarly complex beneath, like the racial ambiguities of rockabilly, or the volatile vulnerability of James Dean. Even today Moz dodges pat delineations: A week after Autobiography's UK publication, Moz issued the statement, "Unfortunately, I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course ... not many, " which is simply the most Morrissey-esque statement of all time.
Yet the book rhapsodizes over one LGBT icon after the other — glam-rocker Jobriath, poet A. E. Housman, writer-activist James Baldwin and drag artist Lypsinka, to name four. It recounts with particular glee the moment when Richard Davalos, the bequiffed gallant who played Dean's brother in East of Eden, silently slips a ring on Moz's wedding finger backstage at a Smiths show. Just as Smiths sleeves revealed the stars of his own particular galaxy, Morrissey defines himself by whom he loves.
Most of us, like it or not, remain products of our environment, and we either resign ourselves to that fate, or spend a lifetime struggling to rise above it. There's ample evidence that Moz is, to quote his early song, still ill. His tome ends hollowly when the author documents one rapturous ovation after the other, as if gathering evidence that even though he can't find a major label to release his next album, he remains a living legend. We know this already.
Morrissey's prickly sensitivity was from the start threatening. In 1985, esteemed rock critic Robert Christgau wrote that "it begs for a belt in the chops." Even today it provokes a gay-bashing stance from some. Just last month, Pitchfork critic Ian Cohen characterized Moz torch bearers The Killers as "a band whose campiness often appears to be some sort of glandular problem rather than a product of artistic intent." As ever, the usual prescription for unconventional males is bullying, and, at its worst, Autobiography bullies back.
But itsmost finessed passages illustrate how its author adored the music and literature and films of his youth so very much that they radically altered the course of what would otherwise been an entirely grim destiny, not just for Moz, but for all those his willfully adversarial art touched. Re-radicalizing rock via the feminine, the queer and the downtrodden, and thereby preserving its status as the protest music of genuine outsiders, Moz remains a fighter, though he's a far more articulate lover.
"I'm holding the torch in the corner of your room," he sang in "Rubber Ring," the precursor to Terence Davies films like Distant Voices, Still Lives that illuminate how music cradles us through life's horrors. "Do you love me like you used to?" You make it hard, dear Morrissey, but some of us cannot do otherwise.
And, best of all, 25 years after walking away from your own band, you are finally going solo. Or, to quote Morrissey's publicist, “The Smiths are never, ever, ever, ever, Drummer Mike Joyce has not spoken to Johnny Marr since 1996, “I wish the very, very worst for Joyce for the rest of his life,” Moz told.