‘FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT’

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Or in this case … First thought, best lyric (?)


Though it didn’t happen suddenly, there has been a change of direction in Morrissey’s lyric writing. He has also begun to mention some of The Beats during this time, which made me think of this ….


"First thought, best thought." This was the phrase that poet Allen Ginsberg used to describe spontaneous and fearless writing, a way of telling the truth that arises from naked and authentic experience.’

I have more thoughts on this, but let’s start there. What do you think?
 

Aubrey McFate

Burn down the disco
The lyric-writing has definitely shown more brevity and repetition in recent years. I don't dislike it. But if he is more into Ginsberg now, then I hope he also begins to borrow from Ginsberg's long-winded, meandering, stream-of-consciousness style. I would not object to getting another Late Night, Maudlin Street out of him. On another thread, Morrissey was accused of exploiting his mother's death on his website. That is arguable, but I wonder if he will honor her in a song. Ginsberg of course wrote the very long Kaddish for his own mother. Some of the lines are suggestive of Morrissey's tendencies towards apocalypticism and resignation.

And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember, prophesy as in the Hebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of Answers—and my own imagination of a withered leaf—at dawn—
Dreaming back thru life, Your time—and mine accelerating toward Apocalypse,
the final moment—the flower burning in the Day—and what comes after
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
The days of Maladjusted and Maudlin Street type of long-winding, introspective, almost stream-of-consciousness writing is long gone. He became more frank and to the point on Quarry, with great success, but that has since devolved into blunt, coarse, repetitive and on-the-nose-type lyrics that sometimes shows signs of brilliance but often does not. I miss his poetry, his metaphors, his finesse. For the longest time, there was no one (or at least very few) that could touch him.

He touches on the old greatness on I Live In Oblivion, but those lyrics definitely would have benefited from a bit more substance. It seems like he doesn’t really work on his lyrics as much anymore. 1997 Moz would not have settled for the current set of lyrics for either IAV, ILIO or BOT.
 

skull

Active Member
I don't like it when first and second verse are the same. Repetition is just lazy and for me it ruins the song.
I add I don't like it when he repeats exactly a sentence within the same verse: it misses the occasion to deepen or to give a significative nuance to the message. It is just lazy.
 
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H

Hod

Guest
Great idea for a topic.

I've noticed his continued use of lists since World Peace, or at least repetition of a lyrical idea (Jim Jim Falls "if you're gonna jump then jump, if you're gonna live then live...). I'd like to think is intentional, whether it comes off or not.

I'm a bit tired and not up to my best, but Jim Jim Falls, Neal Cassady Drops Dead, What Kind of People, Spent the Day in Bed (no bus, no boss...), I Wish You Lonely (monarchy, oligarch, head of state, potentate) all come to mind.

I'm could be wrong but it's felt more prevalent, for better and for worse, and it certainly feels like it has Beat generation origins from my limited reading.
 

Barking

Okay, Boomerrissey.
The lyrics have for a while seemed to be written to not be beyond the intellectual grasp of uninformed inebriated Mexican gang members and disgruntled rambling affluent boomers. Being myself neither of those things (and Morrissi being both now), I really have no interest.

I have just noticed he's changed his trolling targets. Good, that was getting tiresome.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
To me that sounds like trying to turn laziness into a method. The new batch of lyrics sounds like Morrissey wrote each one of them in ten minutes flat. I'm not really a fan of Beat poets nor know their methods, but this Ginsberg idea sounds like producing pages of material and then finding the best parts among these "instant thoughts".

Although I do admit that all the songs sound much better even in those low-quality YouTube clips. Morrissey's phrasing and how he accentuates the words really improves the lyrics, which are really flat on their own. (No wonder Pulp used to always put the warning "DO NOT READ THE LYRICS WITHOUT LISTENING TO THE SONGS" on their lyric booklets). But they still need more work. There is no comparison between any of these songs and the truly brave and complex November Spawned a Monster, which in my opinion is one of the greatest song lyrics ever.
 
Your royalties bring you luxuries...

and so with it, laziness.

For me, I started noticing the repetition on Southpaw where he tried to sell a version of himself as an East End hard man, which was rightly mocked in the press.

It was almost as if only sissies write poetry. me is a tough guy, me like boxing, me have skinhead mates that will shank you. etc

Then he delivered '...I want to start from before the beginning...' and it seemed he still had a lyric in him.

On Quarry, Ringpiece and even Refusal, he still had a lyric in him.

World Peace had 'I'm Not A Man'

Low in High School had 'I Bury The Lyric'

Dog had 'Once I Saw The River Clean'

So he can still write a storyteller lyric but a lot of his subtlety has been lost because 'no-one's around to say no' anymore.
 

Bonaparte Shandy

Active Member
Interesting idea. Lyrically, he's basically a one-trick pony. When the inspiration came from his experiences as a stick-thin layabout in Manchester, it was new and interesting. The problem now, almost 50 years later, is that there's never been a real or convincing shift away from that first-person reflection. Who really cares what a pumped-up bore from LA really thinks about anything anymore?
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
I just listened to Istanbul and while it not may be masterful, there are still strong images and feeling in that song. Like these poetic images:

On secret streets in disbelief
Little shadow shows the lead
Prostitutes; stylish and glum
In amongst them you are one
Oh, what have I done?


I remember Ket writing that s/he found the lines about the girl leaving for the concert in BOT beautiful and evocative, but to me they are very rote images. There is not one detail there to really paint the picture. Istanbul is only 8 years old, so the talent must be still there, but for some reason Morrissey just doesn't seem to reach for it in the same way.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
Your royalties bring you luxuries...

and so with it, laziness.

For me, I started noticing the repetition on Southpaw where he tried to sell a version of himself as an East End hard man, which was rightly mocked in the press.

It was almost as if only sissies write poetry. me is a tough guy, me like boxing, me have skinhead mates that will shank you. etc

Then he delivered '...I want to start from before the beginning...' and it seemed he still had a lyric in him.

On Quarry, Ringpiece and even Refusal, he still had a lyric in him.

World Peace had 'I'm Not A Man'

Low in High School had 'I Bury The Lyric'

Dog had 'Once I Saw The River Clean'

So he can still write a storyteller lyric but a lot of his subtlety has been lost because 'no-one's around to say no' anymore.
World Peace also had Mountjoy, Art-Hounds and Forgive Someone -- and the whole album showed Morrissey striving for new themes and new words in how to express them. Once I Saw the River Clean is indeed a great lyric (& a great song), which might be because it's looking back at his childhood, but while The Secret of Music is not exactly great, there's joy and whimsy in there. Unlike in Live in Oblivion and Sure Enough which don't really expand on their potentially interesting premise.
 

Aubrey McFate

Burn down the disco
Lyrically, he's basically a one-trick pony. When the inspiration came from his experiences as a stick-thin layabout in Manchester, it was new and interesting. The problem now, almost 50 years later, is that there's never been a real or convincing shift away from that first-person reflection. Who really cares what a pumped-up bore from LA really thinks about anything anymore?

But that's just it—I don't think he is a bore. Many on here seem to revile him for becoming one-dimensional: all bitterness and spite, with nothing as leaven. Some even say he is deranged. These things might be true. But because he is Morrissey, it's fascinating. It's very possible that Morrissey has entered a dark phase (1/3rd Syd Barrett, 1/3rd Howard Hughes, and one-third Bobby Fischer), where he believes way too much of his own legend, is surrounded by dull sycophants, and is guided almost entirely by his passions. I get the impression he drinks more than he reads.

And speaking of tippling, and Beats, I'm curious to hear Kerouac's Crack, because Morrissey's late period is eerily not unlike Kerouac's, particularly insofar as certain people see him as turning against what they thought he had once stood for. Kerouac was considered a traitor to the Beat spirit because he despised the hippie movement, and Morrissey is seen by some as "the Oswald Mosley of pop" because he has not cottoned to wokeness and lashes out on delicate subjects. Kerouac liked Wm. F. Buckley, and Morrissey likes Anne Marie Waters. One possible difference here, though, is that Kerouac returned to the Roman Catholicism of his youth, whereas we have yet to hear Saint In A Stained Glass Window to see if Morrissey is headed in that direction.

What I think is valuable about this period of Morrissey's career, even if he has lost his talent for the witty Wildean touch, is that this recalcitrant phase is so timely. It is exactly the thing needed as love is on its way out for good and the world slouches toward its doom. If the lyrics to the new songs are considered too simplistic, for me they are nevertheless pitch-perfect, with their themes of sad nostalgia, end-of-life indignities, and moronic masses singing and swaying for the gooey goo-goo of love, peace, & harmony, while the children of this generation are fated to live in a literal and figurative inferno before "the earth, and the sea, and time shall be no longer, and the mystery of God shall be finished." Even in insanity, and even with his lyrical gifts in decline, Morrissey is ever perceptive.
 
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Aubrey McFate

Burn down the disco
I don’t think there’s any question that the lyrics these days are a bit more hit and miss and, perhaps, less agonised over and less quotable, but the voice is what keeps me gripped. The tone, the expression. Even when he’s singing someone else’s words.

Yes, the voice is truly undiminished; rich and expressive as always. No one can find fault in the singing, even if they care to find fault in every other aspect.
 
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Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Morrissey has always used this technique which I love. A brilliant way to make a point stronger.

Morrissey was using repetition early on, lines repeated back to back. Along with that unique voice, this stuck out to me when I first heard The Smiths. In songs like Reel Around The Fountain, I Don’t Owe You Anything and I Want The One I Can’t Have, to name a few. I thought how odd, it worked, and drew me in.

2-3 years after getting into The Smiths & Morrissey, I finally got my hands on some LUDUS records, and discovered that Linder also used lots of repetition. Could it be that she had even more of an influence on him than we could have thought?







 
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Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Your royalties bring you luxuries...

and so with it, laziness.

For me, I started noticing the repetition on Southpaw where he tried to sell a version of himself as an East End hard man, which was rightly mocked in the press.

It was almost as if only sissies write poetry. me is a tough guy, me like boxing, me have skinhead mates that will shank you. etc

Then he delivered '...I want to start from before the beginning...' and it seemed he still had a lyric in him.

On Quarry, Ringpiece and even Refusal, he still had a lyric in him.

World Peace had 'I'm Not A Man'

Low in High School had 'I Bury The Lyric'

Dog had 'Once I Saw The River Clean'

So he can still write a storyteller lyric but a lot of his subtlety has been lost because 'no-one's around to say no' anymore.


Who said ‘no’ to him before ?
 
I

IFellIntheFountain

Guest
There Was a Light But I Think It’s Gone Out



I feel a sad disconnect when I hear the latest quintet from M.

Listening to the meanderings of his maudlin mind I can’t help feeling that the new songs are somehow lost in translation.

I could happily relate to his previous material from the albums WPINOYB LIHS and IANADOAC

I feel that these past contributions held out a somewhat whimsical hope, if you hacked through the hideous honesty he sang of life, there was at least a glimmer of humour, and a satisfied aftertaste of tongue in cheekiness

Have we not been saturated enough within our public consciousness by headlines which horrify? I’m referring of course to BOT

Yes I understand that artists are here to disturb the peace but wasn’t it
M who once warned us all regarding “the propaganda” of the “mainstream media”

He seems to need a bite of that poison apple to make himself feel relevant, I personally find that very hard to swallow.

Miles Cyrus? Dear God please help me.

The new songs seem a little clumsy, hastily complied.

I sense a haphazard hopelessness.

Lyrically I find the new songs lacklustre, as if clutching at straws.

Having always been an intensely, intent listener and careful student of his words for many decades, ( I quit listening for around 15 years and came back) I was eventually reignited by the triumphant FOTGTD.

It made my heart soar when he surged along with that grating vibrating guitar.

The sorry realisation now sets in and My love affair: which I believed was an Everlasting love, (pun intended) or the spell I fell under with M culminates and I am Disappointed 😞 and regrettably “I know it’s over” “It’s over” and it’s only taken 20 years 7 months and 27 days.

“He stole from the rich and the poor and the not very rich and the very poor and he’s thrown our hearts away”

But why should I mind, why should I care? I am nobody’s nothing.
 

T. H. Auden

Well-Known Member
There Was a Light But I Think It’s Gone Out



I feel a sad disconnect when I hear the latest quintet from M.

Listening to the meanderings of his maudlin mind I can’t help feeling that the new songs are somehow lost in translation.

I could happily relate to his previous material from the albums WPINOYB LIHS and IANADOAC

I feel that these past contributions held out a somewhat whimsical hope, if you hacked through the hideous honesty he sang of life, there was at least a glimmer of humour, and a satisfied aftertaste of tongue in cheekiness

Have we not been saturated enough within our public consciousness by headlines which horrify? I’m referring of course to BOT

Yes I understand that artists are here to disturb the peace but wasn’t it
M who once warned us all regarding “the propaganda” of the “mainstream media”

He seems to need a bite of that poison apple to make himself feel relevant, I personally find that very hard to swallow.

Miles Cyrus? Dear God please help me.

The new songs seem a little clumsy, hastily complied.

I sense a haphazard hopelessness.

Lyrically I find the new songs lacklustre, as if clutching at straws.

Having always been an intensely, intent listener and careful student of his words for many decades, ( I quit listening for around 15 years and came back) I was eventually reignited by the triumphant FOTGTD.

It made my heart soar when he surged along with that grating vibrating guitar.

The sorry realisation now sets in and My love affair: which I believed was an Everlasting love, (pun intended) or the spell I fell under with M culminates and I am Disappointed 😞 and regrettably “I know it’s over” “It’s over” and it’s only taken 20 years 7 months and 27 days.

“He stole from the rich and the poor and the not very rich and the very poor and he’s thrown our hearts away”

But why should I mind, why should I care? I am nobody’s nothing.
Why do you have to make a paragraph for every sentence, are you such an important person?
 
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