The first time I heard We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful was when he announced that he was going to play a new song during his gig at The Aragon Ballroom in Chicago in the Autumn of 1991.
I can’t really recall what I thought of the song that first time. The gig was so exciting. We’d ditched school to queue up outside all day - singing Smiths & Moz songs to fend off the chill of the impending Windy City Winter - & managed to rush in & claim our seats on the front row. Morrissey was a flailing ball of energy & it was the most exciting gig I’ve ever been to. So, in the middle of this frenzied gig this new song flew by in no time, leaving me no time to really assess it properly; all I really caught was the title & the laughing chorus.
When I later got my imported copies of N.M.E & Melody Maker from Reckless Records, & read the review of it as his latest single, they slated it, saying the band were searching for & failing to find a tune, & that the song was a joke, and that Morrissey had hit a new low (or something along those lines).
This didn’t stop me from buying it (again, on expensive imported 12”, & whilst it wasn’t my favourite single of his, & I didn’t care too much for the live b-sides (give us new songs, Moz!) it’s a song that has really grown on me over the years. I like this funny, bitchy side of Moz & the lyrics are hilarious (“They say it could’ve been me, it should’ve been me, everybody knows, everybody says so, they say oh, you’ve got loads of songs, so many songs, more songs than they can stand: verse, chorus, middle eight, break, fade, just listen…”) & I often find myself singing it to myself at work.
A song only Morrissey would write. And the best of the 3 singles from Your Arsenal. You’re the One For Me, Fatty & Certain People I Know are just too slight lyrically & say almost nothing; at least We Hate It….has a clear intention delivered with wit.
I was really surprised & happy to see that he recently added it to his live set (along with Our Frank) & hope he plays it in the U.K later this year.
What I’d really LOVE to hear him play live again, though, is Pregnant for the Last Time, but I doubt that would ever happen.