Fiona Dodwell: "Ringleader in Reflection: A Look Back at Morrissey’s 2006 Album, Ringleader of The Tormentors" (March 31, 2021)

1*jDZZ-lmwb1XVZbQnbKQrgA.jpeg


Ringleader in Reflection: A Look Back at Morrissey’s 2006 Album, Ringleader of The Tormentors


Screenshot_20210331-194756~2.png


Regards,
FWD.


Related item:
 

Thewlis

Junior Member
15 years already... Great article and a fine album, though far from my favourite.

His last album to make number 1 in the UK.
 

gordyboy9

its not me its you.
as i always say,its easy to criticise,lets face it people on here hate her for who she is and it doesnt matter what she writes it will always be criticised by skinflint and his cohorts.
i would like to see one other person give their own reflections on ringleader so we can see the utter genius that hangs around here.
 

Ryan

Moderator
Moderator
Subscriber
The only song I’ve really loved from this album is “Hero Now”.
 

A Man Escaped

Well-Known Member
"Whilst fans of the music legend have followed him through his journey from frontman of iconic band The Smiths, to the undeniable greatness of his later work, such as I Am Not A Dog On A Chain and Low In High School,"

That's as far as I got.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
as i always say,its easy to criticise,lets face it people on here hate her for who she is and it doesnt matter what she writes it will always be criticised by skinflint and his cohorts.
i would like to see one other person give their own reflections on ringleader so we can see the utter genius that hangs around here.
Vanilla elevator music with shite, trite lyrics.

We good?
 
C

Charlie Muggins

Guest
ROTT if I'd been in charge might have been this:

You Have Killed Me
Ganglord
Good Looking Man About Town
If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look at Me
Dear God Please Help Me
On the Streets I Ran
The Father Who Must Be Killed
Life Is a Pigsty
I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now
Christian Dior
At Last I Am Born
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
"Whilst fans of the music legend have followed him through his journey from frontman of iconic band The Smiths, to the undeniable greatness of his later work, such as I Am Not A Dog On A Chain and Low In High School,"

That's as far as I got.

I love his later work!!!!
 

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
We used to get the elongated elegant joy of words from Bracewell.

Now, we have to endure the bland blah of Dodwell.

It's really too beige to even hate. It's just...nothing.

.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
as i always say,its easy to criticise,lets face it people on here hate her for who she is and it doesnt matter what she writes it will always be criticised by skinflint and his cohorts.
i would like to see one other person give their own reflections on ringleader so we can see the utter genius that hangs around here.
I can't hate her for who she is because I have no idea who she is. And hate would be more of a reaction than she deserves really.
It's true that anyone that is photographed with Morrissey, mentioned by Morrissey, or writes about Morrissey is generally reviled here for various reasons, possibly including jealousy. But it does seem like her purpose is mostly to flatter Morrissey and defend him from his enemies, most of whom are imaginary. She doesn't seem that insightful or knowledgeable and much more interesting things are written here, sometimes even by you. :thumb:
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
I love his later work!!!!
I agree. He’s hit a real purple patch recently. World Peace, California Son and Dog are all five star efforts. And LIHS deserves recognition for its musical experiments.

Ringleader, however, isn’t great.

I remember Oasis getting lukewarm reviews for their first two very good albums. They sold millions and critics looked foolish and out of touch, and so the third album was gifted incredibly high praise by journalists (some laughably described it as ‘an instant classic’). It turned out that Be Here Now was actually a poor album. I’m sharing this because I think it goes some way to explaining why Ringleader was well received: Quarry is a much better album, but it wasn’t exactly showered with praise when it came out. But the public had the last word—and the critics seemed obsolete and degraded.

The positivity around Ringleader was surely a rearguard reaction to try and recover some tarnished critical reputations: Paul Morley’s gushing review (in The Observer, I think) was even more fawning and self serving than Fiona’s rose-tinted account of this album.

In 2004, it seemed like Morrissey was on the threshold of becoming an A-list artist. When I first listened to Ringleader, in 2006, I heard the sound of the wheels falling off.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I agree. He’s hit a real purple patch recently. World Peace, California Son and Dog are all five star efforts. And LIHS deserves recognition for its musical experiments.

Ringleader, however, isn’t great.

I remember Oasis getting lukewarm reviews for their first two very good albums. They sold millions and critics looked foolish and out of touch, and so the third album was gifted incredibly high praise by journalists (some laughably described it as ‘an instant classic’). It turned out that Be Here Now was actually a poor album. I’m sharing this because I think it goes some way to explaining why Ringleader was well received: Quarry is a much better album, but it wasn’t exactly showered with praise when it came out. But the public had the last word—and the critics seemed obsolete and degraded.

The positivity around Ringleader was surely a rearguard reaction to try and recover some tarnished critical reputations: Paul Morley’s gushing review (in The Observer, I think) was even more fawning and self serving than Fiona’s rose-tinted account of this album.

In 2004, it seemed like Morrissey was on the threshold of becoming an A-list artist. When I first listened to Ringleader, in 2006, I heard the sound of the wheels falling off.

I know what you mean, but I'm fond of it & the wheels coming off probably is his brand.

I think he's an important artist rather than an A-list entertainer, which he doesn't have the constitution or the instantly crowd pleasing hits for.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
I personally prefer Ringleader to You are the Quarry, but they are both superior to the two albums that had gone previously.

Ringleader is a little more varied and ambitious than its predecessor (particularly Dear God and Pigsty), and the lyrics are not so obsessed with the court case.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I know what you mean, but I'm fond of it & the wheels coming off probably is his brand.

I think he's an important artist rather than an A-list entertainer, which he doesn't have the constitution or the instantly crowd pleasing hits for.

I don't think he ever wanted to be a mainstream entertainer. He hates the business and whenever he came close to it, the good old 'unlimited self-sabotage' made sure he wouldn't make it to the top.
It's at the very core of his being. And strangely, I love him for that.
 

Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
I don't think he ever wanted to be a mainstream entertainer. He hates the business and whenever he came close to it, the good old 'unlimited self-sabotage' made sure he wouldn't make it to the top.
It's at the very core of his being. And strangely, I love him for that.
Absolute cobblers. How many times have we seen him complain he's not top of the charts? In particular the leaked e-mail. He CRAVES mainstream recognition. Only thing is he's shot himself in the foot and no one else is to blame
 

Ben Budd

Well-Known Member
I love ROTT. It's probably my favourite post-comeback album, with World Peace a close second. The production really adds to the LP for me, and Pigsty acting as a pivot in the middle of the album hasn't been topped either before or after. Only one or two duds that probably shouldn't have made it, but what an album, and what a tour afterwards. Good memories of wasting my student loan on rail and gig tickets.

You can never go back home again.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
15 years? Perfect timing for a vinyl reissue (with identical cover and track listing). Now that would be great news.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Absolute cobblers. How many times have we seen him complain he's not top of the charts? In particular the leaked e-mail. He CRAVES mainstream recognition. Only thing is he's shot himself in the foot and no one else is to blame

Yeah, but only until he gets it.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
My two pennies worth:

As an album, Ringleader is a work of extremes. Some parts are sublime. Morrissey's vocals in general here are impressive, especially the high parts. Some of the lyrics are much better than what he wrote on Quarry. It produced some very strong singles and at least two essential classics in Dear God Please Help Me and Life Is A Pigsty.
But there are too many songs on there that I don't care about. I can't say the same about Quarry, which is also a flawed album, but the songs, even the not-great-ones, have more personality.

The biggest issue for me personally is the hollow, tinny sound on Ringleader though. I just really, really dislike it. And that's why I rarely play it. It's not the songwriting or musicianship.

I really want to like the album, because everything else about it appeals to me - the look, THE HAIR, the Roman background, the references and iconography, the lyrical themes, even the band probably never looked better. An album about love and death and desire and guilt recorded in Rome by a recently liberated Morrissey in his mid-40s should be phenomenal, outclassing anything he's done before or after. But it isn't. At least not for me.
 
Last edited:

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
I know what you mean, but I'm fond of it & the wheels coming off probably is his brand.

I think he's an important artist rather than an A-list entertainer, which he doesn't have the constitution or the instantly crowd pleasing hits for.
The ‘self-sabotage’ does his working-class credentials no harm at all: he is profoundly Colin Smith. But by 2006 it was losing its romance for me: I wanted Morrissey to breakthrough like Richard Burton, rather than fall short like Tom Courtney.
 
Tags
fiona dodwell

Trending Threads

Top Bottom