Morrissey A-Z: "Bobby, Don't You Think They Know?"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member



Today's A-Z entry is "Bobby, Don't You Think They Know?" - one of only 8 songs Morrissey has ever written (solo or Smiths) which end in a question mark. (Not including "Home Is a Question Mark", obvs.)

What do we think of this one?
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
@Ketamine Sun, do you have a valium on hand before I start posting in this thread?
Make that two, @Ketamine Sun .

I can hardly begin to describe the disappointment I felt upon hearing this for the first time. Nearly three years since his last album of original material, and this is the first single? I thought “don’t f***ing complain when this single doesn’t chart, you brought this on yourself.” It’s tuneless, the lyrics are gibberish and it goes on forever. But more than anything, it’s the overwhelming sense of disappointment. Like, maybe we’ve actually lost him this time. Maybe he is finished. Luckily, the album was quite strong. But releasing this as its lead single made no one keen on buying the album.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
For what it's worth, I really enjoy this song. Having spent 15 years or whatever craving some different sounds - other than the usual chug-rock mediocrity which plagues so much of his output from Quarry onwards - this song is an absolute blast of the band having fun and Morrissey singing a whole load of entertaining bollocks over the top of it. I like Thelma's vocals, they're great. I like that the song goes on for a while. There are way, way better songs on the album but this one makes me smile every time I hear it.
 

gordyboy9

its not me its you.
great song,both voices at the top of their game.instrumental bit in the middle with each person getting their own section reminds me of roxy music.would love to hear this with the voices taken out,the music sounds very bondish to me.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
The interest in this song at least helped to unearth her cover of Suedehead - which sits firmly in the odd choice to cover category, but is a known quantity now at least.
He clearly enjoyed working with her and the fact she isn't relegated to faded background vocals says a lot too.
The 'remix', well anyone's guess what happened there. - see download section 😉
The 'who is it about' was a novelty for a while and I enjoyed hearing it on the album, although seldom return to it through choice.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I didn't like it upon hearing it for the first time. It felt like more of that bloated bombast going nowhere. But ultimately, it is a grower and the instrumental part is the grooviest thing I ever heard on a Morrissey record and, for me, the best thing about the song. I also think this is one of the few occasions where they actually kept the contribution of the collaborator. And Thelma's voice adds a touch of soul and funk.

That being said, not sure it was a good idea to choose this song as the first teaser for the album. It is too long and not really representative of the album that was to come.
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
Another example of Moz the arch-contrarian, preceding a strong and engaging album with a weak and tedious single. It's the only one from 'IANADOAC' which I frequently skip. The backing vocals offer nothing except a migraine. The last time I listened it seemed to last about 9 minutes...perhaps it is just my age?
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I love it.

I love the strange wee scenario, I love that he's mostly singing a list of drugs & she's evangelical about it, I love that it's like a mad 60s song. It's fabulous.
 

MrShoes

"I need a bogle for my glotch!" - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
Like Mayfly stated above - its a grower, not a show-er for me. Electric keyboard/organ - what is this The Doors?! Perhaps we are all just starved for some new material at that point in time...

And as FWD eloquently put it - the novelty of a strong accompanying vocal - makes for strange bedfellows. Its practically a duet! When it plays, I don't shut it off, but don't move to hit repeat either. (I find I approach it like a dog, quizzically assessing a strange offer of food.)

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MrShoes
 

MrShoes

"I need a bogle for my glotch!" - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
I love it.

I love the strange wee scenario, I love that he's mostly singing a list of drugs & she's evangelical about it, I love that it's like a mad 60s song. It's fabulous.

There it is - a mad song from the Sixties! Peace & Love!
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
An impressive vocal arrangement, a good tune from Gustavo and a strong production make this one of the best sounding Moz songs in some time. It helps that both he and Ms. Houston are in great voice obviously.

One of the strongest tracks on the album and during a different era it might have been a hit.

In the poll on the other thread (due to the boost that new songs inevitably get) it ranked 8 from 264 solo songs.
 

born to mourn and yawn

Well-Known Member
A strong song (vocally and musically) which is highlighted best when listened to in the context of side A of the album.

There is an S/M-quality to it, with the repeated contrast of "torture" and "pleasure". (And whose initials could that be?).
Added to that is the "you can't hide it" and "we all know" contrast, someone with a need for secrecy or privacy in a totalitarian environment.

Songs from the former GDR show a similar conflict between acceptable meaning and "hidden messages" for those who knew the secret language.
 
J

Janice

Guest
Famous when Deed echoes my feelings. It’s decent on the album, but as a stand alone track, not one I’d return to.
But, Little Joe, in the snow :lbf:
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I don't really have any strong feelings regarding this song. When it was released, I played it incessantly, because it was new. I still like it in the context of the album, although even on there it's an odd one. I was glad that it sounded different from California Son, not because I didn’t like CS, but because I didn't want his own songs to have the same sound as the cover versions.

I remember being surprised by the groovines and I will never get over the alternate meaning of "White Mosquito" someone on here dug up when the lyrics were discussed. The lyrics are intriguing, some Lou Reed in there and they definitely expanded my horizon as far as drug related slang is concerned.

That 'organ'-section sounds like it was taken from some lost Doors track, a connection I never thought I'd find in a Morrissey song ("I don't think they even had hit singles").
I would actually like to hear a live version of this one at some point, the instrumental section offers a good opportunity for the band to shine and for Moz to rest his voice.
 
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M

Mozzer1980

Guest
Morrissey's perfect melodic vocal, interesting lyrics, great saxophone part, but nonetheless, Thelma Houston and her irritating way of singing make this song the weakest on the album, maybe one of the weakest Moz's ever recorded. It's a shame because the potential was in it .... oh yeah .... aha ... etc.
 

MrShoes

"I need a bogle for my glotch!" - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
I remember being surprised by the groovines and I will never get over the alternate meaning of "White Mosquito" someone on here dug up when the lyrics were discussed. The lyrics are intriguing, some Lou Reed in there and they definitely expanded my horizon as far as drug related slang is concerned.
Christ - its as if Moz just pulls his lyrical vocabulary online from the Urban Dictionary!

If you like this song, just wait for his next love-ballad, "I Once Wished Upon a Cleveland Steamer."
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Christ - its as if Moz just pulls his lyrical vocabulary online from the Urban Dictionary!

If you like this song, just wait for his next love-ballad, "I Once Wished Upon a Cleveland Steamer."
Oh no.
 
A

Anonymoos

Guest
For what it's worth, I really enjoy this song. Having spent 15 years or whatever craving some different sounds - other than the usual chug-rock mediocrity which plagues so much of his output from Quarry onwards - this song is an absolute blast of the band having fun and Morrissey singing a whole load of entertaining bollocks over the top of it. I like Thelma's vocals, they're great. I like that the song goes on for a while. There are way, way better songs on the album but this one makes me smile every time I hear it.
Pretty much sums up my feelings. I wasn't so keen first time I heard it, but once I got over the fact I was actually hearing some new sounds I embraced it, and it's great fun. Finally Moz was doing something different. Probably a lousy choice as a single though, as it's more of an album track groover.
 
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