Morrissey A-Z: "I Am Not a Dog on a Chain"

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Trans

Guest
I don’t think the musics confusing at all as it pretty brilliant how it starts build force and then drops it all for the lighter side again (maybe reflects the ranges of emotion his refusal takes). His vocal delivery is also pretty fantastic running between cheeky and serious. This was kind of a great reveal when the album came out as we all thought it was gonna be sorrow all over or something worse and grow I fly somber and bombastic and instead we got this. Instead of grumbling like an old man or writing some over wrought tortured song about his frustration he sort of came back at the criticism by musically sticking his younger out. Knockabout world also I think continues this vibe
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
Yes, quite like this little ditty, except when it explodes after 2 minutes and at the end. That kind of ruins it for me, and never got the Canada Goose-reference.

“I will not change and I will not be nice” is a point he made before, and more eloquently ;)

7,2
I understand the Canada goose part as a way of saying that people who hate him because of his views might kill him in the same cruel way as Canada goose. So he sneaked in a reference to his favorite animal rights theme.

I also think the shouty bits or dog bites appropriately express the anger in the words.
 
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BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
If The Smiths were still around and released an album last year, I could easily believe that this would be on it.

It has a faint Frankly Mr. Shankley/Vicar In A Tutu swing to it.
Oh definitely, re the music!

But the lyrics on this one are so far beneath the wit and charm of those songs, as huggably daft as they are.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Oh definitely, re the music!

But the lyrics on this one are so far beneath the wit and charm of those songs, as huggably daft as they are.

Huggably daft! :D

Quite right.

I'll take "huggably daft" over "dead serious and accusatory" (like some stuff on LIHS) any day.
 
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Bazil Pickle

Guest
I understand the Canada goose part as a way of saying that people who hate him because of his views might kill him in the same cruel way as Canada goose. So he sneaked in a reference to his favorite animal rights theme.

I also think the shouty bits or dog bites appropriately express the anger in the words.
Or maybe I'll be skinned alive
By Canada goose
Because of my views
Because of the truth
Because of my fleece

After You See These Pictures, You’ll Return Your Canada Goose Jacket

Well said/sang Moz.
 
T

Trans

Guest
I don’t think the musics confusing at all as it pretty brilliant how it starts build force and then drops it all for the lighter side again (maybe reflects the ranges of emotion his refusal takes). His vocal delivery is also pretty fantastic running between cheeky and serious. This was kind of a great reveal when the album came out as we all thought it was gonna be sorrow all over or something worse and grow I fly somber and bombastic and instead we got this. Instead of grumbling like an old man or writing some over wrought tortured song about his frustration he sort of came back at the criticism by musically sticking his younger out. Knockabout world also I think continues this vibe

sorry this has more typos than usual. I’ll at least change one. I thought it was cool that morrissey came back at the criticism by musically sticking his tongue out at them
 

Mike Rourke

Active Member
The music might be really good on this one. But ... the words are so awful, I just can't sit through it. This also applies to about 5 songs on 'High School' but thankfully only this one on 'Dog on a Chain' - just a shame he named the album after it. Knockabout World would have been a decent title and at least named after a great song.
 
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Verso

Well-Known Member
I thought crooning the words "mainstream media" would be Morrissey's lyrical nadir, but this song had to come along and set the bar even lower. You'd have to be in elementary school to find this shit insightful in any way. Which is a shame, because the music is the jauntiest thing he'd been handed in a while.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
The music might be really good on this one. But ... the words are so awful, I just can't sit through it. This also applies to about 5 songs on 'High School' but thankfully only one on 'Dog on a Chain' - just a shame he named the album after it. Knockabout World would have been a decent title and at least named after a great song.

Since the title Knockabout World seems to have been lifted from an essay on writer Patrick White (which also mentions Kenneth Williams and Polari), it wouldn't have been the most original title...

See chapter 11 here

KnockaboutWorld.jpeg
 
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The words are a little cringy. I don't know what he's supposed to do though, because I think everyone expects Morrissey to write songs reflecting his experiences and it may be even weird for him not to get into this territory. I guess that used to be more ambiguous and poetic than something like this. I enjoy that the music is surprisingly silly, with a childlike melody and bounce.
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH #FBPB
Does he have a niece?
 

JJKelsall

Member
This song reminds me a lot of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now". Very on the nose lyrics that, if you take them too seriously it becomes almost unbearably cringe-inducing. I appreciate the sentiments of both songs, but the lyrics are just too forthright and they come across as awkward in places. When I listen to both of these songs, I like to think that there is at least an element of self-deprecation and parody in there, which, if true, makes the bluntness of the lyrics a little more bearable. In the case of "Dog on a Chain", the musical backing and Morrissey's vocals do suggest an air of silliness, so to some extent I think not taking the song too seriously is the right approach.

That isn't to say that Morrissey isn't being sincere in this or "Heaven Knows", but that both songs are a mixture of sincerity and self-parody.
 
I find Heaven Knows to be a hilarious song from top to bottom, but Dog On A Chain seems to be using some witty wordplay to make what is to Morrissey a very serious point.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
For me this song probably benefits from the goodwill I feel towards this record. I like every song and I'd started to wonder if there was going to be another Morrissey record I could say that about.
I kind of dreaded hearing this based on the title. It turns out to be this strange little song that kind of bounces along at the start like a nursery rhyme as Gordy said, and then gets really weird with that too short guitar solo. Unlike Bookish Boy I like the "shouty bits" and think they're better than the parts that lead up to it.
I'd prefer it if the drums were a little looser, more Keith Moon than this rigid timekeeping we get.
Others have said the lyrics are kind of cringeworthy and that's definitely true in places but as Nerak and GirlAfraidWNL wrote, it kind of adds to the overall feel of the song. It's weird Morrissey being weird. That's a good thing. One of the great things about Morrissey's music in general is the variety and the many unusual songs that all work.
I get the Kill Uncle comparisons, too. It's a quirky song.
I like the music better than the lyrics, and if we consider the singing part of the music I like it too, except the bouncy part at the beginning.
It's a weird song and a strange choice for a title song but I think that the title is almost the point and all of the stuff about not reading the newspaper is just there because some lyrics were needed.
It's a short song and I like the songs on either side of it. plus the music keeps changing and there are some really interesting bits in it. If it was ten minutes long I'm not sure I'd feel as generous.
I'm surprised how many people really love it. I kind of thought of it as the weakest song on the record but listening to it several times on its own and reading the comments here I did start to appreciate it more.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Lyrically, this isn't great, continuing the descent into paranoid 'alternative facts' that started on 'Spent the Day in Bed', and some of the rhymes just seem random and clumsy ('Because of my fleece, because of my niece' is just downright embarrassing). What saves the song and stops it from becoming unbearable, is that it is sung so lightly, and set over such a jaunty little tune. It's a great contrast, and stops it feeling like the Trumpian/David Ike rant that it is.

By the way - what are people's reading of the lyrics at the end?:

The dead are dead
Ice cold and hard
To where they can't be overcharged
They have no breath
They have no eyes
At least they won't be going twice


Ignoring the awkward grammar of the third line, I had trouble initially wondering what this had to do with the rest of the song. Now I'm thinking maybe he's talking about himself - having already 'died' socially and commercially from having shared his views, and then being ostracised and cancelled by so many people, he has no further fear of what people say about him. Or am I completely misreading this?
 
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