Morrissey A-Z: "November Spawned a Monster"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member


Today's song is this Morrissey/Langer composition, released as as single in April 1990 and reaching #12 on the UK chart.

What do we think of this one?
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
Get your band-aids out and get ready to hump a rock. This is one of his weirdest and greatest songs and videos. Also one of the first times I remember reading about him being politically incorrect. In Spin magazine at the time someone wrote in about the line "a hostage to kindness and the wheels underneath her" being a terrible thing to say about someone who uses a wheelchair, because this person saw it as a mobility device and not a symbol of disability.
This was one of the highlights when I saw him live a long time ago. During the part where the strange sounds are happening he was flopping around on the stage monitors and my friend and I were both impressed.
"If the lights were out would you even dare to kiss her full on the mouth or anywhere" is one of my favorite lines he's ever written. It's funny and kind of makes you feel guilty and I like that combination. "At Amber" is okay but when I want a Morrissey song about disability I choose this one.
10/10
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Just a ridiculously great pop single. Imagine a song (and video) this strange getting to #12 in the charts!

(And I'm eternally grateful to Morrissey for alerting me to the genius Mary Margaret O'Hara and her Miss America album.)
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
What is there to say about this all-time classic? An amazing feat of pop genius, with experimental touches seeping in through the gaps. Nothing sounded quite like it at the time, and it remains unique now. Once again, the potential for misinterpretation of the lyrics seems high, but the closing exhalations seem to determine a positive, sympathetic reading (as if we’d expect anything else...). The music is fantastic, darting between bouncing boogie, eerie guitar noise and Middle Eastern motifs punctuated by the pregnant yelps of the great Mary Margaret O’Hara. Some would say never bettered - sometimes I would have to agree. It is certainly very high on my list of Moz favourites.
10/10
 

Bluebirds

Well-Known Member
This is the first Morrissey single I bought (even before I acquired Smiths stuff) back in 1990. It will always hold a special place in my heart. I was beyond ecstatic when he played it at the London Palladium in 2018. It seemed to be the perfect circle of my Morrissey fandom, as I do find him rather objectionable nowadays. Sorry but I do.
 

Nikita

Senior Member
I remember buying it too and being completely baffled as the music was completely different from what Morrissey used to sing over. I finally adored it despite the ridiculous video.
 

Oh my

Enough! or Too much
A perfect song... but let's fight between the ones who consider that it's 100% based on the Hermaphrodite of Lautreamont and those who don't.

I am into the Lautreamont team.

Mary M. O'Hare did something AMAZING there... just like LP did something amazing in "It's Over". It's one of his best songs for sure.

I never got why "November"... Anyone has a crazy idea why NOVEMBER spawned this monster and not August or May or any other month? I assume it's a reference to... someone, but hard to know whom (Morrissey was not born during a November, so obviously not a self-reference).
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I think it's all been said in the above posts: classic, genius, weird, ridiculously great, unique.
It truly is an outrageously brilliant masterpiece, & one which only Moz could bring to the world.
Utterly amazing.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
A perfect song... but let's fight between the ones who consider that it's 100% based on the Hermaphrodite of Lautreamont and those who don't.

I am into the Lautreamont team.

Mary M. O'Hare did something AMAZING there... just like LP did something amazing in "It's Over". It's one of his best songs for sure.

I never got why "November"... Anyone has a crazy idea why NOVEMBER spawned this monster and not August or May or any other month? I assume it's a reference to... someone, but hard to know whom (Morrissey was not born during a November, so obviously not a self-reference).
The lyrics are intriguing to say the least, but will inevitably lead down so many rabbit holes, as is the case with much of his work. There's the obvious physical disability aspect, but could it also be in part about his own 'disabilities' & self-loathing? The reference to Comte de Lautréamont & Hermaphrodite is interesting, but one source which I read this morning said he pulls the following directly:

"Sleep on and dream of Love
Because it's the closest you will
Get to love"


I couldn't find this as a direct quote in the The Maldoror Chants text.
 
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Carlisle baz

Cock of the north
Happy days when singles flew in and out of the charts with considerable ease......
This should be played live more often a great song and the video, well...
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
great pop song,dont know how much airplay it would have got coming in at 5 minutes and 17 seconds,bit long for radio.
8 mosters/10 monsters.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Interesting notes from autobiog:

"We would travel in April to Death Valley in California, where at last I had Sire’s good grace for a proper video with a grown-up budget. The single is November spawned a monster, a pivotal allegro of agitation whose sumptuousness frees me from the recent past. Like it or not, I remain the opposition – regardless of how the rules shift. The dissonant heart appears on Top of the Pops, where no sooner does November spawned a monster begin than I am drowned away by fake applause and I kindly leave the stage."

...
the last part is not strictly true, he gets about 3 mins singing time before he's faded out:

 

Janice

Well-Known Member
88-92 - singles a regular thing, charting as well.
It was a good time in Morrissey land - and the charts
Monster is a Monster
Great to have it back in the live set up in the last few years
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Ready with, ready wit...I also found this quite comical quote in autobiog:

"Tim had asked me to do the entire November spawned a monster video naked. I explained to him that this would be impossible since my entire lower body had been destroyed by fire in 1965. His expression remained wide-eyed with belief as he replied, ‘Oh.’
After watching the video, my father commented, ‘Shirley Bassey will be furious,’ which left me momentarily puzzled."
 
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Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Bit of a stretch to call it a pop song, no? Nevertheless, it’s a truly remarkable song, full of equal amounts scorn and empathy. Too weird to chart, but charted anyway - in a time when people actually went out and bought physical singles and payed with their hard earned money.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Here is Henry Rollins' introduction to the video:


It's a classic song with bold subject matter and I agree that Mary Margaret O'Hara's contribution adds an awful lot.

The quality of singles like this partially obscured the fact that it wasn't a great creative time for Morrissey, with the Bona Drag studio album cancelled a long way before completion.

In the poll on the Hoffman board this ranked 28th from 264 solo songs.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Here is Henry Rollins' introduction to the video:


It's a classic song with bold subject matter and I agree that Mary Margaret O'Hara's contribution adds an awful lot.

The quality of singles like this partially obscured the fact that it wasn't a great creative time for Morrissey, with the Bona Drag studio album cancelled a long way before completion.

In the poll on the Hoffman board this ranked 28th from 264 solo songs.
Ha ha! Never seen that Rollins clip before. It takes a very sudden homoerotic twist right at the end, there.
 
In retrospect, this is from a period when Moz mattered most in the cultural zeitgeist of Great Britain.

A change was coming in the music scene here and life would never be the same again.

Its a great song, a weird song and I assume Rollins is gay?
 
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