Morrissey A-Z: "Once I Saw the River Clean"

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Might very well be the best song off of Dog ("Knockabout" and "Secret" are giving it a run for its money, though). A much welcomed return to a warmer, more personal and thoughful kind of lyricism. The music is quite interesting as well. The style is far from perfected, however, and I look forward to even better compositions.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I adore everything about this song, from the retr0 synth-y sounds in places to the nostalgic warmth (and detail!) of the lyrics. But what really gets me here is the slightly cracked, rasping sound in Morrissey's voice in places - no idea if this is due to any studio trickery (and don't care either way) but it makes it sound like he's almost overwhelmed by the memories contained in the song and it's beautiful. I really hope, as he continues to age (dis)gracefully, we get more songs like this.
 

Southport Grandma

Active Member
The lyrics belong in “Autobiography” and that’s not a criticism. Having worked around the Talbot Road area adds an extra layer interest to the song. The music is different again from that usually associated with Jesse Tobias.
 
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This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
Amazing, astounding song. Instrumentation has a divine variety: synths, pounding drums, sweet guitar and mournful fiddle all conflate into one autobiographical experience. And the progression of the song truly makes it an experience: there are clear builds and releases of tension throughout. The lyrics are also almost perfection, a look at childhood and contrasting it with the wisdom of modern life, all with that classic Moz humour and warmth. The triplet rhythms on the electronic drums remind me of Depeche Mode, and shows Moz again straying out of his traditionally rock comfort zone - I never thought I’d be comparing these two great artists and bands with one another.
Essential, another reason why Dog was such a great album - played to death in the first lockdown, and it still sounds great to this day.
10/10
 

The.Truth.

Every.Single.Time.
Not just the best song on the album but the best on the last several albums. I love it and we really have no right to expect something this good at this point. 10/10
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
whenever I try to make a selection of the 10 ver best Morrissey songs, there’s barely any entre of this century . This one would probably make it. Everything works together here: warm and thoughtful memories from his youth, great vocal harmony and voice, rich and innovative musical backing. It always reminds me of Depeche Mode (Personal Jesus), a band I used to like for a while.
 

Carlisle baz

Cock of the north
Astounding...
The music, words .
I second the lockdown comment,
The album was played to death and I’m nowhere near fed up of it...

This song along with what kind of,
And Bobby are the three stand outs
For me ...

The twenty number tens take me back to my first hobby as a boy of smoking...

Daily I word rob 36 and 1/2 pence from my elder sisters whiskey bottle for 10 number 6...
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
great song,words and music are fantastic,nice touch using the words new pence,most people wont realise after decimalisation in 71 in britain you would say 50 new pence whereas now its just 50 pence,nice nostalgic touch from M.
9 new/10 pence.
 

Ryan

Von der Hand, in den Mund
Moderator
Subscriber
One of the latter-year Greats, in the same class as Home Is A Question Mark and One Of Our Own.

10 clean / 10 rivers
 
Not just the best song on the album but the best on the last several albums. I love it and we really have no right to expect something this good at this point. 10/10
I'd go with this, with the exception of I'm Not A Man, both of which take their rightful place in Moz all time top 20 songs.

'And the cue will cue for me' I heard as, (and prefer), 'And the queue will queue for me.'
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
This is a contender for the best "O" song and it's one of the strongest on the most recent album.

I don't like it quite as much as some seem to, but with the mixture of nostalgia and autobiography I can understand why it is so popular.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 6th from 264 solo songs.
 

TheSmiths_1985

King of Haiku
A great song, and a nice video with the raccoons.
 
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