Morrissey A-Z: "Ouija Board, Ouija Board"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member


Our song for today is this Morrissey/Street composition from 1989, which reached #18 in the UK singles chart and was later included on Bona Drag.

What do we think?
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
I love it! It's a very fun song but manages to be very Morrissey. Probably his best video, too?
She has now gone
From this unhappy planet
With all the carnivores
And the destructors of it

Love that instrumental section, too. One of my favorites. It might seem too light but it's classic Morrissey and one of those songs I can't imagine anyone else doing. Great glasses, too. lol
10/10
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
one of his best,music and voice are great.good video as well.joan sims in the video is a treat,the first lady of carry on.
9 carnivoes.10 destructors
 
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BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
My main memory of this song, when it was released, was of people thinking he'd totally lost it - like, how could the poet of a generation of distressed youth, famed for his lyrics about despair and loneliness, write something quite so silly, about ouija boards? But in many ways this seems to me the perfect distillation of Morrissey's very peculiar genius - it's charming and funny and yet, if you want to, you can wallow in its overwhelming sadness. Just that thought of actually making contact with a dead friend, only for them to tell you to get lost, is flat-out brilliant.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
Can’t believe people at the time hated this song so much. It’s brilliant! The Sparks keyboards, that astounding vocal performance, showing he can still leap between vocal pitches with ease, and the overall fun, yet melancholic feeling is seen perfectly through the music. The subtle windings of electric guitar create builds in momentum, but it never truly reaches a climax point, perhaps to indicate the futility of Moz’s spiritual encounter in the lyrics (which are frankly frivolous here, assuming different personalities, in the best way possible). Another fantastic early classic: just one more jewel in Bona Drag’s crown.
10/10
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Oh, Lord. One of my all-time favorite Morrissey songs. It's very high on that list. One of my go-to songs when the weight of the world and the demands of everyday life gets too much, and I am temporarily reminded again that I just can't find my place in this world... This song has smoothed out the edges of many a rough day. My favorite version might be the one from 25 Live. The passion from that performance is something I can not describe. Oh, and the video? Best hair in the history of hair.
 

Johnny

Active Member
Sorry guys for me it remains the weakest single ever released from Morrissey.
It was panned at the time and I found it very hard to defend.

The fact that he has played it so many times in concert shows how much he loves it.

Song 2/10,Video 9/10 and hair 11/10.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Pure genius.
Another one where only Moz could write such a song. It's one of those which, on the face of it, seems lightweight, but of course there's depth (intertwined with humour), if you choose to look. This one led to some outrage re; promotion of occult dabbling etc., which in turn led to one of Moz's wittiest quotes via his reply to said outrage: "The only contact I ever made with the dead was when I spoke to a journalist from The Sun".
Marvellous.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
I can't say that I really dislike the song, but it should never have been released as a single. Stephen Street has said that he didn't envisage it as a single release, and it's no surprise that it broke the run of top 10 hits.

I think that lyrically it set a worrying trend of Morrissey releasing singles with disposable subject matter. Far too many a-sides from this point on were throwaway and I think that played a part (among many other factors) in his reputation declining up to 1997... The hardcore fans enjoyed some of the singles, but the critics hated most of them.

In the poll on the Hoffman board this ranked 118th from 264 solo songs.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I can't say that I really dislike the song, but it should never have been released as a single. Stephen Street has said that he didn't envisage it as a single release, and it's no surprise that it broke the run of top 10 hits.

I think that lyrically it set a worrying trend of Morrissey releasing singles with disposable subject matter. Far too many a-sides from this point on were throwaway and I think that played a part (among many other factors) in his reputation declining up to 1997... The hardcore fans enjoyed some of the singles, but the critics hated most of them.

In the poll on the Hoffman board this ranked 118th from 264 solo songs.
From wiki, "The single was poorly received by the music press and the public: its highest chart position was No. 18, making it the first solo Morrissey single not to reach the British top 10. It appeared along with its B-side "Yes, I Am Blind" on the compilation album Bona Drag."

I think the fact it didn't reach 'top ten' must have been a complete disappointment to Moz. The B-side contains one of his best ever tracks.
YIAB as an effing B-side?? Christ.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
From wiki, "The single was poorly received by the music press and the public: its highest chart position was No. 18, making it the first solo Morrissey single not to reach the British top 10. It appeared along with its B-side "Yes, I Am Blind" on the compilation album Bona Drag."

I think the fact it didn't reach 'top ten' must have been a complete disappointment to Moz. The B-side contains one of his best ever tracks.
YIAB as an effing B-side?? Christ.
Yeah, I'm sure the chart positioning was a disappointment and the press criticism is said to have played a big part in the Bona Drag studio album being abandoned.

No bad thing really, as the songs from those failed sessions are almost completely devoid of self-introspection (He Knows I'd Love to See Him apart). Nothing wrong with Moz attempting humour obviously, but the balance was wrongly tilted in favour of the flippant at this stage.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
38863_ouija_board_statement.jpg


Vox, November, '90:

“I’m deeply apprehensive. I know you’re fully aware of the current climate that surrounds me in the press. It almost means that flattering articles can no longer be written about me. But, while I admit that ‘Ouija Board Ouija Board’ wasn’t ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’, I do think the backlash has been slightly overdone.”

“People often say to me at bus stops, ‘Why are you releasing this record?’ But I don’t mind that ‘Ouija Board Ouija Board’ never received an Ivor Novello award. I never believed that sitting on top of the pop arena was a nice place to be."

"...Morrissey had one great moment in the last year.
“Standing next to Joan Sims when we made ‘Ouija Board Ouija Board'. Mainly because she was so excellent, so enormously gifted, and here I was, a silly sausage from somewhere near Manchester.""


I shall dust off her book from storage one day and see what she made of it all (can't remember).
Surprised the cover photographer has never been credited - would be nice for the wiki.
30+ years and still listening to it.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Mike Rourke

Well-Known Member
Yep, this was the first Morrissey-sung song (Smith or otherwise) to receive universal derision.
Two explanations - one it came after the pure genius of the Smiths repertoire and the amazing quality of the previous solo singles. Had it been released in 2008, it would have been welcomed as the pretty good song that it clearly is.
The other thing is its arrangement. The horrible synth harpsichord, the incongruous guitar solo, the gimmicky percussion effects. The recent live versions have been brilliant largely because the instrumentation is different. The melodies in the song are actually close to the best Street compositions - they're just ruined by the horrible arrangement/production which I only recently learned is not actually Street's.
 
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Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
To claim that the subject matter and the lyrics of this song are throwaway and disposable is to me completely baffling.

Ouija board, Ouija board, Ouija board
Would you work for me?
I have got to get through
To a good friend
Well, she has now gone
From this unhappy planet
With all the carnivores
And the destructors of it

Ouija board, Ouija board, Ouija board
Would you help me?
Because I still do feel
So horribly lonely

Would you, Ouija board
Would you, Ouija board
Would you help me?
And I just can't find
My place in this world

She has now gone
From this unhappy planet
With all the carnivores
And the destructors of it
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Some notes of interest in autobiog:

"Tim had unraveled the cine-beast of the Ouija board video in Oxfordshire woodland, where Dadaism was stretched too far. In the muddle of Kathy Burke as idiomatic clippie, there is Joan Sims as mediocre medium, plus tragic singer led through woodlands by pantomime children. The movable stage is Joan Sims, now of old-school comedy, who could tell an entire joke without saying a word.

Joan is yet another of the Carry On regulars who has lived forever unattached, whose face is known to millions, but whose comedic talents are not thought to be of great value. She lives alone in Kensington Square at the back of Barkers department store on Kensington High Street. The day before the shoot, Tim climbs the stairs to Joan’s intimate flat only to find the front door open and Joan sitting by the fire in tears. Around the walls are lines of framed photographs charting a lifetime of backstage moments, beaming smiles with people met that one time only, yet testament to a successful career now sealed up.

On this day, Joan explains that her tears are for Hattie Jacques – another Carry On matron – and there is a curse on behalf of all the theater [sic] individuals who save their best moments for their time on a stage, and not for their private selves, for there are no private selves. ‘Do you know Nicholas Parsons?’ asks Joan, possibly tipsy. ‘He is a c**t,’ she says, and that’s that.

I do not blame Tim for the silliness of the Ouija board video, but it doesn’t help the footing of a record already far too ornate and burlesco to interest critics of the first rank."


Joan Sims on Nicholas Parsons :lbf: :LOL:
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Additionally on the location (Hook End):
"the Our Frank cover taken in the woods behind the house; the Ouija board video filmed in those same woods; the Sing Your Life photographs taken further into the same woods;".
All of which is, of course, essential detail.
 

Phranc & Open

Just Frenk!
There was a time when the piece was considered a weak single. Today I would be happy if Morrissey would release such "weak" non-album singles. This kind of music was also unique in 1990. Rich in textures, imaginative and beautifully spun. Maybe in 25 years they will try to release the original Bona Drag concept in album form. It could have been his third best solo album. I wanted to look like Morrissey with spectacles after this video. Lovely eek.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
There was a time when the piece was considered a weak single. Today I would be happy if Morrissey would release such "weak" non-album singles. This kind of music was also unique in 1990. Rich in textures, imaginative and beautifully spun. Maybe in 25 years they will try to release the original Bona Drag concept in album form. It could have been his third best solo album. I wanted to look like Morrissey with spectacles after this video. Lovely eek.
I think the 7 songs recorded were:

November Spawned a Monster
Piccadilly Palare
He Knows I'd Love to See Him

Girl Least Likely To
Get Off the Stage
Oh Phoney
Striptease With a Difference
 
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