Morrissey A-Z: "Roy's Keen"


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We round off the R's with this Morrissey/Whyte composition from the Maladjusted album. Also released as a single, it reached #42 on the UK singles chart. (Hence the recorded performance for Top of the Pops was never shown and only dusted off for TOTP2 a few years later.)

What do we think of this one?

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
So incredibly underrated. Nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. Moz has a long history of writing silly pop songs, and this one is easily better than Fatty, Kiss Me, Dagenham, Pashernate Love, maybe even King Leer. And so on. Its melody is really strong and quite melancholy, the lyrics are super silly but not without wit, and let’s not forget Alain’s backing vocals or the fine guitar work.


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👆 Moz Masterpiece
Everything grey & green related from 97 is a happy place.
RK is so good, I bought 2 of each format.
Sadly, there is no box set of the release 😉


the leather belts.
roy is one his funniest songs,has anybody else ever written a song about a window cleaner,97 brings back so many good memories,fantastic time to be an M fan.
8 chammys/10 ladders.


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roy is one his funniest songs,has anybody else ever written a song about a window cleaner,97 brings back so many good memories,fantastic time to be an M fan.
8 chammys/10 ladders.
One of Morrissey's favourite singers way back when, George Formby. The song is presumably a nod to him.

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
I'm conflicted with this one. I used to despise this track, but hearing it again...
First of all, it still remains pretty lacklustre. The lyrics are some of his absolute worst, with primary school rhymes that should have never got past the ideas stage. The tune, while actually quite nice and melancholy, is still general Alain fare, without too much to distinguish its arpeggios from many of his other co-writes. However, Moz puts in a great vocal despite all the odds, with some nice backing vocals from Alain, also enlivening the affair. So now this track is no longer my least favourite on Maladjusted.
I'll be generous here and give it a strong 4/10.
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Sorry. I don't mind the song so much but it's the weakest Morrissey single by a mile.

Having said that I bought the 12" which has a beautiful cover and cracking B Sides.


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Roy's Keen would have been a mildly amusing b-side, but releasing it as a single was a disastrous move. Especially coming after Alma Matters which was another dire pun. You can understand why Morrissey was considered irrelevant by so many people in 1997 if they were basing his output solely on the throwaway singles.

This was also one of the songs played live to promote the album for KROQ and I remember being underwhelmed at the time with how bad the band sounded (not with this song exclusively, as some of the others were worse).

I presume that the lyrics were intended as a nod to George Formby and not simply with the reference to a window cleaner. For example, a George Formby lyric from Mr. Wu's a Window Cleaner Now:

"Customers he's washed for now are in bad humours.
They feel quite neglected and I've heard the rumours.
Lots of girls on winter nights go out without their...garters."

It shows the 1930s/40s style of humour that was used in several songs in the replacement of a naughty word ("bloomers") as the punch line. I guess that Morrissey was attempting something similar with the following, but I can't say that it amuses me:

"Foot in a bucket
We trust you to...wreck it."

In the poll on the Hoffman board this ranked 165th from 264 solo songs.

Mike Rourke

Well-Known Member
One amazingly crap single backed with two amazingly brilliant B-sides.
Perhaps not surprisingly. he played it to death on the 97 tour (it was a single after all) but then kept it in for the 99 tour, as if by continuously playing it, we'd all come round to thinking it was great. Of course, he'd eventually realise that not only should it not have been a single, but it shouldn't have even been on the album, by removing it from the re-issue. It's not quite his worst ever single (that's Dagenham Dave) but it's pretty close behind.


Moved to off-topic
This song is not shit. It’s not good, either.

No 27

This is a really strong song. It has a strong tune and some strong lines. The musicianship on this one is pretty strong and, to my ear, Morrissey's voice certainly sounds very strong. Roy's Keen is pretty strong, overall.


Practising troublemaker
OK, Roy’s Keen is not the greatest Morrissey single but, in fairness, of all the songs on 'Maladjusted' few would have got a great deal of airplay back in 1997, when such things, presumably, mattered. What other choice could Island have gone with? (Trouble Loves Me would have been my choice, but would have likely received zero airplay). I have only just noticed that Roy’s Keen was omitted from the 2009 release of ‘Maladjusted’, another bizarre decision in a catalogue of bizarre decisions.

This song always makes me thing of Robin Asquith and all those tongue-in-cheek Confessions films….

Phranc & Open

I've known no war
F*** the Hoffman board! Brilliant, catchy and playful tune, mistakenly underrated by Moz himself.
Maldajusted and the class of 97 forever!


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It's not great, but I do have a soft spot for this cheeky little number.

I wonder if it was, in any way, a reaction to one strain of Britpop, the more Blur side of things? It just feels like it has something in common with that type of stuff.
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