We begin the N's with this Morrissey/Whyte composition, featured on Your Arsenal and rarely mentioned since.
What do we think of this one?
A truly magnificent, stomping, track with Cobrin in the engine room driving the whole thing. Guitar work from Whyte is wonderful on this one with beautiful inflections in certain places. Day's bass play is fantastic providing a pulse throughout. Love the way it powers up and down, then back up again to multiple crescendos. Fantastic singalongability. Moz's vocals outstanding. Love the bass & shimmering electric guitar outro. The whole thing is a flawless masterpiece. I'm 'superlatively' exhausted.
Just in case there's any doubt: I absolutely love it!
Yes, in the 90s supportive journalists suggested this song was supposed to be ironic. And you’re quite right to point out that it isn’t.I love the song and love hearing the live versions, but I'm going to be contrarian and ask if the media really set Morrissey up. I think he certainly gave them everything they needed to do so and I feel that he enjoys doing this and that time has proven this to be so.
As far as the song itself, I mostly agree with Alain's interpretation/explanation. I don't see anything wrong with making David a somewhat sympathetic character, either. Young, misguided and "got in with the wrong crowd."
Still, I think it's possible to hear the song different ways. For example, one line which goes, "we wonder if the thunder is ever really gonna begin" which sounds like it could describe this group that David has joined waiting around for this event they've all been told will happen soon, much like the die hard QAnon people now. But after he says this, he repeats "begin, oh begin," and it's not hard to imagine that he sounds like he's really urging on this event.
"There's a country,
You don't live there,
But one day you would like to.
And if you show them what you're made of,
Ah, then you might do."
This is talking about a mythical country, "you don't live there," but it's a dream that could come true. And when you combine this idea with the references to the wind blowing your life and your dreams away, and the things Morrissey has repeatedly said over decades about the changes and the loss of national identity, the affiliation he feels with some of the emotions expressed by the people that actually do have far right beliefs is genuine. In my opinion this song is not as ironic as I thought it was when it was first released.
I'm not saying that he supports all of the ideals that these far right nationalist groups promote, but his connection with this kid he's singing about is more than just seeing him as a lost young man in with the wrong crowd. It's almost like "this is a stupid way to go about it but I understand what you're talking about."
And how far is "England for the English" from comments he made in that 2007 NME article?
All of that doesn't really matter to the song. I think the reason it's so powerful is because it is a real situation and we're able to understand this character whether we agree or not. It's more powerful because it's left unresolved and you have to think for yourself. But it's not a simple ironic statement. It's ridiculous for him to be demonized for the lyrics of a song, especially one that leaves the interpretation to the listener. But let's also not pretend that this is an example where poor Morrissey didn't know what he was doing and the evil press wanted to use this innocent song to destroy him. It's ambiguous and it it wasn't it wouldn't be as strong.