Morrissey A-Z: "(The) Slum Mums"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
And for anybody crazy enough to want to read it, the song was the subject of an academic book chapter by three scholars from the University of Limerick, a few years ago. You can read the whole thing online and here's a snippet of what to expect:

‘The Slum Mums’, by popular music artist Morrissey, deals with the contempt felt for lone female mothers on welfare in the United Kingdom under the New Labour governments of the 1990s and 2000s. Rather than providing a straightforward critique of this ‘contempt’, Morrissey deftly creates a song whose meaning relies on the ambiguous inter-relationship between the socio-political context, the lyrical content, and musical structure and sound as they relate to issues of gendered embodiment in particular.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
It's one of those ones were his voice is straining to keep in time with the music so it's not a comfortable listen - but it's interesting.

I'd also put it with Bengali in Platforms & Dial A Cliche - with a theme about fitting into society - only in this case she absolutely can't because she can't disguise having no money.

There was a great line in American Crime Story about the Versace spree killer, something like - money is the one thing you can't lie about, you've either got it or you don't.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
not bad,probably one of my least listened to songs.two 6/10 songs in a row,this wont do,next.
6 succour/10 suckers.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Don't care in the least for the screaming children in the intro - but I've always loved the song. A strong lyric and I love the slightly distorted vocals. Best line: "They make you feel as if you're whining, when you're claiming what's legally yours." Empathetic Moz standing up for the underprivileged and outcast.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
Welcome back, everyone.
This is an OK song at best, really, with a thin instrumental palette and that grating Visconti vocal effect again used on Moz’s voice. There’s not much development overall, and Moz’s words seem to be trying to fit over the time signature: a unique case of having too much to say (think Bruce circa his debut - great, but much too densely worded - for a similar comparison.
However, the lyrics are interesting: interesting enough for a study, at least. Empathetic once again, a showcase of Moz’s ability to reconnect with his working class youth to highlight systemic problems in a modern day situation. Just a shame it didn’t have a better accompaniment: as is (and with its state as an exclusive bonus track on the now disappeared Swords), it’s been lost through the cracks a little.
5/10
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
And for anybody crazy enough to want to read it, the song was the subject of an academic book chapter by three scholars from the University of Limerick, a few years ago. You can read the whole thing online and here's a snippet of what to expect:

‘The Slum Mums’, by popular music artist Morrissey, deals with the contempt felt for lone female mothers on welfare in the United Kingdom under the New Labour governments of the 1990s and 2000s. Rather than providing a straightforward critique of this ‘contempt’, Morrissey deftly creates a song whose meaning relies on the ambiguous inter-relationship between the socio-political context, the lyrical content, and musical structure and sound as they relate to issues of gendered embodiment in particular.
Yes, I remember reading about that in the recent Save Us Morrissey book - an interesting fact that emerged from a book that I broadly didn’t like. I’m guessing this is one of the only kinds of study enacted on his music - although it’s a bit of an obscure choice for an examination of his approach to a theme, isn’t it?
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Welcome back, everyone.
This is an OK song at best, really, with a thin instrumental palette and that grating Visconti vocal effect again used on Moz’s voice. There’s not much development overall, and Moz’s words seem to be trying to fit over the time signature: a unique case of having too much to say (think Bruce circa his debut - great, but much too densely worded - for a similar comparison.
However, the lyrics are interesting: interesting enough for a study, at least. Empathetic once again, a showcase of Moz’s ability to reconnect with his working class youth to highlight systemic problems in a modern day situation. Just a shame it didn’t have a better accompaniment: as is (and with its state as an exclusive bonus track on the now disappeared Swords), it’s been lost through the cracks a little.
5/10
Jerry Finn, not Visconti, though, right?
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Yes, I remember reading about that in the recent Save Us Morrissey book - an interesting fact that emerged from a book that I broadly didn’t like. I’m guessing this is one of the only kinds of study enacted on his music - although it’s a bit of an obscure choice for an examination of his approach to a theme, isn’t it?
My hunch is that there's a fair amount of scholarly articles (as well as one or two full-length academic books) around Morrissey/The Smiths but I'm not sure if there's a comprehensive list/archive of it anywhere? (Or whether there'd be any appetite for such a thing.)
 

Phranc & Open

Just another phranc!
I love it, love it, love it. To heaven with it!
Seriously, CD single 2 of "I have forgiven Jesus" was hard to get outside the UK for the first time in late 2004. No large numbers were made. The production on this track is more 90s Morrissey than many of the very bare produced YATQ tracks. Somewhat more obscure, with background vocals and subtle melody, this little obscurity ekes out a shadowy existence in the master's oeuvre and still delights me; Morrissey's social studies from the perspective of the ivory tower.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I love this one. It's societal commentary, observational, cutting, and if anyone had ever known someone who was a 'slum mum', you'd know the story & the contempt (rightly or wrongly) thrown in their general direction. Lyrically, right on the money, & very clever.

'We may be welfare, oh yeah,
but we don't care
and we get paid to despise
your council house eyes'


Wonderful.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
And for anybody crazy enough to want to read it, the song was the subject of an academic book chapter by three scholars from the University of Limerick, a few years ago. You can read the whole thing online and here's a snippet of what to expect:

‘The Slum Mums’, by popular music artist Morrissey, deals with the contempt felt for lone female mothers on welfare in the United Kingdom under the New Labour governments of the 1990s and 2000s. Rather than providing a straightforward critique of this ‘contempt’, Morrissey deftly creates a song whose meaning relies on the ambiguous inter-relationship between the socio-political context, the lyrical content, and musical structure and sound as they relate to issues of gendered embodiment in particular.
That paper is such an interesting read, & made me wonder if Moz does this sort of thing instinctively, or deliberately.
Either way, he's a complete genius.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I haven’t spent much time with this one because it is hard to find.
So I had the pleasure to be surprised by the lyrics and to hear him sing with warmth and wit about the British underclass.
It’s also another song expressing his disenchantment with welfare policie, Interesting Drug comes to mind as a variation on that thème.
 

Phranc & Open

Just another phranc!
What about the alternative mix (on SWORDS download only?). Never heard that consciously. Is there a difference?
 
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Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
I love it, love it, love it. To heaven with it!
Seriously, CD single 2 of "I have forgiven Jesus" was hard to get outside the UK for the first time in late 2004. No large numbers were made. The production on this track is more 90s Morrissey than many of the very bare produced YATQ tracks. Somewhat more obscure, with background vocals and subtle melody, this little obscurity ekes out a shadowy existence in the master's oeuvre and still delights me;

Surprised you like this one. It has its moments, but something about it seems directionless.

Morrissey's social studies from the perspective of the ivory tower.

Maybe he made this observation as a young teen. Or maybe Morrissey, has always observed this pigsty world from the ivory tower of his mind.
 

Phranc & Open

Just another phranc!
Maybe he made this observation as a young teen. Or maybe Morrissey, has always observed this pigsty world from the ivory tower of his mind.
I always liked this metaphor of the ivory tower. where Morrissey has been for some time. It stands symbolically unfortunately also little for the fact that he has lyrically lost contact with his former fanbase and describes social studies just from a great distance. In the 80s, it was all more existential!
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
I always liked this metaphor of the ivory tower. where Morrissey has been for some time. It stands symbolically unfortunately also little for the fact that he has lyrically lost contact with his former fanbase and describes social studies just from a great distance. In the 80s, it was all more existential!

Yes, his writing style/poetic direction has changed. Surely this change is not lost on him.
And so it looks to me, this change in writing is a very conscious move on his part. Not only to write differently, but it’s part of a larger transformation to distance himself
from what he was, thought he was, or what people thought he was and still want him to be.
Which is where conflict for some fans begin, they simply can’t let go of an image of Morrissey that they identified so strongly with.


 
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Mozmar

Well-Known Member
What about the alternative mix (on SWORDS donwload only?). Never heard that consciously. Is there a difference?


Slightly different start...no screaming kids.
Shows run time of 4:22, & was quite optimistic, but it actually ends at 3:14, so not sure what that's all about.
 
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