Morrissey A-Z: "What Kind of People Live in These Houses?"

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
The cynical, misanthropic lyrics bereft of any wit or compassion bring down an otherwise very catchy song. A damn shame. I’m sick of the cold Moz of the last ten years or so.
 

Light Housework

useless eater
The cynical, misanthropic lyrics bereft of any wit or compassion bring down an otherwise very catchy song. A damn shame. I’m sick of the cold Moz of the last ten years or so.
It can be interpreted as cold, but it can also be interpreted to mean that he does care about the people who live in these houses.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
The cynical, misanthropic lyrics bereft of any wit or compassion bring down an otherwise very catchy song. A damn shame. I’m sick of the cold Moz of the last ten years or so.
I couldn't have put this any better. It's such a great, upbeat, Smiths-tinged piece of music but the lyrics ruin it for me - not just the sneering, out of touch tone but the incessant bloody wordplay! I mean, come on:

Dogface in a duplex?
Boisterous in cloisters?
Grabbing in a cabin
Or squatting on your quarters, oh


Does anybody have a way of interpreting this song that doesn't involve Morrissey sneering at those less fortunate than him?
 

Verso

On Timeout
The music is nice enough, mostly because it's some amalgam of this and this. Like The Bullfighter Dies (another hated Moz tune of mine), the lyrics seem like an excuse to indulge in some cheap wordplay and rhyme schemes for no particular reason other than self-amusement.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
The cynical, misanthropic lyrics bereft of any wit or compassion bring down an otherwise very catchy song. A damn shame. I’m sick of the cold Moz of the last ten years or so.
I think it's ironic that he's sort of shaming people for not being out when he's got what looks to me like a complicated smokescreen going on around his sexuality. I just ignore that and enjoy the song but you are right cynical.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I couldn't have put this any better. It's such a great, upbeat, Smiths-tinged piece of music but the lyrics ruin it for me - not just the sneering, out of touch tone but the incessant bloody wordplay! I mean, come on:

Dogface in a duplex?
Boisterous in cloisters?
Grabbing in a cabin
Or squatting on your quarters, oh


Does anybody have a way of interpreting this song that doesn't involve Morrissey sneering at those less fortunate than him?

Yeah - in his autobiography he wrote about how devastated he was when he realised television was a lie.

He is the people in those houses.

And it did hurt.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
The music is nice enough, mostly because it's some amalgam of this and this. Like The Bullfighter Dies (another hated Moz tune of mine), the lyrics seem like an excuse to indulge in some cheap wordplay and rhyme schemes for no particular reason other than self-amusement.
The cheap wordplay has become a stylistic tic. You almost have to learn to appreciate it ironically. But it's not just in his writing. Like calling the Beckhams the Peckhams. I don't even know what that means. And Billie Eyelash?
But I do like this song anyway. I think I like the whole record enough that by the time this one comes on I'm in a sort of hypnotic state and nothing is really going to bother me.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
I couldn't have put this any better. It's such a great, upbeat, Smiths-tinged piece of music but the lyrics ruin it for me - not just the sneering, out of touch tone but the incessant bloody wordplay! I mean, come on:

Dogface in a duplex?
Boisterous in cloisters?
Grabbing in a cabin
Or squatting on your quarters, oh


Does anybody have a way of interpreting this song that doesn't involve Morrissey sneering at those less fortunate than him?
Yes, actually.
I love this song, and have never really thought that the lyrics are deeply cynical or Moz standing on a pedestal and lecturing.
Think about it: the titular question shows us two things - one, that the exterior houses are all the same or similar; and, two, that the people inside are different. However, these aren’t the working classes who Moz has always shown (and still does show) solidarity for - these are the middle and upper classes, an immediate contrast to the debris of a housing estate shown on the back cover.
This whole album has a running theme of sticking up for the underdog and trying to get people to change and move away from perhaps the popular consensus. Here, the viewpoint switches: the middle class’ sheer ridiculousness is placed in full view of the listener. They are “afraid to taste change” and have to make choices based on their “heritage” or perceived “importance” (“t-shirts or blouses; torn jeans or proper trousers?”). This isn’t cynical Moz - this is darkly humourous Moz, picking out the flaws in society still occurring today, and placing them in a more comic setting. It’s not new, but it’s pretty effective.
The music is gorgeous also: winding pedal steel tracing beautiful guitar, impactful drumming and just perfect interplay all around. It’s one I could listen to many times, and have already.
Hopefully this analysis has made you at least consider the alternative interpretations to this fabulous piece of music.
9/10
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
its a very catchy pop song,who knows what M is thinking when he writes the lyrics to a song,this could be a throwback to when him and linder used to walk the streets all day looking in peoples windows.i think this is one of his most catchiest tunes for a while,its also a look back at childhood when your mam would say put on your proper trousers if you were going to mass on a sunday.
9 blouses/10 proper trousers.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
Pretty sure the rhyming/wordplay is a form of echolalia/vocal stimming.

Never once thought of the lyrics as "misanthropic". It's my favourite song on the album, mostly because I love walking through cities, wondering "What kind of people live in these houses?".
Reminds me of something Linder once said about their walks in Manchester.
 

Phranc & Open

Just Frenk!
The only thing that keeps the people happy here are guitars that are remotely reminiscent of The Smiths. The rhyme scheme is simple, the vocabulary at least for me partly strange and dripping with sarcasm and social studies have been smoother with The Slum Mums for example. The song is a trap, not a feat, and the bitterness makes up for a lot of it, along with the plastic country sound.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Yes, actually.
I love this song, and have never really thought that the lyrics are deeply cynical or Moz standing on a pedestal and lecturing.
Think about it: the titular question shows us two things - one, that the exterior houses are all the same or similar; and, two, that the people inside are different. However, these aren’t the working classes who Moz has always shown (and still does show) solidarity for - these are the middle and upper classes, an immediate contrast to the debris of a housing estate shown on the back cover.
This whole album has a running theme of sticking up for the underdog and trying to get people to change and move away from perhaps the popular consensus. Here, the viewpoint switches: the middle class’ sheer ridiculousness is placed in full view of the listener. They are “afraid to taste change” and have to make choices based on their “heritage” or perceived “importance” (“t-shirts or blouses; torn jeans or proper trousers?”). This isn’t cynical Moz - this is darkly humourous Moz, picking out the flaws in society still occurring today, and placing them in a more comic setting. It’s not new, but it’s pretty effective.
The music is gorgeous also: winding pedal steel tracing beautiful guitar, impactful drumming and just perfect interplay all around. It’s one I could listen to many times, and have already.
Hopefully this analysis has made you at least consider the alternative interpretations to this fabulous piece of music.
9/10
Really interesting - thank you! I shall put your interpretation in my pipe, and smoke it. (Metaphorically, not literally.)
 

dotmatrix522

Hey, how’s it going?
I enjoy the song and I don’t see it as cynical, more curious. I know this angle was discussed when the lp came out, but he mentions in Autobiography how he often wonders about the folks who live in the houses he passes by and I just see the song keeping with that interest.

On the drive through Yorkshire I wonder what goes on in all the houses that I pass. The house is a world in itself. Imagining how others live leaves me lost in great questions. Who rattles around these Halifax houses, or these friendly rooms in Leeds full of books and CDs.
 

Thewlis

Junior Member
Love the Smiths-y feel of this and the lyrics which also echo the Smiths’ Paint a Vulgar Picture. The ‘child from those ugly new houses’ now in later life mocking those people. Hilarious and good fun.
A highlight on the last album.

8,8
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
This became an instant earworm in a manner not heard of since listening to 'Mute witness' for the first time all those years ago. I really like it. It's daft, catchy, bouncy, and I find those sixth-form poetry tics to be hilarious and warming rather than misanthropic. It's like a theme tune to Moz's very own Carry On film.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
This became an instant earworm in a manner not heard of since listening to 'Mute witness' for the first time all those years ago. I really like it. It's daft, catchy, bouncy, and I find those sixth-form poetry tics to be hilarious and warming rather than misanthropic. It's like a theme tune to Moz's very own Carry On film.

I mean, you can even hear the humour in his voice here...
 

Carlislebaz

Cock of the north
This is a very catchy pop, sing a long song. It’s bouncy and fun and for most the stand out song on dog.
Interesting to see people’s interpretations of the words, they can be funny in parts and a little complicated in other areas , but that doesn’t stop me from singing along.
I think this song could be a new Morrissey Anthem if handled correctly at future concerts ...
 
T

Trans

Guest
I assumed the point was to stop thinking and focusing about what kind of people live in what houses and to start treating people like people through personal experience and not to let tv teach and inform us about types of people and that what they have is important. I think the rhymes are funny and silly and I appreciated them myself but when you think of them as ridiculous descriptions and depictions taken from tv I think it kinda funnier. All the different types of houses and all the words he can think to define them even more
 
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