Should Morrissey and Richard Ashcroft just give it up, already? - Popmatters.com

Should Morrissey and Richard Ashcroft Just Give It Up, Already? - PopMatters
By David Selsby

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The biggest problem with being a faded genius is that nothing he or she ever produces again can be analysed, critiqued, or appreciated in a vacuum. It all comes in the wake of their prior transcendental music.

Excerpt:

"But the music that Morrissey and Ashcroft are turning out now is so bad that we clearly hear they have nothing left to say in the medium. Writing perhaps? Sure. Large swaths of Morrissey's memoir, Autobiography (Putnam 2013) were delightful. But not in rock 'n' roll or pop or whatever you'd like to call it. Morrissey and Richard Ashcroft have said everything of import on record that they were ever going to say. Accordingly, I've never understood the rock fan that likes the entire corpus of a particular musician or band. Actually, I understand it, but I'm irked by the lack of honesty. Morrissey has developed a legendary following. His fans will buy whatever he produces, and if he's touring in a region where his following is strong, they will turn out in droves time and time again to support him. That's fine. In fact, it's very kind. But if you can't tell the difference between "Rusholme Ruffians" and "Stay in Bed All Day", then you never understood the man's genius."

Regards,
FWD.
 
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Comments

A

Anonymous

Guest
I play world peace more than any morrissey solo album I own and I own them all. I’m not a man was and is fantastic especially as it was just before the me too Times up deal. All the stereo types he sings of and ridicules seem to be found in people like Weinstein. I liked the use of Neil Cassidy’s death to sing about the ups and downs of living an exciting adventurous life. Istanbul was a good story as was staircase. Mountjoy was as beautifully sad as kiss me a lot was joyous. I love the topics he sings about now instead of friends resentful of success and fattys or boy racers with friends in the payroll. I’m not a child anymore and while there are of course many meaningful songs mixed in there I don’t connect to what a lot of those old songs are about any more. At least not like I used to or how I do to many of the songs he sings now
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I know the point of bringing Alain up wasn’t to do a comparison, but it does have me wondering. If all things being equal, how many would actually prefer Alain back in the band instead of Jesse (ignoring any of the baggage involved). Strictly from a songwriting perspective. Every so often this seems to spring up on here and there’s a definite chasm amongst some fans in this regard. I wonder how wide it is or if it’s relatively minor.

I think that was done as much to cock a snoot at Alain and send a message to the fans who were of the mindset that he should return to all facets of his old Morrissey job, i.e., both songwriting/recording and live performance.

The hype felt unjustified considering how "one geared" Jesse's compositions remained until World Peace.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
There was that embarrassing interview in Rome, though, when Jesse was unveiled and Morrissey was practically dribbling over him. And something continues to keep him there, because it's not the music. I do find it a bit odd that when Morrissey is snapped out on the town with Damon, Mr Webbed Fingers is frequently tagging along with them. Menage a trois?? Or maybe we've been fooled all along and Damon really is just the PA :D

I am inclined to attribute the paranoia and detachment from reality down to some kind of mental illness + his coterie of subserviant yes men, but you might have a point about the success of Quarry.
Morrissey's at a stage in his career where no one, not even him, is expecting something revolutionary to come from his body of work. There's no great remodeling of his ideas, or his aesthetic. He's a brand that never really changes, like the Ramones; although, his image has greater elasticity than theirs did.

Also, I am in a weird position of wanting to defend Jesse, while not being particularly in love with him. At the same time, I'm, not particularly in love with Boz anymore either. I think Boz is mailing it in, and it shows in his demeanor. How many songs can you reasonably write before you've emptied yourself of the happy accidents?

Jesse's tracks haven't been that bad, and let's remember that Alain was pilloried for his sub-par songwriting before Jesse came along. Jesse became the scapegoat after Quarry, when it's Morrissey's demand for a particular kind of sound that got the final stamp of approval. Morrissey wanted the chug-a-lug version of Playboys. You would be naive to think that he doesn't have final say, and can't direct them to do whatever it is he envisions. The problem is, does he even have a vision? Is it more of a case of "That'll do, now listen to me sing"

The pub rock sound that Morrissey rested on for years happened long before Jesse came along, and the last two albums have been somewhat of a break from that period. So, it's difficult to say that he's the source of any problem. He's capable, and could probably give you numerous versions of whatever you desired. Let's not pretend he is devoid of talent.

I don't think the music on LIHS is as good as it was on World Peace. If anything, it seems like the sound took a step backwards again on LIHS. World Peace was more eclectic musically, it's just that Morrissey's lyrics and vocal melodies come across as uninspired. He can always weave a tune, but it now it just seems he has slipped into a paint by numbers mindset when it comes to song-writing. He has his algorithm and it won't change.

He's also at an age that doesn't bring with it much artistic inspiration. His energy is low, and his resentments dominate the discourse like they do with many people of his age. He wants to scold, instead of move people. He wants to flaunt his separation from a changing world, instead of trying to analyze it.

I think the reality is, Morrissey is at a point in his career that he needs willing servants that he can work comfortably with, with little expectation that they're going to shine, or make any demands on him a sa song-writing partner. The music provides a serviceable karaoke style backing track to Morrissey's musings. I remember Boz mentioning that Morrissey doesn't like much of melody on the demos they send him, and I see that as a possible source for at least some of the blandness.

Marr was a master of overdubbing once the vocal was laid down, and provided a lot of movement, and hooks for Morrissey's vocal melodies. It wasn't Morrissey weaving his vocal melodies around an already filled out track. Marr came back in, and enhanced everything.

Joyce even said that early on, Morrissey was confused by Marr's overdubs after putting his vocal down. He said "What's he doing? He's ruining the song?" He learned to trust him. A perfect example is the demos of songs like Rubber Ring, where they don't have half the magic as the finished piece. If they were released in that form, they would have just been another middling British indie band of the 80's. Marr's overdubs, and sense of production were crucial to giving Morrissey's words greater weight.

As for his mercurial nature, well, let's be honest, Morrissey hasn't had to live in the so called "real world" since the early days of The Smiths, and maybe only for brief periods even before that. Psychologically, he's never had to evolve beyond his bedroom years.

I still stand by my online diagnosis. He has a personality disorder from playground trauma that I think is at least in part due to being a homosexual adolescent growing up in working class Manchester. Seventies England was mean place, and I think he's adopted some of the bullying postures that he was subjected to.

You would think it would give hims sympathy for immigrants, but he just sees them as British culture destroyers.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
If Morrissey only surfaced in 2006 I'm sure he'd be viewed as an average songwriter at best and a f***wit off the stage.

Still, what's he gonna do? I'm sure he enjoys making mediocre music to working down Asda.
And what will be your legacy? ‘Defender of all races who neither want or need my input. Balding twat with tiny penis and little man syndrome’
Sounds about right. You can have that for your epitaph. No problem, you’re welcome.
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
Morrissey's at a stage in his career where no one, not even him, is expecting something revolutionary to come from his body of work. There's no great remodeling of his ideas, or his aesthetic. He's a brand that never really changes, like the Ramones; although, his image has greater elasticity than theirs did.

Also, I am in a weird position of wanting to defend Jesse, while not being particularly in love with him. At the same time, I'm, not particularly in love with Boz anymore either. I think Boz is mailing it in, and it shows in his demeanor. How many songs can you reasonably write before you've emptied yourself of the happy accidents?

Jesse's tracks haven't been that bad, and let's remember that Alain was pilloried for his sub-par songwriting before Jesse came along. Jesse became the scapegoat after Quarry, when it's Morrissey's demand for a particular kind of sound that got the final stamp of approval. Morrissey wanted the chug-a-lug version of Playboys. You would be naive to think that he doesn't have final say, and can't direct them to do whatever it is he envisions. The problem is, does he even have a vision? Is it more of a case of "That'll do, now listen to me sing"

The pub rock sound that Morrissey rested on for years happened long before Jesse came along, and the last two albums have been somewhat of a break from that period. So, it's difficult to say that he's the source of any problem. He's capable, and could probably give you numerous versions of whatever you desired. Let's not pretend he is devoid of talent.

I don't think the music on LIHS is as good as it was on World Peace. If anything, it seems like the sound took a step backwards again on LIHS. World Peace was more eclectic musically, it's just that Morrissey's lyrics and vocal melodies come across as uninspired. He can always weave a tune, but it now it just seems he has slipped into a paint by numbers mindset when it comes to song-writing. He has his algorithm and it won't change.

He's also at an age that doesn't bring with it much artistic inspiration. His energy is low, and his resentments dominate the discourse like they do with many people of his age. He wants to scold, instead of move people. He wants to flaunt his separation from a changing world, instead of trying to analyze it.

I think the reality is, Morrissey is at a point in his career that he needs willing servants that he can work comfortably with, with little expectation that they're going to shine, or make any demands on him a sa song-writing partner. The music provides a serviceable karaoke style backing track to Morrissey's musings. I remember Boz mentioning that Morrissey doesn't like much of melody on the demos they send him, and I see that as a possible source for at least some of the blandness.

Marr was a master of overdubbing once the vocal was laid down, and provided a lot of movement, and hooks for Morrissey's vocal melodies. It wasn't Morrissey weaving his vocal melodies around an already filled out track. Marr came back in, and enhanced everything.

Joyce even said that early on, Morrissey was confused by Marr's overdubs after putting his vocal down. He said "What's he doing? He's ruining the song?" He learned to trust him. A perfect example is the demos of songs like Rubber Ring, where they don't have half the magic as the finished piece. If they were released in that form, they would have just been another middling British indie band of the 80's. Marr's overdubs, and sense of production were crucial to giving Morrissey's words greater weight.

As for his mercurial nature, well, let's be honest, Morrissey hasn't had to live in the so called "real world" since the early days of The Smiths, and maybe only for brief periods even before that. Psychologically, he's never had to evolve beyond his bedroom years.

I still stand by my online diagnosis. He has a personality disorder from playground trauma that I think is at least in part due to being a homosexual adolescent growing up in working class Manchester. Seventies England was mean place, and I think he's adopted some of the bullying postures that he was subjected to.

You would think it would give hims sympathy for immigrants, but he just sees them as British culture destroyers.
Excellent post, so much I agree with here (although we're going to have to agree to disagree about Jesse). And an interesting, and plausible, slant on his 'disorder'. I think the point about him never having had to evolve beyond his bedroom years is a good one and explains his simplistic, one-note politics. I always thought his best songs are those where he's singing about himself and the human condition, which is really all he knows about in any great depth. This also explains why he can create a song as beautiful as Israel in the current climate and not see any controversy, since he looks at everything through the prism of his own needs and experiences. Although, having said that, I'm sure he knew damn well the reaction it would get, like the seasoned troll he is...
 
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marred

Member
What a load of bollox. Morrissey has made some great music and I love LIHS. I have it on CD and green vinyl and I bloody well love it. I get it that some people don't like it, but that is no reason to trash it. Anyone who listens to 'Home is a question mark' or 'Israel' and calls them crap is either deaf or has an axe to grind with Moz for other reasons.
Let's go with Axe to grind. A deaf person wouldn't have heard the album.
 

Charlie Cheswick

Well-Known Member
What a load of bollox. Morrissey has made some great music and I love LIHS. I have it on CD and green vinyl and I bloody well love it. I get it that some people don't like it, but that is no reason to trash it. Anyone who listens to 'Home is a question mark' or 'Israel' and calls them crap is either deaf or has an axe to grind with Moz for other reasons.
Honestly, I think those are the worst two songs on the album. Sure Home is a Question Mark has a lovely vocal melody but the words are just nonsense for me and ruin it. Same with Israel.
 

William Blake's Seven

Active Member
I'll agree with everything you say cos your username is out of this world. Was it generated by Zen or Orac?
I'm Team Zen all the way. Orac was so irritating.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Marr was a master of overdubbing once the vocal was laid down, and provided a lot of movement, and hooks for Morrissey's vocal melodies. It wasn't Morrissey weaving his vocal melodies around an already filled out track. Marr came back in, and enhanced everything.

Joyce even said that early on, Morrissey was confused by Marr's overdubs after putting his vocal down. He said "What's he doing? He's ruining the song?" He learned to trust him. A perfect example is the demos of songs like Rubber Ring, where they don't have half the magic as the finished piece. If they were released in that form, they would have just been another middling British indie band of the 80's. Marr's overdubs, and sense of production were crucial to giving Morrissey's words greater weight.
I think overall this is very pertinent and true, although I've never seen the quote you mention from Joyce - that's extremely interesting, do you have the source for it?

I started a debate a couple of years back on this forum, on whether Marr really deserved a joint songwriting credit, arguing that a more accurate credit would have been 'Music by Marr, songs by Morrissey' since - to my mind - the song is essentially the words and vocal melody. Marr did enhance Morrissey's work in The Smiths, but I don't think that means he added greater weight to Morrissey's lyrics. Rather, it was Morrissey's distinctive and highly original lyrics, melody and vocal phrasing that inspired Marr to overdub and weave those great harmony lines around them - you can see in Marr's current solo work that it's more akin to the basic Smiths backing tracks before Morrissey made his contributions. Because Marr's own lead vocal melodies and lyrical phrasing are so uninspired, he just doesn't have much to work from.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Honestly, I think those are the worst two songs on the album. Sure Home is a Question Mark has a lovely vocal melody but the words are just nonsense for me and ruin it. Same with Israel.
I rationalize 'Israel' by imagining that the title refers to the name of a person, rather than to the country. A gay Anglo-Irish (lapsed?) Catholic singing to his Jewish lover, whose name is Israel.
 

Morrissey-so-old.com

If your reading this your an idiot.
Who the f*** cares, Morrissey is a shell of what he once was, the quality of his songs are crap, hell he even looks like crap now a days it looks like he’s aged 20 years in the last 10 years. If you ever notice Morrissey’s career pretty much follows the height of his hair.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'm a Morrissey fan, but does it actually matter what it's called?
Long time Morrissey & Smiths fan too & agreed that song IS crap. Album was very disappointing. Maybe 2 good songs. I also can't agree with Moz on some of his bizarre quirks & poltical views but still love much of his music of course.
 

reelfountain

Well-Known Member
Should Neil Young give up? Should Bowie have given up? Everyone has their golden years, and the Smiths was definitely the most golden for both Moz and Marr, but I like the way the albums keep coming, even if they're not the same in comparison. It's just always interesting to see what comes next - what the next chapter is - like following the ups and downs in a long saga.
 

g23

Always crashing in the same car
Should Neil Young give up? Should Bowie have given up? Everyone has their golden years, and the Smiths was definitely the most golden for both Moz and Marr, but I like the way the albums keep coming, even if they're not the same in comparison. It's just always interesting to see what comes next - what the next chapter is - like following the ups and downs in a long saga.
I think yes, Neil Young should have given it up at least 18 years ago (or 50). Bowie did give up until cancer brought him the muse. At least Morrissey doesn't have to worry about The Smiths anymore, as much as being held up alongside his recent statements. He's become a curiosity to most people anyway, more sideshow than songsmith. I'm curious how much success he'd have if he did another US tour. I imagine we may be past the grand opera houses and back into the stinky rock clubs at this point.
 

g23

Always crashing in the same car
And what will be your legacy? ‘Defender of all races who neither want or need my input. Balding twat with tiny penis and little man syndrome’
Sounds about right. You can have that for your epitaph. No problem, you’re welcome.
I dunno, I have to say Charlie has the demeanor and look of a man who is packing more meat than a halal butcher's shop. It's always the ones you least expect.
 

g23

Always crashing in the same car
Excellent post, so much I agree with here (although we're going to have to agree to disagree about Jesse). And an interesting, and plausible, slant on his 'disorder'. I think the point about him never having had to evolve beyond his bedroom years is a good one and explains his simplistic, one-note politics. I always thought his best songs are those where he's singing about himself and the human condition, which is really all he knows about in any great depth. This also explains why he can create a song as beautiful as Israel in the current climate and not see any controversy, since he looks at everything through the prism of his own needs and experiences. Although, having said that, I'm sure he knew damn well the reaction it would get, like the seasoned troll he is...
I've also wondered if he ended up running into Father Touchy-pants at one point in his youth, and suffers from a combination of religious guilt and closeted homosexuality. (Lyrical cornerstones, y'know?) He wouldn't put it in the autobio of course, because then he would make sense to people. There's a straight line that got bent along the way.
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
I've also wondered if he ended up running into Father Touchy-pants at one point in his youth, and suffers from a combination of religious guilt and closeted homosexuality. (Lyrical cornerstones, y'know?) He wouldn't put it in the autobio of course, because then he would make sense to people. There's a straight line that got bent along the way.
Interesting theory, G. Although, there was a PE teacher at his school who was eyeing up his nakedness in the changing rooms who did get exposed in Autobio. But maybe being manhandled by a priest provokes a level of confusion all of its own.
 

g23

Always crashing in the same car
Interesting theory, G. Although, there was a PE teacher at his school who was eyeing up his nakedness in the changing rooms who did get exposed in Autobio. But maybe being manhandled by a priest provokes a level of confusion all of its own.
The father who must be killed, Dear God please help me, I have forgiven Jesus etc.
When God is meant to protect you, and his servants do the opposite, I imagine it colors your world view.
There are a ton of lyrics that would point in a religious abuse direction, and it's a two step recipe for self loathing homosexual with religion issues.
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
The father who must be killed, Dear God please help me, I have forgiven Jesus etc.
When God is meant to protect you, and his servants do the opposite, I imagine it colors your world view.
There are a ton of lyrics that would point in a religious abuse direction, and it's a two step recipe for self loathing homosexual with religion issues.
I think Israel is his most poignant statement on that theme since I have forgiven Jesus - nothing to do with middle east politics (which I'm sure he has no idea about anyway), but it's all there: the shame and anger towards the church, the relief at finding acceptance. It did make me wonder why a nearly 60-year-old man would still feel the need to go over this ground yet again. Maybe you have something there.
 

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