The Moz/Smiths Top 100, Part 268: ISTANBUL

How do you rate 'Istanbul'?


  • Total voters
    57

Houdini

Junior Member
In 2007, and early 2008, we put up polls for all 234 then released Morrissey and The Smiths-songs. More than 40,000 votes were cast and this resulted in The Morrissey/Smiths Top 100, or indeed, The Morrissey/The Smiths Top 234. In 2009/2010 we updated this chart with the 25 new songs that were released in 2008-2010. The final results of 2010, the 'Top 259', can be viewed here. Now, 4 years on, many people have asked me to continue with the polls as since the last one 25 new Morrissey-songs have been released.
So we'll start with the songs that were released in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and we'll end with the 18 songs from World Peace Is None of Your Business.

So here it goes. Let's hope for as big a turn-out as in 2007 and 2010 and, once again, vote with your heart, not with your mind.

Song 268: Istanbul (Morrissey/Boz Boorer)


When he first cried his mother died
I had tried to be his guide
when he was born I was too young
the father searches for the son
in Istanbul
give him back to me
Istanbul, give me back my brown-eyed
son
Moonlight jumping through the trees
sunken eyes avoiding me
from dawn to dusk the hunt is on
the father searches for the son
in Istanbul
give him back to me
Istanbul, give me back my brown-eyed son

On secret streets in disbelief
Little Shadow shows the lead
prostitutes stylish and glum
in amongst them you are one
oh, what have I done?

Rolling breathless off the tongue
the vicious street gang slang
I lean into a box of pine
identify the kid as mine

Previous polls:

Part 267: World Peace is None of Your Business
Part 266: You Say You Don't Love Me
Part 265: Satellite of Love
Part 264: The Kid's a Looker
Part 263: Action is My Middle Name
Part 262: People Are The Same Everywhere
Part 261: Safe, Warm Lancashire Home
Part 260: Treat Me Like a Human Being
Polls 259-1

EACH TIME YOU VOTE, YOU SUPPORT THE PROCESS!
 
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Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
By far the best from the 'album', in structure, composition, lyric and production. Has 'single' writ all over it, like EDILS did when Viva Hate was released.

P.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
id give it an eight. im not a man is by far the best on the album for me. this is a good song but in some ways it feels slight with no surprises or working on any other level but straight ahead. best part about the song, which i read elsewhere, is how it lilts between the optimistic romantic sound/feel and the crunchy lower part that drops like your stomach as otherwise the song is very traditionally structured imo. ive heard this story a million times before in a million mediums so it was like i already knew everything about the lyrics in one go and in a lot of ways kinda bore me. theyre well executed but its lacks any deeper meaning. maybe if it was about someone real and specific id giver it more emotional weight but it doesnt seem to be so far
 

Tingle3

Member
Looking at the footage it looks to me as though Morrissey is singing "IstaMbul" and not "Istanbul" and I'm not hearing a hard "N" either. He can sing it however he likes because it's Morrissey's song.
 

fredkocherpepsi

Active Member
10. Will go down as a classic Moz tune.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
i dont know. the lyrics dont really offer any insight into the feelings of the father/narrator. its to objective and reads like a list of observed events with no descriptive qualities about anyones feelings except the one line about the son avoiding the eyes of the father. the lyrics are to numb and objective which is unlike morrissey to me. theres no emotional insight imo
 
Moonlight jumping through the trees
sunken eyes avoiding me


I really, really like this. Great lyrics, music, vocal - the whole package. If it had been given a "proper" single release, it would have been his best since First of the Gang to Die. A real highlight of the album. 9.
 

Old Mathew

Well-Known Member
I know I'm in the distinct minority here, but this song bores me to tears, and I always skip it. I feel like I've heard it a million times before (most notably as "Jack the Ripper") and it's the one song on the album that sounds too much like the old "chug rock." I like the lyrics, I like the melody, I like the lead guitar and flamenco... but it all strangely adds up to complete indifference to me. I only think it's an obvious single if it were 2004. The rest of the album feels innovative and fresh to me; this song just feels like a by-the-numbers Moz tune. I gave it a 4.
 

Maurice E Maher

Well-Known Member
It's a really good latter-day Morrissey song but it isn't up there with the early Street-era singles or most of the Smiths stuff.
Still, considering People Are The Same could easily have been the first single, we have to remember just how lucky we are to have Moz and band back to pretty decent form.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
the lyrics dont really offer any insight into the feelings of the father/narrator. its to objective and reads like a list of observed events with no descriptive qualities about anyones feelings except the one line about the son avoiding the eyes of the father. the lyrics are to numb and objective which is unlike morrissey to me. theres no emotional insight

I feel the same. It's very detached and uninvolving lyrically. Morrissey isn't really expressing any emotion at all, which makes it very bland and cold. Also, the music just feels like a reheated inferior version of 'Jack the Ripper' - which, in contrast, WAS emotionally involving. I'm at a loss as to why so many people rate this song highly. Everything about it is bland.
 

Old Mathew

Well-Known Member
It's very detached and uninvolving lyrically. Morrissey isn't really expressing any emotion at all, which makes it very bland and cold.

Thanks for articulating what I couldn't quite put my finger on. I think it's the transition from first to third person in what should be the most emotive line in the song (i.e., "the father searches for the son" vs. something like "I am searching for my son") that creates the sense of detachment. That technique worked well in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber but it falls decidedly flat here.
 

Harsh Truth

Ever Felt Had?
Well, in my opinion, this is the best song - by miles - on the album, and easily a top ten of all time. I rated it a 10.

The fan video that accompanies this poll is pretty good, actually.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I feel the same. It's very detached and uninvolving lyrically. Morrissey isn't really expressing any emotion at all, which makes it very bland and cold. Also, the music just feels like a reheated inferior version of 'Jack the Ripper' - which, in contrast, WAS emotionally involving. I'm at a loss as to why so many people rate this song highly. Everything about it is bland.

well as much as i agree with what i wrote above about the lyrics i do enjoy the song. i might think it dry and overly objective its still great in terms of narration word etc i also love the tune but i really like that type of music. solid eight
 

Eraserhead

Accept Myself
Musically, it does have a particular sound that stands out from other Morrissey songs. A driving rhythm which fluctuates with start-stop beats (very technical :D).
There are some excellent lyrics scattered throughout the song, but the opening couplet seems too neat, and I agree that there is a certain detachment which is uncommon in most of his work. Overall, I do think it's a very strong song...especially it's musical form.
I give it an 8.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Musically, it does have a particular sound that stands out from other Morrissey songs. A driving rhythm which fluctuates with start-stop beats (very technical :D).
There are some excellent lyrics scattered throughout the song, but the opening couplet seems too neat, and I agree that there is a certain detachment which is uncommon in most of his work. Overall, I do think it's a very strong song...especially it's musical form.
I give it an 8.

Its 'particular sound' is a very pale imitation of The Stone Roses circa The Second Coming. The lyrics do nothing for me either. Dull, at best.

Still much better than the rest of the album, though.
 

Old Mathew

Well-Known Member
There's nothing "technical" about it. Straight up 4/4 rhythm. I listened to it again, and personally, I just hate the bass line. It's not terrible -- just a matter of personal taste. In 30 years, it's the first Morrissey or Smiths song that does nothing for me. Glad others like it-- I don't-- there's nothing more to be said.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
interesting spot old mathew, i didnt notice that. that does add the possibility of it being a story he saw play out, perhaps a bunch of times, then wrote about since he travels there so much. that to me could personalize the song a bit.
 

Eraserhead

Accept Myself
There's nothing "technical" about it. Straight up 4/4 rhythm. I listened to it again, and personally, I just hate the bass line. It's not terrible -- just a matter of personal taste. In 30 years, it's the first Morrissey or Smiths song that does nothing for me. Glad others like it-- I don't-- there's nothing more to be said.

Actually, when I said 'technical', I was sarcastically referring to my poor musical vocabulary (hence the cheesy grin). Sorry...I thought this was obvious.
 
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