The Smiths A-Z: "Ask"

A

Anonymous

Guest
Amazed at all the hate for this one - I think it's a classic. Great music - the guitar lines are excellent, and some hilarious lysics from Morrissey. How can people not love a hit pop single with the line "Spending warm summer days indoors, writing frightening verse to a buck-toothed girl in Luxemberg'?

I'd also love to hear the original John Porter mix before I die.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always






CARPE DIEM !!!

What a celebration of sound! joyful! that only The Smiths can bring. More proof that they can be more than just ‘miserable, etc’ which was obviously part of their intentions.

Marr said there’s not much difference between Porter’s pre-mix version and the final Lillywhite mix. Though Porter played a large role, it does sound very Lillywhite to me, something dreamy. Beginning with that little almost Hawaiian twangy guitar lick, then all the lovely cymbal wash and Marr’s ‘seagulls’ to Kirsty MacColl vocals, perfect choice for the vibe of this song, masterstroke really. Though my favorite addition to the song is that harmonica line, it just gave a new dimension and twist to it, making it all a little weirder than it already was.


I first heard this on Louder Than Bombs, pretty much the soundtrack to my youth, and my favorite of the Smith’s comps. All on just one cassette was a world in which I preferred to live.





:rock:
 
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The Wild Turkey

Wild T!
Turkerator






CARPE DIEM !!!

What a celebration of sound! joyful! that only The Smiths can bring. More proof that they can be more than just ‘miserable, etc’ which was obviously part of their intentions.

Marr said there’s not much difference between the Porter and Lillywhite mixes. Though Porter played a large role, it does sound very Lillywhite to me, something dreamy. Beginning with that little almost Hawaiian twangy guitar lick, then all the lovely cymbal wash and Marr’s ‘seagulls’ to Kirsty MacColl vocals, perfect choice for the vibe of this song, masterstroke really. Though my favorite addition to the song is that harmonica line, it just gave a new dimension and twist to it, making it all a little weirder than it already was.


I first heard this on Louder Than Bombs, pretty much the soundtrack to my youth, and my favorite of the Smith’s comps. All on just one cassette was a world in which preferred to live.


Yep, it was the first song on the flip side of the tape.
Always liked that stuff about "the bomb, the bomb, the bomb..."
If ya "Ask" Wild T, this thing is a classic.
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
Amazed at all the hate for this one - I think it's a classic. Great music - the guitar lines are excellent, and some hilarious lysics from Morrissey. How can people not love a hit pop single with the line "Spending warm summer days indoors, writing frightening verse to a buck-toothed girl in Luxemberg'?

I'd also love to hear the original John Porter mix before I die.
Also a bit surprised by the hate for this one. Lightweight for sure but a superb pop song by any standard... it just makes me happy whenever I hear it. I might be biased as it's on the shortlist of Smiths songs I knew from the radio before I started buying their albums.

I'd consider that lyric along with "What she asked of me at the end of the day / Caligula would have blushed" to be among the funniest lyrics Morrissey ever wrote.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
A perfect breezy pop single. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's good that the Smiths didn't completely forget their place as a hit singles band. Tracks like this, 'Sheila Take a Bow' and 'Girlfriend in a Coma' are just as much part of the band's mix as the more 'rock' side. I think it's cool they were able to almost smuggle in these nuggets of subversion in what on casual listen sounds like perfectly upbeat radio-friendly pop fare.
 
R

Roger O

Guest
Ask is a personal favorite of mine musically and lyrically. I could do without the seagull break, but otherwise beautiful call and answer guitars. Morrissey's self help song. Sly boy. I still love it. If it's not love...
 

Surface

Chilling in Cheshire.
This is an audio recording of the first time I heard it at Gmex, one of the best musical days out of my life and the first time I experienced 2 pint plastic containers!

 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
It hasn’t become a Smiths classic, but I can still enjoy it now, just like then. While Morrissey prefers to spend warm summier days indoor, I prefer to open my windows on warm summe, play this song loudl’y and sing along to it. Such an uplifting feeling. And I love Kirsty’s voice. I got into her own music thanks to this song.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Amazed at all the hate for this one - I think it's a classic. Great music - the guitar lines are excellent, and some hilarious lysics from Morrissey. How can people not love a hit pop single with the line "Spending warm summer days indoors, writing frightening verse to a buck-toothed girl in Luxemberg'?

I'd also love to hear the original John Porter mix before I die.

According to John Porter, he hadn't mixed the song before the group went off on a tour of America so it was never completed.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Though, a mix was tried, but then abandoned? According to Porter ..

“The song was initially to be mixed by Porter at Jam Studios. "Originally “Ask” was a bit of a tour de force and it was pretty complicated. ... Then there was this bit in the middle where they wanted the sound of a waterfall crashing, all with guitars. [...] It was a jigsaw puzzle. You needed six hands to mix it properly and we didn't have automation at Jam Studios," Porter said. Goddard reports that Morrissey was threatened by Porter and Marr's camaraderie in the studio,[3] and instead requested that Steve Lillywhite, MacColl's husband, mix "Ask" at his home studio in the London Borough of Ealing.[2] Marr was unhappy with the song's final mix, commenting, "I couldn't understand why it was being tampered with because it all came together very simply and with a definite sense of purpose. [The final version] wasn't dramatically different, but it felt kind of a little bit muted. Less spirited, absolutely".




“Goddard reports that Morrissey was threatened by Porter and Marr's camaraderie in the studio” :rolleyes:

I wonder what was Goddard’s source for him to come to that conclusion.
 
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Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Though, a mix was tried, but then abandoned? According to Porter ..

“The song was initially to be mixed by Porter at Jam Studios. "Originally “Ask” was a bit of a tour de force and it was pretty complicated. ... Then there was this bit in the middle where they wanted the sound of a waterfall crashing, all with guitars. [...] It was a jigsaw puzzle. You needed six hands to mix it properly and we didn't have automation at Jam Studios," Porter said. Goddard reports that Morrissey was threatened by Porter and Marr's camaraderie in the studio,[3] and instead requested that Steve Lillywhite, MacColl's husband, mix "Ask" at his home studio in the London Borough of Ealing.[2] Marr was unhappy with the song's final mix, commenting, "I couldn't understand why it was being tampered with because it all came together very simply and with a definite sense of purpose. [The final version] wasn't dramatically different, but it felt kind of a little bit muted. Less spirited, absolutely".

That omits the all-important John Porter comment, "I haven't even mixed the bloody thing."
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
That omits the all-important John Porter comment, "I haven't even mixed the bloody thing."


Yes, but by him describing it as a puzzle and needing more hands to mix it because that board didn’t have automation, seems to imply
that they did try.

Which is why in my post I said/asked ....

“Though, a mix was tried, but then abandoned?”


Does Morrissey talk about this in his
bio? I wouldn’t be surprised if this frustrated him, and he wanted a new single out there while they were on tour.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Yes, but by him describing it as a puzzle and needing more hands to mix it because that board didn’t have automation, seems to imply
that they did try.

Which is why in my post I said/asked ....

“Though, a mix was tried, but then abandoned?”


Does Morrissey talk about this in his
bio? I wouldn’t be surprised if this frustrated him, and he wanted a new single out there while they were on tour.
Again you have omitted another all-important John Porter quote, "we didn't have automation at Jam studios, so I knew I was going to have to mix it somewhere else at a later date." He has also said that he "tossed off" a rough mix for the band to listen to on tour, so according to him it wasn't a case of trying to finish it and abandoning it.

There was no issue with needing a new single for a tour. Panic was released in August 1986 and Ask was released in October.

Geoff Travis has said that the name of Steve Lillywhite was suggested by the label as someone the band could work with.
 
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Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Looking back at The Severed Alliance now, it's interesting that John Porter states with regard to Craig Gannon's claim that he felt he could have had a writing credit, "I didn't ever imagine him having any input."

He, Johnny and Mike all seem to have been deeply underwhelmed by how little Gannon contributed to the session.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Again you have omitted another all-important John Porter quote, "we didn't have automation at Jam studios, so I knew I was going to have to mix it somewhere else at a later date."

I’m sorry. But I didn’t see that in the wiki article from which I was drawing my information, so how could have I omitted it?



He has also said that he "tossed off" a rough mix for the band to listen to on tour, so according to him it wasn't a case of trying to finish it and abandoning it.

Ok so there may be a copy of a Porter (rough) mix out there then.



There was no issue with needing a new single for a tour. Panic was released in August 1986 and Ask was released in October.

Thank you, but I didn’t mean to suggest they needed it to tour on as a reason to release it.

Geoff Travis has said that the name of Steve Lillywhite was suggested by the label as someone the band could work with.

Thanks.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Yep agree with the lightweight comments above and possible my least favourite Smith single.
Nice guitar work by Marr/Gannon. Golden Lights on the B side was dreadful.
Spotted a Union Jack on the video. Do hope it doesn't send a certain poster into meltdown....
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH #FBPB
Enjoy the darker stuff and this is too light!
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I love the version of ASK @ Morrissey’s 50 th anniversary gig.
Hearing the crowd sing so loud, almost overtaking Morrissey’s vocals, makes me realize whhat we are missing in a world with barely any gig. Also typical Morrissey to confuse them by changing the lyric towards the end.
 
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