The Smiths A-Z: "Meat Is Murder"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member









Next up in our (much delayed, apologies!) Smiths A-Z project is this song, the title track from the Meat is Murder album, released in 1985.

The song was performed live 75 times by the Smiths, while it has been played live a meagre 386 times by Morrissey.

What do we think?
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
Welcome back BB - you have been missed!

Whilst unarguably intense, emotive and powerful, this is not a song I seek out to play and have often skipped in favour of something less 'dirgey' (which isn't even a word). I enjoyed the Moz live version the first few times he performed them...but it became a bit of a boring ritual.

It is an iconic part of the Canon but not a great song.
 

Dirk Blaggard

Well-Known Member
This song, is obviously one that is important to many people and has saved many many animals lives, or at least the shopping list of a fews dykes in West Hollywood .
I think when it came out, it was very powerful. I think the fact M still rams the song down the throats of 1000s of fat meat eating latinos at the Hollywood bowl ( who seem not to take any of the lyrics onboard) is brilliant .
But as a song, as a song it leaves me cold. It doesn't even make sense, " death for no reason is murder" , its not though, is it?
Meat is murder, is my fave smiths lp, but that song, I have skipped every play since 1988

However, I am happy the song is out there and joking apart, I admire what it achieved
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Noteworthy version:
Royal Court, Liverpool, February 8, '86.
Which sees the end of the song segue in to lyrics from Unhappy Birthday (very roughly), which hadn't yet been recorded.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
This song wasn’t meant to be a toe-tapper or a pop chart hit, but a message that’s sadly still needed and just as important today. This song made me stop eating animals in 88. Questioning one’s diet and changing it in this way at that time just wasn’t done, and was looked upon as a very strange and extreme thing for a teenager to do. Older now and moved on, I still get looks when asked about my diet. Yes, things are getting better, but the way one is treated, it’s like we’re still living in the dark ages.



my, my, my, how the mighty have fallen ….



Death sells, and Johnny’s raking in the cash.

 
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Flibberty

Well-Known Member
It's not a song that would ever make my top ten list, but it was very important for the group and really helped to give the 2nd album some publicity. It was a bold choice to include it at all, never mind make it the album track, and it was used quite heavily as part of the promotion.

One example being this ITV show from 1985:



I think the song works as an album closer and I've always taken the 'death for no reason' lyric as referring solely to the meat issue. That's not to say that the words are the best he ever wrote, but I think it's fair to say that this is one topic where Morrissey's instincts were correct. Vegetarianism having become much more acceptable and commonplace in the years since.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
It's not a song that would ever make my top ten list, but it was very important for the group and really helped to give the 2nd album some publicity. It was a bold choice to include it at all, never mind make it the album track, and it was used quite heavily as part of the promotion.

One example being this ITV show from 1985:



I think the song works as an album closer and I've always taken the 'death for no reason' lyric as referring solely to the meat issue. That's not to say that the words are the best he ever wrote, but I think it's fair to say that this is one topic where Morrissey's instincts were correct. Vegetarianism having become much more acceptable and commonplace in the years since.

Who the heck is that guy towards the end of that clip, who "analyses" Morrissey's personality? There's something really weird about him.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Who the heck is that guy towards the end of that clip, who "analyses" Morrissey's personality? There's something really weird about him.

Astrologist supposedly. Morrissey handles it well though.
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
Not the greatest tune, but it was a very bold statement to make in 1985 and I respect that. I'm not so fond of the way he's used it as a heavy hammer to beat his live audience for several years (mainly through the visuals). The last time I saw him play it live, I swear more than half the audience left their seats... which seems a bit counterproductive.
 
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spent

Well-Known Member
This was also the time of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle that had been fed meat and bone meal from their own species. For them, meat was a double murder. It was because of BSE that I became a vegetarian, because it was the first time that I saw suffering cows on television. I didn't need images from slaughterhouses to convince me that there was something terribly wrong with the meat industry. After having seen these poor shaking cows, you only needed a little bit of imagination to grasp the full tragedy of human meat consumption.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This song wasn’t meant to be a toe-tapper or a pop chart hit, but a message that’s sadly still needed and just as important today. This song made me stop eating animals in 88. Questioning one’s diet and changing it in this way at that time just wasn’t done, and was looked upon as a very strange and extreme thing for a teenager to do. Older now and moved on, I still get looks when asked about my diet. Yes, things are getting better, but the way one is treated, it’s like we’re still living in the dark ages.



my, my, my, how the mighty have fallen ….



Death sells, and Johnny’s raking in the cash.


And to think Morrissey probably wrote this wearing leather shoes.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
And to think Morrissey probably wrote this wearing leather shoes.
Well - he did have a leather fetish at the time, ironically:

MORRISSEY: We all have our idiosyncracies, and one of mine... as a child of the sixties, when the seats of cars were made entirely of leather, to me there was something highly erotic about actually being in a car... I've always found cars highly erotic.
INTERVIEWER:Why? Because they go vroom vroom, and you can switch them on and switch them off when you want?
MORRISSEY:No, no --- not the driver's seat... there was just something about the old leather seats...
INTERVIEWER:So you're into leather?
MORRISSEY:Y-y-e... next question.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Because I've posted this for all of the other songs, I may as well post it here as well:

Just to show other viewpoints and not because they should be considered in any way definitive...

In the poll on this board this song ranked 58th from 73 of the group's songs.
In the poll on the Hoffman board this song ranked 55th from 73 of the group's songs.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
And to think Morrissey probably wrote this wearing leather shoes.

Yes, but he wasn’t putting his name to a leather shoe company and profiting from the sale of animal slaughter like Johnny Marr now is.
 

spent

Well-Known Member
Murder - 'The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.'

So Meat isn't Murder, but this tune is.
This song is, among other things, a revenge song from the perspective of an animal rights activist who is about to show a meat eater "how animals die"...
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Noteworthy version:
Royal Court, Liverpool, February 8, '86.
Which sees the end of the song segue in to lyrics from Unhappy Birthday (very roughly), which hadn't yet been recorded.
Regards,
FWD.

found this at least on Passions Just…

‘NOTE: In the live performance of this song on 8 February 1986Morrissey mumbled unfamiliar lyrics in the outro to the song. Most of it is difficult to decipher but a recurring line anticipates a key lyric that would appear much later in the song "Unhappy Birthday": (approximately) "This is it, the dew in your eyes for the one that you left behind. In the car... with the trace of my hand. I'm the one that you left behind. It was not your mother, or father that you left behind. It's my heart... it's my heart... it's mine, the one that you left behind. It's my heart... I'm the one you left behind... it's mine... my heart... that you left behind... mine....that you left behind... tonight..."
 
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