What could've been a masterstroke with "Israel"

King Leer

Leering since '97
The song Israel undeniably powerful, even if I'm against everything that government stands for and does. Great vocal melody and music.

What would’ve been brilliant is if Moz had recorded a counterpiece called Palestine.

The irony with Moz is that he has so little faith in human nature, yet subscribes to one of its basic behaviorial patterns — “You like me, I’ll like you back.” Tel Aviv gave him the key to the city and it’s been a love fest ever since.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The song Israel undeniably powerful, even if I'm against everything that government stands for and does. Great vocal melody and music.

What would’ve been brilliant is if Moz had recorded a counterpiece called Palestine.

The irony with Moz is that he has so little faith in human nature, yet subscribes to one of its basic behaviorial patterns — “You like me, I’ll like you back.” Tel Aviv gave him the key to the city and it’s been a love fest ever since.
He liked Tel Aviv long before they gave him the keys. It's not just Israel, but an appreciation of Middle Eastern culture.
 

gordyboy9

GAME OF DEATH.
Not so much tel aviv but I think he likes that sort of culture,all of his heroes like joe orton and Kenneth Williams were always going to places like turkey because sex was so easy to get,i will see you in far off places has a middle eastern feel to it,to my lugs anyway.
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
I have a theory about Israel. I don't think it's about politics at all. I think it's about gay rights and sex - in particular, gay sex and relationships within oppressive cultures - eg the Middle East, but also referencing his own Catholic upbringing. Let's face it, half this album is about sex, it seems. Tel Aviv is known for its liberal approach to homosexuality and has been dubbed the 'gay capital of the Middle East'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Israel

Here's my interpretation. He makes the theme clear from the very beginning:

"You realize, if you're happy
Jesus sends you straight to hell...
...And should you dare enjoy your body
Here tolls Hades' welcome bell"

Then he says Israel has found a way to simply accept people as they are:
"You've found a middle-course existence
We're all bones and flesh and shell"

Then we have:
"I can't answer for what armies do
They are not you"
- ie this is not about the political/military situation in Israel/Palestine

And then
"In other climes, they bitch and whine
Just because you're not like them...
...The sky is dark for many others
They want it dark for you as well"
- I think this refers in particular to the other middle-eastern countries who, despite the Arab Spring, still take a hardline, ultra-conservative approach to homosexuality and would like Israel to 'toe the line'.

Then he brings back the themes from the beginning - ie human nature, judgemental religions:
"Nature gave you every impulse
Who are virgin priests to tell
Who/how to love
How to live"

CONTEXT STATEMENT: I am neither a bot nor a Morrissey apologist (you can check my previous posts as proof!) - just someone interested in open debate. In fact I loathed WPINOYB and YOR. I think bits of this album are absolutely dire (Who Will Protect Us, I Bury the Living, I Wish you Lonely). But I do think this song is stunningly beautiful and incredibly moving. I also think it hints at some of the torment he's suffered through his own 'humasexuality'. It's a pity that because of his almost pathological need to troll, it will not get the acclaim it should (despite what I believe is the real message, he knew fine well what the reaction would be to calling a song Israel).

Anyway, that's my take on it. Opinions?
 
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Charlie Cheswick

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I agree it's a gay theme. I'd go as far to say that if something has a special interest to Morrissey it probably has a gay theme, an animal theme or is something to do with the Royals/Imperialism.
 

King Leer

Leering since '97
Fair point about Tel Aviv, but if it’s an appreciation for Middle Eastern culture why such a specific torch song for Israel? I suppose In Your Lap (a track I also like) casts a glance further across the region. I agree with his general sentiment that people shouldn’t be disparaged for the government they have, but don’t Israelis overwhelmingly support that shit show? Happy to be corrected.

Nonetheless, I’m glad our kid is the only one writing songs like this and I Bury the Living.

He liked Tel Aviv long before they gave him the keys. It's not just Israel, but an appreciation of Middle Eastern culture.
 

NealCassidy

Well-Known Member
Why did they give him the keys in the first place? Because of a concert or two?
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I agree it's a gay theme. I'd go as far to say that if something has a special interest to Morrissey it probably has a gay theme, an animal theme or is something to do with the Royals/Imperialism.
Totally. As far as I can see, this is I Have Forgiven Jesus, transplanted to the Middle East.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Fair point about Tel Aviv, but if it’s an appreciation for Middle Eastern culture why such a specific torch song for Israel? I suppose In Your Lap (a track I also like) casts a glance further across the region. I agree with his general sentiment that people shouldn’t be disparaged for the government they have, but don’t Israelis overwhelmingly support that shit show? Happy to be corrected.

Nonetheless, I’m glad our kid is the only one writing songs like this and I Bury the Living.
I can't find the quote but Moz once said that certain artists who where a huge influence for him weren't on his Under the Influence compilation because they were big enough anyway and didn't need his support or his voice. I think it's similar with Israel and Palestine. He may feel that the voices for Palestine are louder.
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
Fair point about Tel Aviv, but if it’s an appreciation for Middle Eastern culture why such a specific torch song for Israel? I suppose In Your Lap (a track I also like) casts a glance further across the region. I agree with his general sentiment that people shouldn’t be disparaged for the government they have, but don’t Israelis overwhelmingly support that shit show? Happy to be corrected.

Nonetheless, I’m glad our kid is the only one writing songs like this and I Bury the Living.
Because it isn't about Middle Eastern culture, it's about gay culture.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Totally. As far as I can see, this is I Have Forgiven Jesus, transplanted to the Middle East.
Morrissey in 2012

"Right now I'm in love with Santiago. It is a beautiful city, calm and happy ... but my head is very fickle, so next week I'll probably want to live in Iceland, under the ground. My ideal, in truth, would be to live in a huge church. But they rarely appear on the market, and should be very expensive to keep warm. I'm already seeing myself hanging on the bells every afternoon at 18h, wearing a long robe and singing 'The world is full of crashing bores'."



https://nomadicboys.com/gay-life-in-chile-interview-with-ivan-from-santiago/
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
Perhaps in part, yes, but I think Morrissey's recent comments on BDS/Israel show it's more than just that.
To be fair, though, Morrissey's grasp of both domestic and world politics is pretty childlike. It's hard to accuse him of making pointed political statements when all he's said is that Israeli people are very nice and we shouldn't boycott their country. You could say that it's naive and he should educate himself better, and you might have a point. You could also argue that he's being deliberately provocative by being so simplistic, but I'm not sure that's the same thing as holding radical views, which would imply that he'd thought about it in some depth.

I honestly don't hear much that is political in this song - to me, he's just singing about the country from his own deep-seated point of self-interest (which is very typical of him). However, I do agree that he's got long-standing form for tin-eared pronouncements and I'm sure he knew at some level that the subject of the song would upset people.
 

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
The song Israel undeniably powerful, even if I'm against everything that government stands for and does. Great vocal melody and music.

What would’ve been brilliant is if Moz had recorded a counterpiece called Palestine.

The irony with Moz is that he has so little faith in human nature, yet subscribes to one of its basic behaviorial patterns — “You like me, I’ll like you back.” Tel Aviv gave him the key to the city and it’s been a love fest ever since.
Wait and see King, wait and see. Next time he falls in love with a hottie from Hebron, í have little doubt that we will get something similar :brows:

To me, "Israel" is one of the finest love songs that Morrissey has ever written.

In artistic terms, he ploughed a similar furrow on "Scandinavia", which í loved from the moment that í heard it live; í found that the recorded version never quite captured the sheer sturm und drang of those living renditions {Cork in July 2011 being the zenith for me}.

Depending on how his love life goes, í am looking forward to a whole concept album of such stunners...


.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I have a theory about Israel. I don't think it's about politics at all. I think it's about gay rights and sex - in particular, gay sex and relationships within oppressive cultures - eg the Middle East, but also referencing his own Catholic upbringing. Let's face it, half this album is about sex, it seems. Tel Aviv is known for its liberal approach to homosexuality and has been dubbed the 'gay capital of the Middle East'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Israel

Here's my interpretation. He makes the theme clear from the very beginning:

"You realize, if you're happy
Jesus sends you straight to hell...
...And should you dare enjoy your body
Here tolls Hades' welcome bell"

Then he says Israel has found a way to simply accept people as they are:
"You've found a middle-course existence
We're all bones and flesh and shell"

Then we have:
"I can't answer for what armies do
They are not you"
- ie this is not about the political/military situation in Israel/Palestine

And then
"In other climes, they bitch and whine
Just because you're not like them...
...The sky is dark for many others
They want it dark for you as well"
- I think this refers in particular to the other middle-eastern countries who, despite the Arab Spring, still take a hardline, ultra-conservative approach to homosexuality and would like Israel to 'toe the line'.

Then he brings back the themes from the beginning - ie human nature, judgemental religions:
"Nature gave you every impulse
Who are virgin priests to tell
Who/how to love
How to live"

CONTEXT STATEMENT: I am neither a bot nor a Morrissey apologist (you can check my previous posts as proof!) - just someone interested in open debate. In fact I loathed WPINOYB and YOR. I think bits of this album are absolutely dire (Who Will Protect Us, I Bury the Living, I Wish you Lonely). But I do think this song is stunningly beautiful and incredibly moving. I also think it hints at some of the torment he's suffered through his own 'humasexuality'. It's a pity that because of his almost pathological need to troll, it will not get the acclaim it should (despite what I believe is the real message, he knew fine well what the reaction would be to calling a song Israel).

Anyway, that's my take on it. Opinions?
It's more a truth than a theory, as he says as much in the songs. Explicitly. If you would have guessed this before the song was heard then in terms of 'theory' it would have been impressive. Not knocking you, just saying
I think it was obvious it was going to be about the gay friendly aspect.
Lots of gays in the uk are pro Israel due to their openness to sexuality .
I think morrissey has been bought off though, I think he's so insecure he likes anyone who likes him, as the above poster said.
It's sad really, for someone who claims to be so independent he's so needy. It's no surprise Liam pissed all over him in terms of sales and charm.
I prefer moz but it's such a shame what's happened to him. He seems a very sad man.
I thought his LIHS was quite good. But he definitely sunk its success himself
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
It's more a truth than a theory, as he says as much in the songs. Explicitly. If you would have guessed this before the song was heard then in terms of 'theory' it would have been impressive. Not knocking you, just saying
I think it was obvious it was going to be about the gay friendly aspect.
Lots of gays in the uk are pro Israel due to their openness to sexuality .
I think morrissey has been bought off though, I think he's so insecure he likes anyone who likes him, as the above poster said.
It's sad really, for someone who claims to be so independent he's so needy. It's no surprise Liam pissed all over him in terms of sales and charm.
I prefer moz but it's such a shame what's happened to him. He seems a very sad man.
I thought his LIHS was quite good. But he definitely sunk its success himself
Well, yes, it seems fairly explicit to me, but the shitstorm that followed its release made me think I should phrase my post carefully! And there are plenty of people who have heard it (including paid-up reviewers) who prefer to think its focus is dodgy politics. I do agree, it is sad what has happened to him. He seems caught in a self-destructive spiral, despite the impressive recent efforts of BMG. I would like to think he will pull himself out of it in 2018 but I'm not hopeful.
 
D

Deleted member 25370

Guest
I have a theory about Israel. I don't think it's about politics at all. I think it's about gay rights and sex - in particular, gay sex and relationships within oppressive cultures - eg the Middle East, but also referencing his own Catholic upbringing. Let's face it, half this album is about sex, it seems. Tel Aviv is known for its liberal approach to homosexuality and has been dubbed the 'gay capital of the Middle East'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Israel

Here's my interpretation. He makes the theme clear from the very beginning:

"You realize, if you're happy
Jesus sends you straight to hell...
...And should you dare enjoy your body
Here tolls Hades' welcome bell"

Then he says Israel has found a way to simply accept people as they are:
"You've found a middle-course existence
We're all bones and flesh and shell"

Then we have:
"I can't answer for what armies do
They are not you"
- ie this is not about the political/military situation in Israel/Palestine

And then
"In other climes, they bitch and whine
Just because you're not like them...
...The sky is dark for many others
They want it dark for you as well"
- I think this refers in particular to the other middle-eastern countries who, despite the Arab Spring, still take a hardline, ultra-conservative approach to homosexuality and would like Israel to 'toe the line'.

Then he brings back the themes from the beginning - ie human nature, judgemental religions:
"Nature gave you every impulse
Who are virgin priests to tell
Who/how to love
How to live"

CONTEXT STATEMENT: I am neither a bot nor a Morrissey apologist (you can check my previous posts as proof!) - just someone interested in open debate. In fact I loathed WPINOYB and YOR. I think bits of this album are absolutely dire (Who Will Protect Us, I Bury the Living, I Wish you Lonely). But I do think this song is stunningly beautiful and incredibly moving. I also think it hints at some of the torment he's suffered through his own 'humasexuality'. It's a pity that because of his almost pathological need to troll, it will not get the acclaim it should (despite what I believe is the real message, he knew fine well what the reaction would be to calling a song Israel).

Anyway, that's my take on it. Opinions?
i can agree with that. in addition i would say that the "you" is the moz(es) looking for a promised land, i.e. israel, that is so different to the catholic culture with its sexual restrictions that he grew up in. so in the first verse i'd say there is someone trying to lure him to israel, the place where "you", i.e. moz(es), can enjoy his body, and moz(es) is thinking about that offer, also its downsides.
moz(es) is also complaining about the bad treatment he receives "in other climes".
the "virgin priests" stand for catholicism that oppressed every sexual impulse in his youth.
so it's a personal song, a little bit ironic, about the "homelessness-theme" running through the album.
 
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