"X's comeback and Morrissey's fall when do we let musicians off the hook for thinking bad thoughts" by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Here's a thoughtful, although for me almost entirely wrong, attempt to look at pop artists and how we judge their work in light of their "views" - using Morrissey and X as case studies.

https://sterlewine.substack.com/p/xs-comeback-and-morrisseys-fall

This section, for example, I genuinely don't even begin to recognise Erlewine's reaction to the songs:

Once a lyricist of extraordinary empathy, Morrissey has let his compassion curdle to the point that he's encouraging suicidal souls to just kill themselves at Jim Jim Falls. It's a nasty note to begin an album and it reverberates through the record, turning the superficially heartfelt "Love Is On Its Way Out" and "Bobby, Don't You Think You Know" in hectoring little numbers. The hardness of spirit proves to be a compelling counterpoint to the liveliness of the music, amounting to the debut of a new variation of Morrissey's persona.

But hey, we're all entitled to our own interpretations of these songs.
 

Comments

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Here's a thoughtful, although for me almost entirely wrong, attempt to look at pop artists and how we judge their work in light of their "views" - using Morrissey and X as case studies.

https://sterlewine.substack.com/p/xs-comeback-and-morrisseys-fall

This section, for example, I genuinely don't even begin to recognise Erlewine's reaction to the songs:

Once a lyricist of extraordinary empathy, Morrissey has let his compassion curdle to the point that he's encouraging suicidal souls to just kill themselves at Jim Jim Falls. It's a nasty note to begin an album and it reverberates through the record, turning the superficially heartfelt "Love Is On Its Way Out" and "Bobby, Don't You Think You Know" in hectoring little numbers. The hardness of spirit proves to be a compelling counterpoint to the liveliness of the music, amounting to the debut of a new variation of Morrissey's persona.

But hey, we're all entitled to our own interpretations of these songs.
He should take some advice from George Michael & listen without prejudice.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Sorry, I'm getting so narky about it - if one more person says Morrissey used to have empathy & be for outcasts while showing him no empathy & making him an outcast... :swear
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Here's a thoughtful, although for me almost entirely wrong, attempt to look at pop artists and how we judge their work in light of their "views" - using Morrissey and X as case studies.

https://sterlewine.substack.com/p/xs-comeback-and-morrisseys-fall

This section, for example, I genuinely don't even begin to recognise Erlewine's reaction to the songs:

Once a lyricist of extraordinary empathy, Morrissey has let his compassion curdle to the point that he's encouraging suicidal souls to just kill themselves at Jim Jim Falls. It's a nasty note to begin an album and it reverberates through the record, turning the superficially heartfelt "Love Is On Its Way Out" and "Bobby, Don't You Think You Know" in hectoring little numbers. The hardness of spirit proves to be a compelling counterpoint to the liveliness of the music, amounting to the debut of a new variation of Morrissey's persona.

But hey, we're all entitled to our own interpretations of these songs.
Isn't he singing about himself in "Jim Jim Falls"?
I thought that was the obvious interpretation, quite surprised by this.
 
A

Anony

Guest
He's a good journalist and has reviewed tons of Moz stuff over the years but he's wrong here.
There is some really nice compassionate and/or empathetic stuff on Dog.
Knockabout World is a brilliantly supportive song - be careful folks, it's tricky old world out there, but I think you're OK!
'Love is in its way out' has a lovely melancholic sentiment, so does 'Hug a pillow', as do several others.
To characterise the album as being full of mean unpleasantness and mean-spiritedness is simply not true.
Arguably, Jim Jim Falls is misanthropic but it's hard to know the true meaning of the song.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
He's a good journalist and has reviewed tons of Moz stuff over the years but he's wrong here.
There is some really nice compassionate and/or empathetic stuff on Dog.
Knockabout World is a brilliantly supportive song - be careful folks, it's tricky old world out there, but I think you're OK!
'Love is in its way out' has a lovely melancholic sentiment, so does 'Hug a pillow', as do several others.
To characterise the album as being full of mean unpleasantness and mean-spiritedness is simply not true.
Arguably, Jim Jim Falls is misanthropic but it's hard to know the true meaning of the song.
Totally agree, I've liked his writing a lot, over the years. But this just seems like such a strange take on this particular record.
 

RobLand

Visitor since 1997
Isn't he singing about himself in "Jim Jim Falls"?
I thought that was the obvious interpretation, quite surprised by this.
100%! Many of the reviews I read interpreted it as being a conversation between Morrissey and some poor soul, but I immediately thought that when I first heard it that it was Morrissey talking to himself. It makes the song much more painful and beautiful when heard from that perspective
 
"If you're gonna jump then jump" is no more an encouragement than "World peace is none of your business." Morrissey has spoken unambiguously about the latter as a taunt, a provocation, a bit of dark-humored reverse psychology.

Nor is this approach remarkably different than his earliest: "Young bones groan / And the rocks below say: / 'Throw your skinny body down, son!' "

What has changed is his age and the era. A 20 year old can have a jolly go at lyrical self-slaughter whereas a 60 year old is meant to Know Better. And the times, too, may be sorrowfully literal and righteous. Of course, if you don't like either age, you could always kill yourself?
 
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T

Trans

Guest
He's a good journalist and has reviewed tons of Moz stuff over the years but he's wrong here.
There is some really nice compassionate and/or empathetic stuff on Dog.
Knockabout World is a brilliantly supportive song - be careful folks, it's tricky old world out there, but I think you're OK!
'Love is in its way out' has a lovely melancholic sentiment, so does 'Hug a pillow', as do several others.
To characterise the album as being full of mean unpleasantness and mean-spiritedness is simply not true.
Arguably, Jim Jim Falls is misanthropic but it's hard to know the true meaning of the song.
i agree and would add that the cold kinda superficial almost mechanical vibe of love is only underscores the sadness of the loss and sets up the impact of the longing at the end
 
T

The Irish Hare

Guest
Here's a thoughtful, although for me almost entirely wrong, attempt to look at pop artists and how we judge their work in light of their "views" - using Morrissey and X as case studies.

https://sterlewine.substack.com/p/xs-comeback-and-morrisseys-fall

This section, for example, I genuinely don't even begin to recognise Erlewine's reaction to the songs:

Once a lyricist of extraordinary empathy, Morrissey has let his compassion curdle to the point that he's encouraging suicidal souls to just kill themselves at Jim Jim Falls. It's a nasty note to begin an album and it reverberates through the record, turning the superficially heartfelt "Love Is On Its Way Out" and "Bobby, Don't You Think You Know" in hectoring little numbers. The hardness of spirit proves to be a compelling counterpoint to the liveliness of the music, amounting to the debut of a new variation of Morrissey's persona.

But hey, we're all entitled to our own interpretations of these songs.
I took Jim Jim Falls lyrics to represent what people said to Morrissey when he was young.
Surely this writer knows enough about him, not to take things literally and allow for interpretation. It really is a sign of the polarised times we live in.
 
C

Clown-shoes Karen

Guest
Sorry, I'm getting so narky about it - if one more person says Morrissey used to have empathy & be for outcasts while showing him no empathy & making him an outcast... :swear
There is no empathy for narcissistic, hypocritical, money-grubbing cunts until they self-seek therapy and/or medication.
 
R

ruth is john

Guest
half the Smiths catalogue reverberates these kinds of words... why pick on IANADOAC? the album is brilliant.
 

Emotional Guide Dog

Chairman Of The Bored
Jim Jim Falls sounds to me like a frustrated man (be it a character or Morrissey himself) at the end of his tether. I'm fine with it.

Bobby though, sounds like a man that jumped into a tombola machine then started singing.
 

Pippistrella

Well-Known Member
Morrissey often speaks in 'second person' in his songs - Jim Jim falls is simply one example. I'm very surprised the writer of the article is not aware of this.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
"Once a lyricist of extraordinary empathy, Morrissey has let his compassion curdle to the point that he's encouraging suicidal souls to just kill themselves at Jim Jim Falls."
That's a bit of a blinkered reading, in my opinion, and completely misses out the second line in the chorus. This is someone with the empathy of having been in exactly the same suicidal position (Asleep, That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore, etc, etc), giving some positive constructive advice for once: if you aren't going to kill yourself, then stop fucking moaning about it and get out there and live. No - it's not very PC, and is very much in the 'tough love' mode - but it is ultimately positive. Live or die - it's up to you, but just do it already and stop fucking whining. As someone who has suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, this doesn't strike me as lacking compasssion or empathy at all - quite the reverse - it's words from someone who'se been there, and knows the score.
 
T

Trans

Guest
"Once a lyricist of extraordinary empathy, Morrissey has let his compassion curdle to the point that he's encouraging suicidal souls to just kill themselves at Jim Jim Falls."
That's a bit of a blinkered reading, in my opinion, and completely misses out the second line in the chorus. This is someone with the empathy of having been in exactly the same suicidal position (Asleep, That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore, etc, etc), giving some positive constructive advice for once: if you aren't going to kill yourself, then stop fucking moaning about it and get out there and live. No - it's not very PC, and is very much in the 'tough love' mode - but it is ultimately positive. Live or die - it's up to you, but just do it already and stop fucking whining. As someone who has suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, this doesn't strike me as lacking compasssion or empathy at all - quite the reverse - it's words from someone who'se been there, and knows the score.
And think what hardness of spirit it must take to so willfully misinterpret. To spin it towards self bias and hurt feelings while self righteously decrying someone else
 
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