"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.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Isn't he singing about himself in "Jim Jim Falls"?
I thought that was the obvious interpretation, quite surprised by this.
I know. Anyway even if he's talking to someone else so what. People aren't gonna top themselves because of a lyric in any song. If they do then anything else could have the same effect such as a film or idle chat from a colleague.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
The left are now fully the Thought Police. I guess I'm now a Conservative?
It all boils down to this: pampered, spoiled self obsessed snowflakes with too much idle time on their hands. They've spent their closeted lives being told they are unique and the world was made for them, so when they see anyone who doesn't agree with their narrow world view they gang together to silence it. A bit like religious nuts who deny Darwinism or the probability/certainty that humans are just a mistake in evolution and that we are nowhere near as important as we think we are. People who hate Moz would deny us the pleasure of listening to him. When all they have to do is listen to someone else. But that's not enough for them. They have to control us too. Luckily they never will, and I think they know it.

True Detective season 1:
"I think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight - brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal."
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
"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?
Well said typicalgenius, I like your interpretation of things, just wish others would be as decent.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
"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 f***ing 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 f***ing 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.

I think that too many people today are conditioned by this PC mode of thinking. It has become the yardstick against which to judge people / artists / politicians. There were good reasons to start the PC movements, but pushed too far, it can turn into form of moral superiority.
As we know, Morrissey will never have the reflex to think about how to say something in a way to not offend other people. To the contrary, he likes to be direct and he likes to offend, it is part of his rebellious instinct that he has never abandoned.
I don't disagree with Erlewine's view that Morrissey has hardened as a person, and this comes across in his lyrics. However, it struck me more on WPINOYB than on this new album, where I think the tone is generally milder.
Finally, his observation that Jesse doesn't push Morrissey so much as match his mood, is correct but probably due to the fact that Morrissey chooses the tunes he wants to work with, and that he uses multiple composers to give himself the freedom or luxury to choose. And that was already the case when he was working with Alain Whyte, or not? And why isn't Boz mentioned?
 
M

Moz Fan

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 f***ing 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 f***ing 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.
Totally agree with your interpretation.
 

KingKongLeer

Active Member
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.


To me, it's beyond baffling how some people do not recognize irony, sarcasm, wit, wordplay, and dark humor anymore. So at Jim Jim Falls Morrissey is literally beging his listeners to go to Jim JIm Falls, in Australia, and commit suicide?

Gosh...when did people become like that?

Jim Jim Falls is a stab at social networks, where people seem unable to defecate without shouting it out loud for the whole world to see it.

People go to enourmous lengths to get likes and views on their social media profiles.

So Morrissey is just saying , look, if you even wanna kill yourself, there's no need to share it with people, the same way there is absolutely no necessity to post your latest cupcake recipe.

At least this is how I interpret the song.

But...due to Morrissey's wit, it could be about a million other things.

People wanna find reasons to dislike Morrissey and they can't.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
Because Boz is a strummer. He's not a guitar virtuoso by any stretch.
That’s a line frequently pedalled on here, and in the music press; it has become a truism. And like most truisms it’s simply not true, I’ve seen Boz live with Morrissey, but also close up, in a pub, playing with the Polecats.

He’s an outstanding, world class, guitarist. When I saw him with The Polecats, I went with a guitarist. Unprompted, he highlighted that Boz’s playing was absolutely top drawer stuff.
 

Morrissey's left nut

HA HA HAHA HAHA
That’s a line frequently pedalled on here, and in the music press; it has become a truism. And like most truisms it’s simply not true, I’ve seen Boz live with Morrissey, but also close up, in a pub, playing with the Polecats.

He’s an outstanding, world class, guitarist. When I saw him with The Polecats, I went with a guitarist. Unprompted, he highlighted that Boz’s playing was absolutely top drawer stuff.
You know what I mean though- generally speaking he plays acoustic rhythm. With the Polecats he's a rockabilly picker. I think he's a good songwriter and player, but he's not changing the face of music any time soon.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
That’s a line frequently pedalled on here, and in the music press; it has become a truism. And like most truisms it’s simply not true, I’ve seen Boz live with Morrissey, but also close up, in a pub, playing with the Polecats.

He’s an outstanding, world class, guitarist. When I saw him with The Polecats, I went with a guitarist. Unprompted, he highlighted that Boz’s playing was absolutely top drawer stuff.

Genuinely interested - can you point me to some clip where you'd say Boz was doing something outstanding? I like Boz and a lot of my favourite Moz songs have been co-writes of his, but I have never seen or heard anything that I would describe as 'world class' from him, or indeed anything beyond what any half-decent professional guitarist would be able to do.


He is good but he doesn't have a distinctive style; he isn't known for complex or particularly intricate guitar work; I can't sense that he has any particular stage presence live - what is it that makes him stand out to you? Make me a believer.
 

Morrissey's left nut

HA HA HAHA HAHA
If "strummer" is what you call Boz, what nicknames do you reserve for the other band members?
Boz has been with Morrissey for nearly 30 years now, so I was surprised he didn't get mentioned.
Well, there's Jesse "I'm jizzing my pants at every chord change face" Tobias... I was simply speaking of Boz's playing style. See also what Amy said above me. That sums it up.
 
S

SoFarAway

Guest
Yes, Amy's post is a fair assessment of Boz's qualities as a guitarist. So we can all agree on that one.
How many of you guys commenting on Boz's abilities are professional musicians yourselves, by the way? I am and cannot believe anyone who has any experience as a professional musician could consider Boz merely a "strummer" or someone who doesn't contribute anything outstanding - Boz is fantastic and while not a virtuoso (MOST aren't!), he is truly top drawer.
 

Morrissey's left nut

HA HA HAHA HAHA
How many of you guys commenting on Boz's abilities are professional musicians yourselves, by the way? I am and cannot believe anyone who has any experience as a professional musician could consider Boz merely a "strummer" or someone who doesn't contribute anything outstanding - Boz is fantastic and while not a virtuoso (MOST aren't!), he is truly top drawer.
Lookout everybody, SoFarAway is gatekeeping harmless subjective opinion over here.
 
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