Wednesday, March 29, 2006

MP3: Morrissey - Southpaw Grammar Revisited

After listening a few times to the new Morrissey album, which is of course very very good, it struck me how much, other than the obvious glammy comparisons to Your Arsenal, that it reminded me of his most oft-maligned album, 1995's Southpaw Grammar. The butt of many a fair few jokes from even supposedly die hard Mozza fans, it's always been one of my favourites and i've never really understood it's bad reputation. Possibly it's down to the fact that for just about the only time Morrissey writes a whole album of songs that are character studies rather than about himself. It's a sort of mid 90's study of Britain, perhaps a bit unfocused and underdeveloped, but still fantastic in places. Perhaps the very specifity of some of the songs, particularly Dagenham Dave makes it more unaccessable for non-British fans, who might not be able to reach an emotional connection with it the same way that they can the naked emotion of songs like Everyday Is Like Sunday, How Soon Is Now, There Is A Light, etc. I guess the semi-unavailability of the album to many British fans also makes it one of the more ignored moments of Morrissey's career. I'm not saying it's perfect, because for most of the 11 minutes that Morrissey is repeating 'To be finished would be a relief' in The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils, most of us are thinking the same, but the album is certainly no Maladjusted, and deserves a listen if you haven't yet sought it out.

So of the four songs I've put up, the first is the lovely Reader Meets Author, which at first seems unspectacular, but has some nice surprisingly good bits of melody that just endear it to me quite a bit. I think it's that little guitar arpeggio, and the way that Mozza sings 'No one ever sees me when I cry' that do it for me. Next up is The Boy Racer, one of the singles, which has a great great great riff to it, and is a rather good mini-character study. Again i'm not sure if it translates well to non-British folk, but the ambivalent love/hate relationship Mozza has with the working classes and with violence comes out here really well. I like it, especially the line 'He thinks he's got the whole world in his hands, stood at the urinal.' Dagenham Dave is another great single, fantastic opening lyrics! Shame about the repetitive chorus, but then I think the repetition suits the nature of the lyrics; thus 'I could say more, but you get the general idea'; straight into 10 more repetitions of Dagenham Dave, Dagenham Dave. If you don't like it, you're wrong. Also nice to see that Mozza could write a great song about 'chav' culture about 10 years before the papers suddenly 'discovered' them. Last up is Best Friend On The Payroll, another underrated album track, great riff and fantastic rhythm to it. Anyway hope you like the songs, and if you do, you can click through to, buy it, and save poor old Morrissey another trip down 'tut pit'. Enjoy.

Morrissey - Reader Meet Author - MP3 2.55mb - NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Morrissey - The Boy Race - MP3 3.27mb - NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Morrissey - Dagenham Dave - MP3 2.25mb - NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Morrissey - Best Friend On The Payroll - MP3 2.56mb - NO LONGER AVAILABLE


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done. Southpaw is a much-maligned album and, as you say, no Maladjusted. In addition to the songs you post, "The Operation" is one of my faves. Gotta LOVE that intro! I also never understood how the haters could ignore the last track, easily one of the most beautiful and moving tracks Moz has ever recorded.

1:19 am, March 30, 2006  
Blogger GiL said...

and you ran back to ma
which set the pace
for the rest of your days.

i agree, southpaw is one of the most beautiful songs
written by morrissey.

someday we'll all look back in awe.

4:49 am, March 30, 2006  
Anonymous Nic said...

Yeah, I never understood why people criticised Southpaw. It's really very lovely.

10:38 pm, April 03, 2006  
Anonymous David T said...

Do Your Best And Don't Worry is, I think, pretty much the finest song he has produced.

What kills it is Teachers and (in my view) the intro to the Operation. In fact, about 20 seconds into that song, my wife tells me to turn it off. Ditto the last 3 minutes of Teachers.

11:48 am, April 04, 2006  
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