Words by Amanda Gardner and Alex Flahive
Despite an unflappable reputation, Morrissey
's legend recieves a mixed reception. To long adoring fans he is more than the baggy cardigan-clad whining Smiths frontman we came to love and hate all at the same time.
Before the dawn of punk tragedy prodigies The Smiths, Morrissey
was known as a struggling writer, penning unsolicited scripts for Coronation Street and non-fiction books for small publishers. Aside from his creative writing, friends remember his as a bequiffed Mancunian oddball, of which Tony Wilson would later remark: 'Anyone less likely to be a pop star from that scene was unimaginable.'
So how did this quirky woeful wildcard come to be one of the most unforgettable music acts in history, and more importantly, is the ego he is famed for even deserved?
Aided by a Noel Gallagher lookalike from Basingstoke, over the next few hundred words or so I intend to investigate both sides of the Morrissey divide. I will play the charming, Morrissey-loving underdog who always gets the girl, and Alex will play Noel Gallagher.
Morrisey's lyrics. Typing these two words has insulted my Â£4.99 keyboard. To suggest these hold some deep, cultural and intellectual relevance holds limited arguemental scope. In the sense, you have to
rely on the lyrics to actually make your ridicolous argument. So ineffect God exists because the Bible says so.
If his words were brilliant behomoths, he would be a poet. He's a musician, and although I have no doubt their are plenty of musicians that write beautiful words that make love happen, or in Morrissey's
case, make people gain a shared sense of lacklustre exitence - they are only there because they fit with either the music, or the word before.
Is that to say that lyricists are any lesser than poets? At least if Morrissey
insisted on writing a whining rhyming lovenote he had the decency to put some unforgettable melodies behind it. For instance I won a place i n a regional poetry book for my Haiku about wolves which actually had too many syllables to be a Haiku. Am I then greater than Moz because mine required the effort to be read and not the misfortune of being heard?
I think it was the novelty of hearing something from someone's heart. At a time when depression was high and you couldn't get to Kwik Save for your Scottish Oats for all the riots, and music was used as
propaganda to make you believe nothing was happing despite your own couch being petrolbombed (see; Bananarama, Wham!, Dexy's Midnight Runners) it was nice for people to hear someone being honest enough to sing about shit and how shit everything shit was.
People are afraid to speak from the heart because it feels so natural. You don't need a degree or a class to tell you how to speak about what you know, and something so minimalist and truthful is seen as neanderthal to those who haven't spoken a true word in their life for fear of feeling slightly human,Â despite this being all we are.
I suppose my argument is the music is good, lyrics just there because you need lyrics. And so whatever.Â And I'm arguing they weren't thought over with great effort, they were an after thought post-music. But of course - I don't know that.
It's not lesser, greater, but more a case of musicians make music and poets do poetry. Poets could play music, musicians do music. Maybe the lyrics are great, and alone are wickid, but I don't think are vague so you can fill in the gaps and find personal meaning. But we're getting onto what makes good lyrics, and a good poem. And I have noidea.
I think I could accept he is good at lyrics,Â and with pressure from you maybe a genius, even a SUPERLORD but...are there people who professionally write lyrics? I'm sure we could do that?
So we set out to do what any gender confused Mozhouse loving Noel Gallagher impersonators would do and put our own writing skills to the test. Our task was to listen to a Smiths song with no lyrics (in this case: Money Changes Everything) and create our own worded interpretation of the song. The results were... well;
I had big ear ears
he put aside his human fears
and bit the bully queers
I was ten
four legs good
two legs bad
forever, that makes me sad.
when that car came
the discussion started
throw him in a bin?
cut him up?
you know what financial difficulty we are in
my poor dog never did sin
four legs good
two legs bad
it makes me sad
the best dog I ever had.
Everything I ever owned
In a kilner jar above the stove
how can you remember me
when I exist in something built for tea-
The final verdict? Well if nothing else we know we'll never have a place at Rough Trade.Â But anything was better than that, so Morrissey can keep his crown.
MP3: Morrissey - This Charming Man (Live)