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What a fucking great band! By the time I was a toddler they had split up and yet their songs carry a timeless resonance that I think will always echo for teenagers and young adults.

Morrisey's lyrics are so unique - not only poinant and musical but witty... funny little turns of phrase, smart in a plain, matter-of-fact way that I can't equate to any other band I know. I suppose not everyone's going to identify with his songs but they've got a wide appeal to anyone who's ever been young, confused and at odds with the world. Not so much whiny angst as a nudge, a wink and a celebration of... of not fitting in I suppose.

And of course the band would be nothing without Marr's tunes (I'll say that now as I've never listened to Morrisey's solo stuff, although his new single is quite good) - so definitive; they manage to be completely subdued and understated, yet rock your fucking face off at the same time. They way the music and the lyrics sit with each other works so unbelievably well - sometimes working as a backing to the lyrics, sometime working as the central focus of the track and sometimes complimenting a track with a really kick-ass riff - the opening of This Charming Man is pure, unbridled shivers-down-the-neck stuff! ;)

Everyone should listen to and love this band - for my money, with tunes like What Difference Does it Make?, There is a Light that Never Goes Out, Bigmouth Strikes Again, that Joke isn't Funny Anymore and not forgetting This Charming Man, they're my personal favourite British band of all time and surely in anyone's top 5. The kind of band that makes you want to make music.

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That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore, such a great song. I'm not the biggest fan, as I've only got Hatful of Hollow and the Singles albums. But from what I've heard on those two albums, I like a lot.

I wasn't really into them, until years after they split. Oh, and I've got that Charming Man cd single. The one with all the different mixes on, like the New York mix.

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surely in anyone's top 5

You don't actually believe that right? ;)

I mean, I totally hate them. Don't like the music, find them totally pretentious, hate the lyrics and everything about Morrisey apart from his animal rights stance. Fair enough, lots of people like them, and I don't want to spoil your love in thread, but I really think they're an acquired taste. Only one of my friends that I can think of is a fan. They aren't the sort of band that has a universal appeal, are they?*

*Not that that's a bad thing, music with universal appeal tends to be bland.

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You don't actually believe that right? :P

I mean, I totally hate them. Don't like the music, find them totally pretentious, hate the lyrics and everything about Morrisey apart from his animal rights stance. Fair enough, lots of people like them, and I don't want to spoil your love in thread, but I really think they're an acquired taste. Only one of my friends that I can think of is a fan. They aren't the sort of band that has a universal appeal, are they?*

*Not that that's a bad thing, music with universal appeal tends to be bland.

Au contraire, I think their songs are catchy and subscribe to a lot of pop sensibilities. Their critical success is really quite far-reaching - in terms of critics, fans and how they've influenced bands after them.

Their albums are really cheap all the time too - if you've never listened to one of their albums it's really worthwhile just buying one on a whim and giving them another chance. :lol:

Morrisey talks some sense, but at the same time he talks a lot of pish. I was never caught up in the whole Morrisey/NME scene when I was younger so while I've heard of his fall from grace after a gig he did when he said something racist or something like that, I never experienced it first hand, don't really know what it's all about. His interviews always revolve around his opinions though and to be honest I don't have much time for them.

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The Smiths are by far my favorite band of all time. I was also a stupid 7 year old kid who knew nothing of music when Strangeways came out so I will never get to see Marr and Morrissey dhare the stage however, I did get to see the man in concert for his You Are the Quarry tour and hearing him sing Bigmouth Strikes Again is the single greatest concert experience I have ever been a part of.

Brilliant band.

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I bloody hated The Smiths when they were at their most popular. I just thought they were a bunch of whining gits. And I was heavily into rap at the time.

These days I appreciate them a little more and really respect Johnny Marr for Electronic's first two records, if nothing else.

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That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore, such a great song. I'm not the biggest fan, as I've only got Hatful of Hollow and the Singles albums. But from what I've heard on those two albums, I like a lot.

I wasn't really into them, until years after they split. Oh, and I've got that Charming Man cd single. The one with all the different mixes on, like the New York mix.

Would this be the famous 12 inch mix that Morrissey went mental about? I've always wanted to hear it to see what all the fuss was about.

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They've got the funniest, wittiest, most accurately-focused and effectively, gorgeously, subtly conceived and delivered lyrics of any band I've ever heard. And the music's utterly superb. I think all I need to get my hands on now is the 'Panic' single with 'The Draize Train' on it and I'll have heard every song laid onto record by them. Then I'll probably descend into the murky world of bootlegs.

Has Morrissey officially come out yet? I know there's quite a few masculine pronouns on his latest album, but the overhwleming impression I've always got from his Smiths days is that he's a gay man singing about mainly heterosexual relationships. And that's not even touching upon his taste in half-remembered 50s film stars. Am I wrong?

I think a lot of people tend to be split into the 'they're music for misfits to cry themselves to sleep to' or 'they speak to me' camps. Me, I think they're the perfect band to feel really carthartically, luxuriantly miserable to.

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I heard he's celibate now.

I used to hate the smiths, purely cause morrisseys a cunt now. Back then he was good though. Johnny Marrs playing is incredible. Still ill, some girls are bigger than others, suffer little children, you've got everything now...

yeah theyre great. They probably split at a good time, because marr saying their approach was beginning to get stale - i get the impression another album would've been very boring.

How can you stay with a fat girl who'll say oh...

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I think a lot of people tend to be split into the 'they're music for misfits to cry themselves to sleep to' or 'they speak to me' camps. Me, I think they're the perfect band to feel really carthartically, luxuriantly miserable to.

I never got this view of them at all. Most of their songs make me smile, like the previous bit of your post I think they have genuinely witty, subtle lyrics delivered with a wry smile. I still love - "I was looking for a job, and then I found a job. And heaven knows I’m miserable now" because you get exactly where he's coming from with it.

I Dutch mate of mine came over to visit a few years ago, she is a massive Smiths fan so we spent a day travelling around Manchester to different places that had some link with the band or there music. Salford Boys Club, Southern Cemetery etc, was good fun.

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I heard he's celibate now.

I used to hate the smiths, purely cause Morrissey’s a cunt now. Back then he was good though. Johnny Marrs playing is incredible..... some girls are bigger than others.....

His playing on that is simply amazing. Beautiful doesn’t even come near to how it sounds.

The lyrics almost ruin the song though. I'd love to hear just an instrumental version of the song.

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Love 'em. Probably my 2nd favourite band, behind The Beatles (and coming second to them ain't no shame).

Biggest draw is easily Marr's ingenious riffs - probably the most 'addictive' guitar-playing, yet unique on every song... Hand In Glove, Headmaster Ritual, What Difference Does It Make?: all prime examples of it.

Sure Morrisey is a cunt now, and probably always was, but if I didn't listen to musicians purely because of an apparent nasty personality, I wouldn't listen to much music at all.

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Saw Johnny Marr last night and he was phenomenal. Second time I have seen him and have been massively impressed. He plays a good number of Smiths songs in his set and frankly is better than Morrissey (haven't seen Moz for a few years but certainly the last couple of times).

Current set includes:

Still Ill; Bigmouth Strikes Again; Panic; You Just Haven't Earned it yet Baby; There is a light; and How Soon is Now.

He also does Getting Away With It and a cracking cover of Crash by the Primitives.

His new solo album is also very good.

Highly recommended.

http://www.johnny-marr.com/dates

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15 hours ago, Tonald Drump said:

 

 

 

This video continues after the end of the song:

 

Spoiler

"Anyone watching this on YouTube: this is not a trend."

 

 

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5 hours ago, DC Lemon said:

Morrissey could do with that kid in his band.

 

Trivia: the guitarist in Morrissey's band for that performance was Jessie Tobias, notable for his very brief stint with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the mid-'90s (he didn't record anything with them) and for being co-arranger/co-producer of the songs in "Once More With Feeling", the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode.

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Morrissey is very dangerous right now IMO, we've seen the effects ultra right wing nutters can have across social media and he is siding with and promoting these groups. 

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7 hours ago, DaveDaveDave said:

Billy Bragg is an intolerant fool. And a baby. And I say this as an ardent left winger. Bragg's intolerance and entitlement is breathtaking. 

 

You have no idea what you’re talking about. Go back to stinking up the politics threads in Off Topic.

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Nick Cave's take:

 

https://www.theredhandfiles.com/views-on-morrissey/

 

Quote

Dear Mark,

I understand it is very difficult when an artist you admire reveals something about themselves which you feel casts an unhappy shadow across their work – and this is by no means exclusive to Morrissey. It happens all the time and I have talked a little about this in a previous issue of The Red Hand Files.

I think perhaps it would be helpful to you if you saw the proprietorship of a song in a different way. Personally, when I write a song and release it to the public, I feel it stops being my song. It has been offered up to my audience and they, if they care to, take possession of that song and become its custodian. The integrity of the song now rests not with the artist, but with the listener.

When I listen to a beloved song – Neil Young’s ‘On the Beach’, for instance – I feel, at my very core, that that song is speaking to me and to me alone, that I have taken possession of that song exclusively. I feel, beyond all rationality, that the song has been written with me in mind and, as it weaves itself into the fabric of my life, I become its steward, understanding it better than anybody else ever could. I think we all can relate to this feeling of owning a song. This is the singular beauty of music.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter what Neil Young’s personal conduct may be like therefore, or Morrissey’s, as they have handed over ownership of the songs to their audience. Their views and behaviour are separate issues – Morrissey’s political opinion becomes irrelevant. Whatever inanities he may postulate, we cannot overlook the fact that he has written a vast and extraordinary catalogue, which has enhanced the lives of his many fans beyond recognition. This is no small thing. He has created original and distinctive works of unparalleled beauty, that will long outlast his offending political alliances.

At my recent ‘In Conversation’ event in Nottingham a gentleman put forward an excellent challenge to my views on free speech – he pointed out the perceived racism of Morrissey’s political stance and told how personally wounded he felt by Morrissey’s views on immigration. As I sat in my dressing room after the show, I wished I had done a better job of answering his question – I felt I had made a poorly constructed, over-earnest and possibly insensitive defence of Morrissey’s right to his opinions, no matter what they are.

I very much appreciate people challenging my views. The ‘In Conversation’ events are fluid in form and very much a work in progress, and they are intended at times to prompt debate. Sometimes certain uncomfortable issues are raised, but a different point of view is always welcome. Often it can serve as a kind of corrective – even an education – and can be extremely helpful to me next time that same subject is broached.

Open debate and conversation are the very structure of civilisation, and in Nottingham it was a privilege to be challenged by this very thoughtful young man. However, even though I was unsatisfied by my own response, I still believe that despite how upsetting Morrissey’s views may be to the marginalised and dispossessed members of society, or anyone else for that matter, he still should have the freedom to express his views, just as others should have the freedom to challenge them – even if just to know in what guise their enemy may appear. The charge that defending a person’s right to their opinions somehow aligns one with their views makes no sense at all and strikes at the heart of the problem itself – that of conflating the concept of free speech with bigotry. This is very dangerous territory indeed.

As a songwriter and someone who believes songs possess extraordinary healing power, I am saddened by the thought that songs by arguably the greatest lyricist of his generation – songs like ‘This Charming Man’, ‘Reel Around the Fountain’ and ‘Last Night I Dreamed Somebody Loved Me’ – are consigned to the moral dustbin by those who feel they have been tainted by his current political posturing. I respect and understand why people respond in this way, but can’t help but feel it is of significant personal loss to them.

Perhaps it is better to simply let Morrissey have his views, challenge them when and wherever possible, but allow his music to live on, bearing in mind we are all conflicted individuals – messy, flawed and prone to lunacies. We should thank God that there are some among us that create works of beauty beyond anything most of us can barely imagine, even as some of those same people fall prey to regressive and dangerous belief systems.

 

Love, Nick

 

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Nick Cave's response there is a lovely read, and the sort of compromise that I think is most likely to help things progress as they should.

As someone who doesn't often clear out their music collection, I too cherish the songs I love, and go back to them and relisten often.  I find myself discovering I like more and more older music and am to an extent turning my back on contemporary stuff to discover more about say The Cure or Joy Division / New Order who I missed out on first time around, but I can still stick Phil Collin's No Jacket Required on for a spin and love it - one of the first albums I heard, which was of course my dads taste!

 

Billy Bragg's take comes across to me as someone who wants to take a dig at the Killers for even acknoledging the existance of a bigot.

Personally, I feel that as a modern society, too often we take the Billy Bragg approach, and essentally try to cut out entire periods of history, or events, or artists and back catalogues to somehow demonstrate that we don't condone their later actions.  A sort of ignorance is bliss approach in the hgope that it'll go away.

I think it's healthier to take more of a know your enemies approach, and if that means listening to a crazy idiotic (imo) right wing bigot, then so be it.  Providing the conversation is kept to sensible levels, and is aiming to find some sort of compromise.  The former approach is how we've landed with a massive (generation based?) gap, Brexit, current British politics etc. People are simply moving to the polar opposite views and pushing further and further apart.  I don't know what the answer is, but I do know, that people have the power to change and to decide, and pushing them away isn't healthy.

Some folk are lost to their causes, and Morrissey’s history suggests he is probably one of those people, but I'd like to think that his past efforts to push different political agendas (with the Smiths for example) has created a whole host of (now previous?) fans who think about things differently, who have discovered there is more than the crap the media push to us, that there is always a different perspective, and that can decide for themselves.

 

I'm no huge Smiths fan, but I'll continue to listen to their music and love it, and empathiose with Rubber Ring, or relate to the compasion of Asleep, or chant along with Panic.

 

Alternative, I'm just completely wrong, and am talking crap right now, but that's part of the discussion right?

 

So I'll end with a crap joke to lighten the air a bit...

 

Who knew that David Cameron announcing he was a Smiths fan would turn Morrissey's views so violently.  :hat:

 

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6 hours ago, Fierce Poodle said:

 

You have no idea what you’re talking about. Go back to stinking up the politics threads in Off Topic.

 

This Charming Man! 

 

I'm glad someone posted Nick Cave's thoughts up, I read them on his excellent Red Hand Files recently. His is the sort of thoughtful response we need more of , rather than Bragg's witless and basic approach. 

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On 07/07/2019 at 23:24, Tonald Drump said:

 

 

Hmm, that's odd. The above embedded video (v=Gei2deEJbt4, "Johnny Marr invites nuisance fan onstage to accompany him with This Charming Man!") showed correctly before, but now, logged in on Chrome, the video displays as a different one (a BBC video of a different band's Glastonbury performance), as the first video in one of those YouTube "Mix" auto-generated playlists. Happens logged into Chrome and YouTube on both desktop or mobile. But if I load this thread in an Incognito window, it goes back to the correct Johnny Marr video.

 

Probably some weird YouTube cookies/playlist shenanigans going on with the "list=RDGei2deEJbt4" part of the URL! :hmm:

 

 

Anyway, on-topic: Billy Bragg has made a few follow-up comments to that Facebook post:

https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/music/article/billy-bragg-interview-morrissey-free-speech

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Liking Morrissey is pretty complicated now. For Christmas a few years ago, I was bought the Mozipedia, a huge book that covers every single aspect of Morrissey and the Smiths. There's an entry called 'Racism' which is a spirited and extremely well-argued rebuttal of the argument that Morrissey is racist that's almost comical to read now, given his support of far-right political parties and his flirting with white supremacist themes. Even the entry on 'Bengali in Platforms', always the most difficult circle to square for the non-racist Moz fan, has a lengthy justification as to why it's not racist, although even at the time this amounted to 'Moz probably expressed his non-bigoted opinions awkwardly' rather than anything particularly substantial.

 

The thing is, I don't feel that 'There is a light that never goes out' or 'Last of the famous international playboys' or 'Certain people I know' have some hidden racist meanings. I can still enjoy those songs the way I always have, although admittedly in the same way that I enjoy Eric Gill's many delightful fonts. Unfortunately, there's no clear line you can draw where Morrissey became a cunt, and deliberately stop liking anything that came after that point. Ideally, you'd draw this line somewhere around 'Years of Refusal' and not have to drop anything worth listening to, but 'Bengali in platforms' is on his first solo album. It's off the playlist forever, but then again it was always a crap song with questionable lyrics, so it was never really on the playlist in the first place. 'National Front disco' is an odd one too. I once maintained that the lyrics obviously don't show any support for the NF, but reading them again, it's not so clear. That one unfortunately comes right in the middle of his best album (for me, anyway), but it hardly ruins the album; introduces a queasy air of ambiguity, but that in itself is pretty interesting in the abstract.

 

In summary, Viz made the correct judgment back in the late eighties. We always knew he was a twat, but he's unfortunately become the wrong kind of twat.

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