PRACTICING TROUBLEMAKER (MY ONLY MISTAKE IS I'M HOPING)
I just finished reading a recent interview with Morrissey in Index magazine. There seems to be a lot of interest in his music again, with a new album due in a couple of months and a lot of young bands mentioning his influence. Part of me feared that reading this interview would just sadden me, make me embarrassed for him. He has been a bit spotty in the last few years, turning down record deals that he claims didn't pay enough, getting political in songs like "Mexico" where he sings about the cruelties inflicted on Mexicans by the rich and white from his massive house in California, where, ironically, he is rich and white (though British, so does that make it okay?). His album press release notes that he has yet another song whining about critics, and his first official website borders on self-parody in the space of a single image. (Though, this one would have done just as well.)
Thankfully, the interview wasn't cringeworth, but it did seem completely absent of anything new. Morrissey discusses glam rock, life in L.A., a lack of intelligent radio programming--he's always crashing in the same car. The article is by a couple of music biz fans, you'd have thought they'd know all the answers to these questions.
Which, one could maybe hold out hope that the interviewers sucked, and maybe Morrissey does have something new to say. Except my biggest problem with his last two records--Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted--is it felt like he had taken the arrested development shtick too far. It was time for him to act his age, you know? Surely he can be just as interesting about middle age as he was about adolescence, and let's be honest, his core audience probably is ready for the commentary. (Though, if one bought the singles, one discovered there were plenty of good songs hidden there, as if he were trying to keep them from the common man and save them for his fans only. Or were his sensors that far off that he honestly thought they were secondary?)
So, we'll see. New songs aired on previous tours don't suggest there should be all that much hope. "First of the Gang To Die"--more fetishizing violent, young, ethnic boys. "I Like You"--standard romance politics. "The World Is Full of Crashing Bores"--yes, but can you say you aren't one of them? Only "Irish Blood, English Heart" stood out. Political, but without the ironic hypocrisy of "Mexico." It's scheduled to be the first single from You Are The Quarry, which seems disastrous to me, but at least gutsy.
I know amongst many fans I am needling an icon unnecessarily. I have certainly drawn flack in the past amongst the local chapter of gladioli bearers, and I spend the occasional moment on morrissey-solo.com being willfully trollish--but when it gets down to it, I am an honest fan, and so can only really be disappointed in the man's performance in the way a true fan can. Is it so wrong to want him to try harder? One wonders, since a tiny nugget of an indeterminate substance fell on the Index cover, leaving a stain--a tiny, greasy tear--under Morrissey's right eye when removed. Did I make him cry? Am I the litter to his Iron Eyes Cody?
Current Soundtrack: Morrissey, "Boy Racer" CD1, "Roy's Keen," "Satan Rejected My Soul"