Morrissey, You are the Quarry

Morrissey has never seemed more relevant. The glory days of the Smiths are long, long gone, in fact are a preferred distant memory for the Moz himself, given recent court battles with ex-bandmates Mike Joyce and bassist Andy Rourke. And as we all know: When bands hit the barrister’s, there is rarely hope of reconciliation, at least within the members’ natural lifetimes. Calling off plans to attend a rooftop show needn’t sadden any Smiths devotees, however, for with Morrissey’s successful fan-harvesting solo career, he’s got a legion of followers who won’t ever leave him. But there was a point…where things did indeed go awry between him and his listeners.

Critical circles judge Morrissey’s musical output first, then Morrissey’s artistic merit based upon that. True Morrissey fans—rabid as they are and unstoppable in their love for the Moz—don’t judge him at all, instead choosing worship, then basing the quality of the music off that notion.

That is to say, when it comes to criticism and fandom, there has never been a wider gap than with someone like Morrissey. Moz devotees won’t abandon him based on a bad review in the press, they’ll only do it because of a more personal offense, something truly terrible. Something greater, perhaps, than anything that might spur you to quit talking to your best friend for, well, forever really. Something like…

‘I’ve got a new album out.’

‘There’s a new album? Already?’

‘Yeah. It’s called Bona Drag.’ [Hands it over.]

[Turns the CD over] ‘Wait. These are just the singles. These are all the singles I’ve been buying for the last year, ever since Viva Hate… Hold on, it’s actually got three songs from Viva Hate on it. And I’ve already got everything else.’

‘So what? It’s my new album.’

[Pauses] ‘I’ve decided I fucking hate you.’

‘Fuck you! I’m coming out with an album called Maladjusted someday, and then you’re really gonna hate me!’

But sometimes you give your best friend a break. Because sometimes he’s your best friend, and sometimes he’s just a man you listened to on your favorite records and who you believed was your best friend because of the things he said to you.

And now you both want each other back, and you’ll forgive the missteps, especially for all the glory and loveliness the new—really, this time—new album brings back, for the way it evokes everything you loved about him from the very beginning. And also how it singles out the many other ways both of you have changed in the interim.

Morrissey, now mature, now more aware. Just like you.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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