Morrissey: Seasick, Yet Still Docked

“Wish I had the charm to attract the one I love, but you see, I’ve got no charm.”

After the relative disappointments of We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful and You’re the One For Me, Fatty, Morrissey rehabilitates Your Arsenal with two of his best tracks, Seasick, Yet Still Docked, and I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday. The first of these is a personal highlight of mine, because I find the lyrics so personally relatable. Read more

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Morrissey: You’re the One for Me, Fatty

“Promise you’ll say if I’m ever in your way.”

The second of two songs in the middle of Your Arsenal that didn’t really land for me is You’re the One for Me, Fatty. Large women have been recurring bit characters in Smiths/Morrissey tunes since William, It Was Really Nothing in 1984, and continuing with Some Girls are Bigger than Others in 1986. “Fatty” takes center stage in this song, the second single from the album, which eventually reached No. 19 on the UK Singles chart. Read more

Morrissey: We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful

“If we can destroy them, you bet your life we will.”

A pair of songs in the middle of Your Arsenal didn’t really land for me. I was surprised and a little confused to learn that they were chosen for the album’s two lead singles. I suppose maybe the songs I like, such as We’ll Let You Know and the forthcoming Seasick, Yet Still Docked might not be pop radio friendly, but I’ve got to assume Morrissey could have done better than these. Read more

Morrissey: We’ll Let You Know

“We are the last truly British people you will ever know.”

We’ll let you know is the third track on Your Arsenal, and the first to catch my ear and call out: “Hey. Listen to me. I’m the sort of stuff you really like.” There is an extended musique concrète interlude that I consider to be an album highlight. It immediately reminded me of two other cherished sounds. Read more

Morrissey: You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side

“… and here I am.”

The second of two Morrissey discs I bought at aka music on the weekend that it closed is 1992’s Your Arsenal, his third solo album apart from the Bona Drag singles compilation. This is the 10th disc in my #LastDayAtAKA series. Skipping over his second solo album, the morbidly titled Kill Uncle, I’ve lost a bit of the context for this one, but that won’t stop me from enjoying the music. Read more

Morrissey: Margaret On the Guillotine

“Make the dream real.”

Margaret on the Guillotine is the thirteenth and final track from Viva Hate. It hadn’t occurred to me until I looked it up that “Margaret” might refer to anyone of note. It’s a testament to how out-of-touch I am with British politics that I didn’t immediately catch the reference to then British Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party Margaret Thatcher. Read more

Morrissey: Dial-A-Cliché

“Grow up, be a man, and close your mealy-mouth.”

Dial-A-Cliché is the twelfth and penultimate track on Morrissey’s 1988 solo debut, Viva Hate. Though it was never a smash hit single, I was quickly drawn to its snarky title: the perfect retort to repetitive boilerplate lecture nonsense that young people can’t seem to avoid. The music is pensive and relaxing. Read more

Morrissey: Hairdresser on Fire

“You are repressed, but you’re remarkably dressed … and you’re always busy.”

Hairdresser on Fire is the next installment of Morrissey’s noun-preposition-noun song title series. If I didn’t have other things to do today, I’d go through all of my Smiths and Morrissey recordings and list all of the songs that follow this format. Maybe look for some common themes. 🤔

I believe Morrissey uses “on fire” here in the sporting sense of being productive and outpacing the competition—not in the literal sense of a hairdresser literally combusting, which is the image that came to my mind when I first read the title. Read more

Morrissey: Suedehead

“You can’t go home again.”

The seventh track on Viva Hate, Suedehead, was also Morrissey’s debut solo single after leaving The Smiths. It took some doing, but after about a week of repeated listenings to the full album, this is the first song from Viva Hate to get stuck in my head. Suedehead stands alongside Every Day Is Like Sunday as an album highlight. Read more