11 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While the end of the Smiths meant the end of the songwriting partnership with Morrissey’s most reliable musical foil, guitarist Johnny Marr, it has since guaranteed that Morrissey forever chases a new musical approach that can bring his witty and crafty paeans of self-pity to reverberating life. His shifts in sonic style have led him to adventurous and unpredictable new territories often at odds with the sweet, gentle guitar-led pop of his early years, while fans and critics have made some serious mischaracterizations of his sound. A string section here, a drum solo there don’t exactly add up to “prog rock.” Granted, his sound has expanded into lush terrain: Maladjusted’s main single, “Alma Matters,” is a sweet, smooth, seamless web of guitars and keyboards, a powerful force deliberately lacking in distinct features. “He Cried” continues Morrissey’s interest in the crustier edges of his sound with plenty of crooked guitar. “Ambitious Outsiders” uses strings. “Trouble Loves Me” sits down at the piano for a melodramatic flourish. “Satan Rejected My Soul” adds Morrissey’s self-parodic bite to another tale of pure misfit reality. Even Satan doesn’t sink low enough to accept this soul.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While the end of the Smiths meant the end of the songwriting partnership with Morrissey’s most reliable musical foil, guitarist Johnny Marr, it has since guaranteed that Morrissey forever chases a new musical approach that can bring his witty and crafty paeans of self-pity to reverberating life. His shifts in sonic style have led him to adventurous and unpredictable new territories often at odds with the sweet, gentle guitar-led pop of his early years, while fans and critics have made some serious mischaracterizations of his sound. A string section here, a drum solo there don’t exactly add up to “prog rock.” Granted, his sound has expanded into lush terrain: Maladjusted’s main single, “Alma Matters,” is a sweet, smooth, seamless web of guitars and keyboards, a powerful force deliberately lacking in distinct features. “He Cried” continues Morrissey’s interest in the crustier edges of his sound with plenty of crooked guitar. “Ambitious Outsiders” uses strings. “Trouble Loves Me” sits down at the piano for a melodramatic flourish. “Satan Rejected My Soul” adds Morrissey’s self-parodic bite to another tale of pure misfit reality. Even Satan doesn’t sink low enough to accept this soul.

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About Morrissey

A voice for angry outcasts and hopeless romantics alike, singer, songwriter, and former Smiths frontman Morrissey braids punk’s iconoclasm with a biting wit and a flamboyant sense of despair. Born Steven Morrissey in 1959 in Manchester, England, he went on to form The Smiths in his early twenties—a band whose blend of shimmering guitar pop and self-lacerating lyrics set the template for an incalculable number of left-of-center artists. You can hear it in everyone from Radiohead and Belle and Sebastian to the downcast heroes of emo and alt-rock—even Outkast’s André 3000 once said he wished he’d written The Smiths’ lush 1987 ballad “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” himself. Morrissey’s solo career, which began in the late ’80s after the band’s acrimonious demise, has been just as fruitful—and built on his already-rabid cult following, particularly among Latino youths. Songs like “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” and “Suedehead” use misery as a sort of security blanket, a defense against the traumas of giving one’s self over to real vulnerability. Despite being a consummate provocateur—over the years, he’s taken controversial stances all across the political spectrum—Morrissey has always managed to shrug off heavy feelings with lighthearted indifference, summing up his legacy as such to Melody Maker: “When they bury me in a church and chuck earth on my grave, I’d like the words ‘Well, at least he tried’ engraved on my tombstone.”

HOMETOWN
Manchester, England
BORN
May 22, 1959

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