Stephen Patrick Morrissey, is he the bard for the modern indie kid, the self-righteous, hyperbolic, oft-maligned poet? Or, just the ludicrously talented, attention grabbing frontman of The Smiths? Why is it that 30 years after the seminal debut album we find ourselves still devoting so much attention to him? That my friends is a simple enough question, the man is a provocative, even annoying (to some, not me, if you’re reading this Mozza, I love you) genius. Whatever your opinion on his latest scandalous outburst, the fact of the matter is, it bothered you enough to make you have an opinion.
Now, I’ll stop short of labelling all meat eaters (like myself) as murderers, paedophiles and rapists, and I won’t compare McDonald’s to the holocaust; but I will not deny my love for The Smiths and Morrissey. Whilst he has the tendency to come out with some pretty sensationalist soundbites in interviews, this has to be tempered with his fantastic and often extremely funny lyricism; if poetry is a dying art then someone forgot to tell Morrissey. Nowhere does he express this more explicitly then on my personal favourite Smiths song ‘The Queen is Dead’, acknowledging the fact that the Monarchy probably holds him in as much disdain as he holds them he sings ‘So I broke in to the palace, with a sponge and a rusty spanner. She said ‘I know you and you cannot sing’ I said ‘that’s nothing you should hear me play piano.’ One of the greatest things about Morrissey is, though he may often seem poncey and pretentious, he is the first person to mock himself.
The main problem threatening Morrissey’s legacy as one of the greatest lyricists ever, is himself really, for every 10 moments of majesty he brings in a moment in which everyone has to collectively sigh. Such statements lead everyone to question his standing, time after time he offers an ill informed opinion on something he lacks authority on, and people are starting to grow tired of his tendency to shoot his mouth off.
Some of us pretend we aren’t interested in what he has to say, some of us even say he isn’t a public voice anymore, but the fact of the matter is he is still important enough to demand his long anticipated autobiography was published on Penguin Classics, stating he only wanted to be published by a company that publishes Oscar Wilde. That autobiography went on to sell in large numbers. 30 years after the eponymous debut from The Smiths, or famously Morrissey, Johnny Marr and two sessions musicians, Morrissey is just as famous, just as important and just as revered and decried as he ever was before.
Written by Ben McBride