Flow. A tracklist assembled with intricate precision – it’s one of the reasons behind a semi-drunk, densely-worded music blog growing just that teensy-weensy bit tearful whenever Vauxhall And I struts towards the stereo (and I haven’t just admitted that, have I?).
And so ‘Hold On To Your Friends’ begets the buzzing grandeur of ‘The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get’. A song with nostrils flared, acerbic beyond the point of serendipity, and yet infused with the trademark enigmatic inflexions; Morrissey nods, Morrissey winks – he’s what my grandmother would have called “a sly bugger”. In terms of tone, it also stands as a kind of reverse mirror image to the preceding track, the relevant peaks and troughs of sentiment dovetailing intimately with one another (it’s all about the flow; two mesmerising tracks even further enhanced when sequenced back to back). That Alain Whyte wrote the instrumentation for one, and Boz Boorer the other – it speaks loudly of the all-round aesthetic.
This is a song aligned to a barrel-chested bravado that’s never far from ironic persuasion. The humour carries references to Morrissey’s own legal travails (Beware, I bear more grudges, than lonely high-court judges), to gadfly dramatics (I will be in the bar, with my head on the bar) to tongue-in-cheek declarations of war. It’s also a song that resonates; Vauxhall And I’s lead single, it charted well in the UK, and remains the biggest-selling Morrissey single in the US. With good reason.
Morrissey / The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get