Thinking, thinking. Of songs that start from before the beginning. Tracks that unfurl against constraints of personality; songs to expose your youth, to puncture your self-discovery, to portend your exploitation… and all the while white hot with the promise of engaging disappointment…
You can contact LGM at lazerguidedmelody (at) gmail.com. An email from And Before The Last Kiss:
It strikes me: will you be writing about ‘Maladjusted’ at some point? As I am sure you know, this is my favourite Morrissey moment OF ALL TIME and I am very interested in what you might say about it. Lyrically it can’t be beaten, I say.
Thinking, thinking. Of ‘Maladjusted’; visceral, acerbic, angular. From where the guitars growl and scowl, tooled-up and echoing blindly along streets on which they’re not exactly welcome. I note that our correspondent wields phrases such as favourite moment and lyrically, it can’t be beaten – it may be some flawed interpretation of the semantics on my part, but there’s no declaration of finest song here. And perhaps it’s an important distinction – there’s no warm embrace to be had. Devoid of the trademark empathetic decorations, this is a track that skulks and flounces. It loiters at the bridgehead of its parent album, apart – as if in splendid isolation … or shunned through notions of its own self importance.
And then the words. If in musical construction it’s closest to ‘The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils’, then in lyrical tone ‘Maladjusted’ represents some warped reflection to ‘Piccadilly Palare’. The cloak and dagger configuration of phrase and meaning are as much an aspect of Morrissey’s cultivated persona as the ripping of shirt before each encore, or the brief, barbed pronouncements upon all and sundry, but here the precision behind the words strikes off in a somewhat skewed direction, simultaneously conjuring both homo-eroticism and the instinctive mundanity of a social realist agenda. Or in other words, for every Keith Waterhouse or Ken Loach pose there’s a Quentin Crisp or even a Leigh Bowery counterpoint lurking within the same stanza.
Thinking… and yes, what words. Loot wine, be mine, and then let’s stay out for the night. Or: Keep thief hours, with someone like you. Or: You stalk the house in a low-cut blouse. Don’t tell me you’ve never stalked the house in a low-cut blouse; it’s the exploitation of image with maximum bite, unencumbered by the default feints and retracing-of-steps of the whole verse / chorus / verse routine.
Take, for example, the highly deliberate appropriation of Stevenage sprawl within the narrative. This isn’t simply a location that neatly scans; by deploying the sense of cul-de-sac anti-place – then vividly contrasting it with the harsh glare of big city bright lights, he’s both holding up a mirror to mainstream English aspiration (and barely concealing his disdain), and subverting the youthful attraction to the cold, cynical, breathtaking city. A city we all know too well, where-ever its real life geography.
Thoughts upon ‘Maladjusted’. It isn’t a particularly straight-forward track to scribe about. You don’t so much listen to this record as experience it, catch fleeting glimpses of yourself embedded within the narrative. Somehow we’re all extras in this drama, shadows lurking against the scenery with a cigarette clamped between our lips and attention focused towards some mid-distance. I think two things: maybe that’s enough Morrissey posts on this blog for a while. And (more importantly): maybe And Before The Last Kiss is onto something.
Morrissey / Maladjusted