Indie-rock legend Morrissey
has announced that his 11th studio album, Low In High-School
, following up the 2014 album World Peace Is None Of Your Business
, is set to be released on November 17. Since rising to prominence in the 80s as the lead singer of The Smiths, Morrissey has cemented his place in history as a musical icon - all ten of his previous albums have made it into the Top 10 of the U.K. charts. Above all, he's known for his lyrics; his lyrics are often sarcastic or satirical, dark, and equal parts funny and tragic. So, in honor of this upcoming album being Morrissey's 11th, we've put together a list highlighting what he's most loved for - eleven examples of his most memorable lyrics.
1. SONG: "Irish Blood, English Heart"
LYRIC: I've been dreaming of a time when
To be English is not to be baneful
To be standing by the flag not feeling shameful.
These few lines capture the theme of criticism in "Irish Blood, English Heart." The song criticizes English society in a way that resonates strongly with a lot of Americans today, especially with our current infamous president.
2. SONG: "Everyday Is Like Sunday"
LYRIC: How dearly I wish I was not here
In the seaside town
That they forgot to bomb.
Morrissey paints a dreary picture with the song "Everyday Is Like Sunday," using dark, apocalyptic imagery to depict an out-of-season coastal town. These lines are a good example of Morrissey's tendency toward black comedy in his writing.
3. SONG: "The Youngest Was the Most Loved"
LYRIC: The youngest was the shielded
We kept him from the world's glare
And he turned into a killer.
In the song "The Youngest Was the Most Loved," Morrissey tells the story of a boy who was raised with love and supposed protection from the evils of the world, only to end up becoming one of those evils himself. The song pushes the idea that a person inclined toward being a killer would become one, regardless of their upbringing. Throughout the song, Morrissey repeats "There is no such thing in life as normal."
4. SONG: "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get"
LYRIC: When you sleep
I will creep
Into your thoughts
Like a bad debt
That you can't pay.
As with a lot of Morrissey songs, the upbeat music is at odds with the lyrics. The song starts off with what sounds like Morrissey being a stalker - like the title suggests - until he makes it clear what he's really talking about with these lines. Morrissey is haunting and taunting the subject who inevitably can't stop thinking about the singer.
5. SONG: "November Spawned a Monster"
LYRIC: She won't be rich or beautiful
But she'll be walking in your streets
In the clothes that she went out and chose for herself.
"November Spawned a Monster" is an uncomfortable look at the way society views people with a disability, especially when it comes to relationships and love. Throughout the song, Morrissey's harsh words echo a society that is unaccepting of anyone with a physical disability, but the end offers a twist of hope. "In the clothes that she went out and chose for herself," she is independent and strong despite how others perceive her.
6. SONG: "All You Need Is Me"
LYRIC: There's so much destruction
All over the world
And all you can do is
Complain about me.
In "All You Need Is Me," despite constant complaint and bickering, Morrissey seems confident that the subject needs and loves him. As he says toward the end of the song, "You don't like me, but you love me." Most of the song focuses on the small scope of their personal relationship and interactions, but for this verse he contextualizes it, making it almost seem petty more than anything.
7. SONG: "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
LYRIC: And now in my cell
(Well, I followed you)
And here's a list of who I slew
Reggie Kray - do you know my name?
Once again, Morrissey toys with a dark subject with his satirical lyrics in "The Last of the Famous International Playboys." In the song, Morrissey sings as a person who has been influenced by the glorification of violent gangsters, pointing specifically in these lines to one of the infamous Kray twins, some of England's most notorious gangsters. Morrissey's character's idolization of these gangsters is darkly funny, but makes the point that "In our lifetime, those who kill/The news hands them stardom," and that in turn breeds more violence in society.
8. SONG: "Let Me Kiss You"
LYRIC: Close your eyes
And think of someone
You physically admire
And let me kiss you.
When "Let Me Kiss You" first begins, it sounds like it might actually be a happy love song. The first verse begins with "There's a place in the sun/For anyone who has the will to chase one/And I think I've found mine." Knowing Morrissey, though, the chorus of course twists this. This person he's found, his place in the sun, is not actually attracted to Morrissey and so must "think of someone you physically admire" while they kiss. Mostly, the song is humorous, but toward the end the lyrics sort of take a turn toward heartbreaking.
9. SONG: "Do Your Best And Don't Worry"
LYRIC: Just do your best and don't,
Don't worry, oh
The way you hang yourself is oh, so unfair.
The most interesting thing about these few lines is that they can be interpreted in different but equally effective ways. Taken figuratively, "The way you hang yourself is oh, so unfair" is a rather jarring, abrasive way of saying someone is getting down on themselves. On the other hand, this line could be taken literally, taking the song in a whole new direction. If the line is taken literally, "Do Your Best And Don't Worry" sounds like the insensitivity of society in dealing with people with mental illness. The verses implore the subject to compare their struggles to the struggles of others, insisting that someone always has it worse; often, this is a dangerous dialogue that prevents people from getting the treatment they need.
10. SONG: "Hairdresser on Fire"
LYRIC: Can you squeeze me
Into an empty page of your diary.
Morrissey's "Hairdresser on Fire" is dripping with his typical sarcasm, but aside from the irony or potential double meanings throughout the song, these two lines really stand out. In a song where he is supposedly trying to get an appointment with a busy hairdresser, he makes it obvious from the beginning with these two lines that he wants more than that. Rather than asking if the hairdresser can squeeze him into an appointment book or something of the sort, he wants "an empty page of your diary." These lines stand out not only for their cleverness, but their sweetness.
11. SONG: "First of the Gang to Die"
LYRIC: And you have never been in love
Until you've seen the dawn rise
Behind the home for the blind.
In typical Morrissey fashion, "First of the Gang to Die" starts off innocently enough, talking about love and stars, but slowly twists into something darker as the lyrics go on. These three lines from the first verse turn Morrissey's sweet observation about being in love into something a little darker, praising the beauty of a sunrise the blind will obviously never get to see. As the title states, Morrissey continues on to sing about Hector, "the first of the gang to die."