The world is full of crashing, crushing, bores.
The world is full, to overflowing, with hate.
Love is on the way out.
Those are the headlines.
Despite his invitation to stop watching the news on “Spent the day in Bed” back in 2017 Morrissey seems not to have lived his life in splendid isolation since. Here he is singing, splendidly but mournfully, on this second track from the soon to be released “I Am Not A Dog On A Chain” about children who are victims of chemical attacks and animals who are victims of sad rich trophy hunters.
It isn’t possible to ignore the elephant in the room this time.
When you offer uncritical support for a nationalist group like For Britain and when you side with Stephen Lennon then it may strike people as a bit rich for you also to be showing sympathy for the lives of those in places like Syria and it may also strike some as a bit vulgar to place those people alongside animals.
Morrissey is nothing if not…contrary.
It is worse than that.
There is precious little love from some of the people Morrissey has offered praise for in recent years. I’ll go further, some of those people trade in hate. It is possible, of course, to have a debate, a discussion, on issues of identity and immigration, of national identity and patriotism without having to dive, or delve, into the murky waters of nationalism. Nobody cares about people holding onto romantic and romanticised visions of the past…of a green and pleasant land. In some ways, and in some hands, those ideas and ideals can be used as a blueprint for a better world. But placed in the hands of the grotesque they can become something much less hopeful. Hopeless.
Where “Bobby Don’t You Think They Know?” was wild, adventurous and striking this is much more familiar. Morrissey sounds, as has been the case for so much of this late period of his artistic life, in fine voice. His voice is capable of wonderful swoops and it soars over the rather mundane music. But, ultimately, this is the sort of thing that makes people yearn for the old days…when he had musicians with a delicate touch and producers with a gentle hand.
For many it doesn’t matter now whether the songs are any good, Morrissey has burnt bridges, said things that are too far beyond the pale, betrayed the things that people believed he embodied and so they won’t listen now.
I’m still listening…but the love has gone.