Artist: Morrissey
Album: Your Arsenal
Year: 1992
Label: Sire / Reprise

Riding the coattails of "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful", and the raucous anthem that is "You're The One For Me, Fatty", and right before the music hall of "I know It's Gonna Happen Someday", this unremittingly gloomy ditty takes the baton of depression and self-defeat from "We'll let you know" earlier in the album, and charges off into the distance with it.

Or, more probably, sits by the side of the track with it, moans about having to run, and then collapses under the weight of its own introspection.

Elbow, Coldplay, Starsailor et al. may be the new grave of new grave, but Stephen Patrick Morrissey wrote a fair proportion of their hymn sheet. Like much of his output, it's an uncheery tale of a lost heart.

Fortunately, like most miserable music, provided you're not maladjusted, you can breeze through its melancholic beats, inserting your own mood, feelings of superiority, chipperness, as appropriate.

It begins, annoyingly if you ever want to put it in a compilation, with nothing (although you'd have to be wanting to calm a very hyperactive friend/hate someone unhappy to put it on a mix tape for them). This is the quiet before the storm, if that isn't too clunking a comparison. 26 seconds in, an acoustic guitar strums the first chord, accompanied by a warm bass line and a picked, overlayed, guitar melody, as simple as you like, following the bass lead. As the track progresses, a gentle swell is introduced, cymbals gently clash (rolling waves clunk, clunk), a quiet but haunting rhythm guitar wails distantly. While I'm clunking, this can be the sound of the wind, an ill one, naturally, bringing no good.

As soon as the lyric starts, you know where you're at. Seasick, yet still docked, you haven't even moved from shore, and already you're all at sea (clunk, THUD!). You haven't done anything, yet it hurts. You're standing still, but everything you want is moving away from you.

~•~
I am a poor freezingly cold soul
So far from where I intended to go
Scavenging through life's very constant lulls
So far from where I'm determined to go

~•~
Wish I knew the way to reach the one I love
There is no way...
Wish I had the charm to attract the one I love
But you see, I've got no charm

~•~
Tonight I've consumed much more than I can hold
Oh, this is very clear to you
And you can tell I have never really loved
You can tell, by the way, I sleep all day

~•~
And all of my life no-one gave me anything
No-one has ever given me anything
My love is as sharp as a needle in your eye
You must be such a fool
To pass me by


Ah, bless. Poor neglected Stephen. Through this miserable life, he finds hope, and knows he's not the one to blame. Hold on tightly, let go lightly

As the lyrics close, the players play out for another 75 seconds, the wailing guitar ever louder, but never intrusive, the acoustic chords growing slightly more frantic.

Beautiful. It's the sound of a heart crying.

Or it's the sound of a miserable git whining. Each to his own.


The inlay sleeve for Your Arsenal does not feature lyrics, but you can find them at http://www.oz.net/moz, where they've inserted a line consisting of "Mmm..." after "...I've got no charm". Other than that, I concur with their lyrics.

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