Lately I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch. I’m not depressed, per say, but I’m definitely bummed out. Nothing really big and terrible has happened, it’s just a bunch of little things all adding to a larger pile of misery. While wallowing last week, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to see Morrissey in New York this October. Of course I had to say “no” (Defending Axl Rose hasn’t made me a millionaire yet). She’s never seen Morrissey live and as someone who has I encouraged her to go without me.
That conversation got me thinking about Morrissey and why I love him so much. His band The Smiths were super influential and anyone even thinking about writing songs (happy or sad) should definitely check out the work of The Smiths. But Morrissey’s specialty is really sad songs. I can’t think of another human being who (at least on the surface) is more depressed than Morrissey. God help us all if Morrissey ever finds happiness. In fact, as terrible as it is, I truly do not wish happiness upon ‘ol Moz. I don’t think he could handle it.
Is Morrissey gay? Is Morrissey straight? Will he get back with The Smiths? I could care less about these tabloid questions that so obsess the British media. All I care is he’s fucking miserable and recording music. I guess I’m old fashioned.
One of my favorite songs I’ve ever heard him sing is a cover of the Patti Smith song “Redondo Beach.” It’s a tragic song about two lovers one of whom (spoiler) kills herself after the couple has a fight near Redondo Beach. Morrissey released a live cover of “Redondo Beach” in 2004 in support of his LIVE AT EARLS COURT album. As songs go, it’s good even though it is pretty melodramatic. The song’s narrator sings about how he got in a “quarrel” with “you” (his lover) who he now can’t seem to find. In a seemingly unrelated bit of news a girl has washed up on Redondo Beach…and in the end it his love is gone forever because:
Down by the ocean
It was so dismal
I was just standing
With shock on my face though
The hearse pulled away
And the girl that had died it was you
Shakespeare this isn’t, but the tragedy, especially when Morrissey (our main-man of depression) is singing it I can’t help but feel bad. And I like that. I guess the same part of us that likes to watch scary movies is the same part that likes to hear sad songs. I don’t know about you, but when I’m sad I like to hear sad songs. I can’t imagine trying to hear something super-happy and upbeat when I’m feeling down.
Morrissey’s built an entire career around this sort of emo-music (please kill me in the comments for calling Morrissey “emo”) and even though it might seem a bit strange he provides a service humanity really needs. I highly recommend anyone feeling depressed, blue, disenfranchised, pissed off, confused, or otherwise unsatisfied to check out the massive library of awesomely depressing music recorded by Morrissey.
Morrissey Depression Super-Mix
1. “Let Me Kiss You” from YOU ARE THE QUARRY
2. “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” from STRANGEWAYS, HERE WE COME
3. “Redondo Beach” from LIVE AT EARLS COURT
4. “Satan Rejected My Soul” from MALADJUSTED
5. “One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell” from YEARS OF REFUSAL