Why does Morrissey suddenly have me so mesmerized? I have no idea. All I can say is, I guess his time has come. Unlike the gibbering idiots who follow more mainstream artists, Morrissey fans are an articulate and perceptive bunch, so reading their message boards is actually rather entertaining. There’s a general consensus that Moz can be a little inconsistent and on any album one can expect the material to range from outstanding to excruciatingly ill-conceived. What no one can agree on is which songs are which. The rule seems to be, the songs I think are ‘hits’* are the ones that send the critics into a raging froth. (That’s usually the rule with everything I like.) There’s ever a spirited debate as to what constitutes highs and lows, but Maladjusted is a low in my book. Yea or nay, the album flopped so thunderously that its maker slunk off into a seven-year exile (gloriously miserable, I presume). It did yield exactly one fantastic song, and accompanying crappy video.
The Smiths never made any videos, to the best of my knowledge. Wether this was some kind of anti-MTV artistic stance or they didn’t have the budget or were simply too lazy, I know not. Morrissey commenced video making as soon as he went solo, but he never quite got the hang of it. I can’t think of a better artist who makes worse videos. Videos are supposed to complement their musical content. Morrissey’s videos do the opposite. They are so high in WTF that it’s easy to forget that there’s even a song. One just gets so distracted with WTF questions; “Who let him drive a tractor?” “Stay away from those rocks” “PUG!” etc. This video is typically WTF. ‘Maladjusted’ breakfast cereal is funny. Moz seems intrigued by skinhead aesthetics, but he’s alone in this. The tricks with the focus are aiming for ‘edgy’, but hitting ‘stupid’. The green light makes him look like a mean frog (also, bring back the quiff). And yes, he’s wearing a Beck t-shirt. Not because he likes Beck, but because someone dared him to. (Ouch – that sucks for Beck.) And should a man nearing 40 still be asserting his right to “wreck my life my own way”? On the other hand, there’s a cat eating donuts. You can never, ever go wrong with a cat eating donuts.
*by ‘hits’ I mean songs that are good; this isn’t somebody who scores hits in the traditional sense.