It seems like I am just a little too young to have caught on to The Smiths, his earlier band, or to have heard any more of him than the single "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" on the radio in 1994. In high school, when kids a few years older than me were clinging to their Morrissey CDs with dour faces, I was still bopping to The Beatles. I guess I wasn't ready for it yet. Fast forward to just a couple of years ago, and Morrissey suddenly had a new surge in popularity among the hipster crowd. At that point, I had well heard of The Moz, as he is known in certain circles, but this new over- the- top hipster cred popularity he had gained turned me off and I still never got around to listening to his music.
Finally, this last week I have picked up a Morrissey CD-- Your Arsenal (1992)-- and listened. One very strong sign of a great CD is when it's still very new to you but you can't get the songs out of your head and they seem to be following you around constantly -- when you lay your head on the pillow at night, when you are out grocery shopping, or waiting on the train. This happened to me with Your Arsenal almost immediately. One other thing that is exciting about Morrissey is how funny his music is! I love that about him! What took me so long to embrace his music? One of the songs on Your Arsenal that is a favorite is entitled "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful". Another fave is "You're the One For Me, Fatty". His sense of humor is so dry I'm never quite sure if he's serious or not, but the fact that he's British cues me in to the fact that he's probably just being silly -- I believe we call that "tongue in cheek". And how refreshing is that? -- silly, sad songs of yearning and intelligence. I do see why all those dour high school kids saw Morrissey as the second coming. I know everyone else figured this out over a decade ago, maybe even longer, but I am just a little bit slow here! It's all kind of new to me. Still, I am glad I have waited until it felt right to me to listen. I think I'm going to end up listening a bunch more. Maybe I will finally catch up to the rest of you!