Best tunes of 1991: #23 Morrissey “Sing your life”

Pretty much whenever I hear Morrissey, I can’t help but think of my old friend John, whom I grew up alongside. I vaguely remember when his family moved into the neighbourhood, a handful of houses around the corner. We were both very young. We were in Boy Scouts together and though we went to different elementary schools and high schools, we hung out quite a bit after school and on weekends. Much later, when I was in university, he moved to Toronto too. We were housemates for a couple of years but grew apart after we all gave up the apartment and went in our separate directions. I haven’t spoken to him in a long time but will always remember that he introduced me to Morrissey. And looking back, it is obvious now that he emulated the Moz in many ways, was definitely as theatrical and put upon the image of tortured soul.

It was the “Kill uncle” CD that John first lent me, Morrissey’s second solo album. And though “Mute witness” was the first song on it that caught my ear, the song I would rewind over and over again on my cassette recorded copy of the album, “Sing your life” would grow on me to become my favourite on the album. It would also become my wife, Victoria’s gateway to Morrissey when I put it on one of the many mixed tapes I made for her in our early years together. And well, what a great tune it is, albeit slightly unrepresentative of Morrissey’s other work, given its upbeat nature. He appears to be instructing us on how to write songs, hinting that it isn’t all that hard.

“Any fool can think of words that rhyme. Many others do. Why don’t you?”

The funny thing is that I don’t think he ever used this template for his own songwriting. He definitely doesn’t just list the things he loves and loathes. Indeed, “Sing your life” might very well be his most straightforward written song, as if he was attempting a light pop song. But even here, he’s a little jaded.

“And make no mistake, my friend. Your pointless life will end.”

And oh yes, before I go, I’d be remiss and Andrew Rodriguez would have my head if I didn’t mention the rockabilly version Morrissey recorded after the fact with a different set of musicians than appeared on the album. Both are great in my opinion. Cheers.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1991 list, click here.

Vinyl love: The Postal Service “Give up”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The Postal Service
Album Title: Give up
Year released: 2003
Year reissued: 2013
Details: 10th anniversary deluxe edition, Remastered, 3 x LP, Triple gatefold, 8-page booklet

The skinny: The one and only collaboration between Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello (aka DNTEL) received the 10th anniversary reissue treatment and I was all over it. It was 10 clean and crisp pop gems that seamlessly blended indie pop and electronic, though this release included extra b-sides, remixes, and even a brand new song.

Standout track: “Such great heights”

Vinyl love: Catherine Wheel “Ferment”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Catherine Wheel
Album Title: Ferment
Year released: 1992
Year reissued: 2017
Details: Limited edition, numbered 1096/1500, 25th anniversary, 180 gram, orange and gold vinyl

The skinny: Okay. Where do I start? How about ‘unblemished debut album by late-coming shoegazers’? How about ‘brilliant start by underrated british alt-rock band’? How about ‘a breathtaking album with a deserving 25th anniversary reissue’? Done.

Standout track: “Black metallic”