“In my own sick way, I’ll always stay true to you.”
I realised a long time ago that there is a Morrissey song to fit every life situation. Of course you get fools who would regard this as a depressing thing, but as if I would listen to them. Today more than ever, I have found slight comfort in Morrissey’s songs. His lyrics are beyond everything to me.
Today I was spoken to as if I was dirt more than twice when I took that self-loathing trip to the job centre TWICE. Oh yes, twice. I turned up at 9am for my 9.15 appointment, only to be told to go back at 2.40pm. However, nobody needs to hear about how I’ve been today. This is about the 20th anniversary of Morrissey’s exceptional record, Vauxhall And I. A record that I hold so very dear to me, as if it a part of me. There is something about this record that almost defines why I love Morrissey as much as I do.
Ask any Morrissey fan why they love him, and they will all give you different reasons but the one reason that they will always mention is his gorgeous and careful way with words. For me, I would be lost without his comforting words and the way he expresses ugly feelings to make me feel less ashamed of having them, you know? Vauxhall And I isn’t the only Morrissey record I feel such a strong connection to, but with it being 20 years old I figured it was the one to write about.
You can’t mention this record and not touch on the brilliant The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get. Purely for the line, “Beware. I bear more grudges than lonely high court judges.” Simply brilliant and to the point. He articulates niggling feelings in a way that see no need for being sugarcoated. The opening riff to this song is one that just stays in your head. I had this song as a ringtone for sometime. The perfect song to listen to after this is All You Need Is Me. Oh Morrissey, you minx you!
I was only 7 years old when the record came out, so I can’t claim to have been listening to it for 20 years. It was at least 6/7 years later when I was hitting puberty and I was uncomfortable in my skin. To an extent, I still am but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Vauxhall And I is a record that I have turned to for many reasons. Reasons that anyone who has played this record will understand.
The record touches on sensitive topics such as disappointment and betrayal which if written with negligence, will just sound awful. Morrissey digs deep into these feelings (and more) in a way that makes you want to pick up a pen and write down your ugly and exposed feelings. The way he really gets into the core of being used and calling someone out on it on the song Hold On To Your Friends makes you think of those who have done wrong to you. But in the long run, they really do not matter.
Of all the songs on Vauxhall And I, and probably all Morrissey songs- it is Speedway that truly owns my heart. I could happily write you a thousand plus words on this song (maybe I have already) on how much this song means to me and why it means so much to me. The older I get, the more it means to me. When I last saw him live he played Speedway and being able to see your favourite singer play your favourite song by them live is an overwhelming thing. I sang the words back to Morrissey (even though he evidently couldn’t see me) as if it was only him and I in the room. I sang Speedway as if it was written for me. When I listen to Speedway, I am convinced he wrote it for me. That feeling will never go away, and that’s why Morrissey is so important to me. If any line from a song was apt today, it was this one: “And when you try to break my spirit, it won’t work. Because there’s nothing left to break anymore.”
Vauxhall And I is probably the Morrissey record that I could happily have on repeat closely followed by Viva Hate. It is the kind of record that offers guidance and a source of comfort when you feel as if you have nothing. As if everything around is escaping you and you’re left with no hope. Many are quick to dismiss Morrissey as some miserable sod, but he’s saved many lives with his comforting words and ability to make those on the outside feel part of something. What that something is, I can’t really define. When something is dear to your heart, you just know. And words simply don’t do it justice.
Vauxhall And I will be reissued via Parlophone on 2nd June and will include unseen photographs.
“Don’t rake up my mistakes
I know exactly what they are
And what do YOU do?
Well, you just sit there.
I’ve been stabbed in the back
So many many times
I don’t have any skin.
But that’s just the way it goes.”