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I'll Tape It Now (BSP's Smiths/Morrissey Mix-Tape)

The men of UK five-piece British Sea Power burn their dream compilation.

Taken from Q Special Edition: The Smiths & Morrissey.

1. Half A Person - From 'The World Won't Listen'

Lyrics like "16, clumsy and shy" showed Morrissey knew his audience pretty well. Someone said The Smiths were for people who masturbated, while The Stranglers were for people who "shagged". Makes the former sound like a better idea than ever.

2. November Spawned A Monster - From 'Bona Drag'

Perhaps Morrissey's bravest lyric of all. These days, pop performers are very keen on labelling themselves "freaks". But it's difficult to imagine The Vines writing a song about the kind of disability that means, rather than not being able to get up in the morning, you can't get up at all.

3. I Want The One I Can't Have - From 'Meat Is Murder'

It's funny how things are when you're young. How many people would really say that their mentality caught up with their biology the moment they heard this song? Also, Johnny Marr's occasional African-influenced guitar style makes a welcome return on this song.

4. Alsatian Cousin - From 'Viva Hate'

"A buck-toothed girl from Luxembourg", "Please the press in Belgium" - Morrissey is keen on his Benelux territories. Here he gambols under canvas with a chum from the historically-troubled region of Alsace-Lorraine. Is this Morrissey's own Battle of the Bulge?

5. Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself - From 'Vauxhall & I'

One of the rare songs where Morrissey drops his eyebrow a little and takes his tongue from his cheek. A really lovely song from his best solo album and maybe his best album full stop.

6. Everyday Is Like Sunday - From 'Viva Hate'

At British Sea Power we are pretty keen on Sir John Betjeman, a terrible snob, but also a terribly funny one. Here, Morrissey relocates Betjy's Slough to the English seaside. A masterclass in that bittersweet feeling that you get when the local ramraid enthusiasts nick your chips.

7. This Night Has Opened My Eyes - From 'Hatful of Hollow'

Morrissey and Marr were of course keen students of the song form. With this song they tackle another genre; the murder ballad. This is an unnerving tale of a mother ridding herself of an unwanted child, and Marr's backing is superbly sympathetic.

8. Ammunition - From 'Maladjusted'

Superb, beautifully measured stuff from the underrated 'Maladjusted' album. Morrissey reclines blissfully into his disaffection like a wise old man sinking into his favourite armchair: "Each chev-e-ron enticing me on.. Veering cliff-ward."

9. Handsome Devil - B-side, 'Hand In Glove'

The Smiths' debut single came with a man's bum on the sleeve and this on the B-side; "A boy in the bush is worth two in the hand... Who will swallow whom?" The lyrics here don't really back up claims of celibacy, do they? Astounding nonetheless.

10. Stretch Out And Wait - From 'The World Won't Listen'

"Amid concrete and clay, and general decay, nature must still find a way." Morrissey makes his tales of urban romance sound like a couple of stray dogs working out how to use their sexual organs for the first time.

11. The National Front Disco - From 'Your Arsenal'

Outrageously brave or outrageously ill-advised? The sad thing is that it is possible to imagine some far-right dullard playing this at an actual National Front disco. Even so, a daring slice of empathy for someone who's life is so deeply thwarted that they want to join the racists.

12. Death Of A Disco Dancer - From 'Strangeways, Here We Come'

Ghostly piano and scratchy guitar form an atmospherically perfect backdrop on this moving song about the death of a raver. Interesting how Morrissey's occasional interest in dance culture is reborn with the totally baggy beats on his 'You Are The Quarry'.

13. The Boy With A Thorn In His Side - From 'The Queen Is Dead'

Great Alpine funk, this one. Morrissey does some spectacular yodelling at the end. Andy Rourke played funk bass before The Smiths. Here he uses his training well.

14. Ouija Board, Ouija Board - From 'Bona Drag'

Morrissey has a go at the Death Disc, the pop genre where the dead commune with the living. The Death Disc reached its heights with the 1961 Number 1 hit Johnny Remember Me, written by the late Geoff Goddard. BSP know for a fact that Morrissey held a seance trying to book Geoff for his Meltdown shows.

15. Rusholme Ruffians - From 'Meat Is Murder'

Most people go to the fair hoping to enjoy a toffee apple. Morrissey seemed more interested in the fun to be had getting ruffed up and robbed. The band are in fine skiffle form.

16. Last Of The International Playboys - From 'Bona Drag'

The real reason Morrissey hates those judges is not because they made him give some money to Mike Joyce. It's because they didn't send him to jail where he could hang out with the Krays.

17. Asleep - From 'The World Won't Listen'

When BSP guitarist Noble was a teen he got smacked in the face outside a pub on his birthday for wearing black eyeliner. When he got back to the party, he put Asleep on again and again and cried - until someone replaced it with Russ Abbott's Atmosphere.

18. Now My Heart Is Full - From 'Vauxhall & I'

Morrissey portrays himself alongside Brighton Rock boy-thug Pinkie - like a man wanting to have his glasses knocked off, glamorously, by cosh boys on the dole. Gorgeously wistful music though.

Author: BSP
Source: Q Magazine
Date: 1st May 2004

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