“Don’t forget the songs that made you smile, and the songs that saved your life” – Morrissey’s words have struck deep into the heart of his fans for 30 years, in which time he has achieved four number one albums (three solo and Meat Is Murder from The Smiths), developed and popularised a timeless and iconic image for himself, and won the hearts (but also the dislike) of millions and millions of people worldwide.
Love and hated, but never understated, Morrissey is what very few can claim to be; a true original, and with his much anticipated autobiography, he attempts to set to set the record straight, for he is one of the most mystical and alluring characters in pop music history.
Totalling nearly 500 pages, Morrissey leaves only a little to the imagination. He writes poetically and freely, with much emphasis on the emotions and atmospheres he felt as he grew up in working class Manchester with his Irish family.
He reflects on his childhood with the view that he was damaged from it, and that singing was his method of escape from what he found to be a soulless environment. With The New York Dolls and Roxy Music, Morrissey fell in love with music as an early teen, and looks back with care and a warm heart of the days he spent singing along to the turntable until the neighbour would come round to complain.
Tales of The Smiths days are brief, and for those whose interest in the man stems from the sound of Strangeways Here We Come and The Queen Is The Dead, the lack of content on this era may be frustrating. What is also tedious, is Morrissey’s overly bitter and ridiculously lengthy ramblings about the Royalties dispute that took place in the High Court of Justice between former Smiths band members. Although Morrissey himself may see this book as a platform to express his views and much scrambled opinions, 30 so pages of anger and hatred towards Mike Joyce it simply does make for an entertaining read.
Another shortcoming of this book is the failure to deliver more explanations into the lyrical labyrinths that are Morrissey’s lyrics. He remains as cryptic and mysterious as always, and whilst this is part of his charm, you would have expected the barriers to somewhat lowered for something as intimate as an Autobiography. That said, few fans will be overall displeased with what they read, and even Morrissey cynics such as myself will find a lot to delve into and explore as each they turn a new page into the world of Morrissey. Just like the Mancunian baritone himself, this book is not to be ignored.