[Abby’s Road] Forgivable Misgivings

So I’m back. Guess who else is back? My favorite celibate vegetarian: Stephen Patrick Morrissey.

The Smiths – and Mozzer’s voice in general – played an integral part in framing my musical taste. He’s aged incredibly well and though I prefer old images of a smooth, porcelain-faced waif with flowers in his back pocket over the salt and peppery ones of today, he still has major swagger. Preparing for a tour (with no stop in Munich….boo) he released a handful of songs, the most ironic of which is entitled ‘Action is my Middle Name.’ His solo voice always transports me to being 13 and the day I cracked the cellophane on a spanking new Viva Hate cassette. That said, what in Cool Britannia’s name is up with the scat improvisation at the end of this new song?!? Yikes. Better put the brakes on that, Ella.

Dear, dear artists I (think I) know and adore, sometimes you do silly things. As a follower of all your moves, the great and the terrible, I continue to pay attention even if it is painful to watch. More examples, you say? There are many but I will stick to the shortlist.

Electronic. New Order performed the same role as The Smiths in my musical youth, though in a less miserable way, obviously. Their old material is better than their new; Peter Hook is a jerk, blah blah. This we know. When Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr decided to get together and release Electronic back in 1991, supergroup status was reached, in my book anyway. I still love this record. As a matter of fact, earlier this year I discovered 3 copies of it (I thought I lost it twice perhaps?). The tunes spin along swimmingly until ‘Feel Every Beat’ (the last track, thankfully) when Bernie goes rogue on our asses and decides he’s a rapper. Sigh.

Ann and Nancy Wilson’s glammed out Heart comeback. About 20 years ago I made a stellar discovery. Dreamboat Annie. It is one of the best things recorded in the 1970s. I suppose I shouldn’t let the spangles and Aqua Net of 1985 get in the way, but I do and it does. Sorry ladies. While I encourage you to ignore the gyrations of the male guitarist in the halter top, this is more like it. Yes.

David Bowie’s Vanity. I quite liked him snaggle-toothed. The Big Book of British Smiles is missing a card-carrying member. His wonky choppers were good enough for Jareth the Goblin King and should have been good enough for Basquiat as well, damnit. As with many other pop culture atrocities, I’ll just blame Andy Warhol.

Though I may laugh and scoff at your actions of the past and place you on a temporary playlist hiatus for future mistakes, at the end of the day you know I and the rest of your listeners will always buy your records because this is what fans do (*coughbeadyeyecough*).

Happy weekend.

[Abby’s Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday.]

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