Wednesday, February 11, 2015

meat is murder

The Smiths addressed the crux of the criminally vulgar violence inherent in the system with the complex controversial castigations of this adventurous article of adolescent agony.  In the year since the release of their eponymous debut, the band had released four non-album singles and the compilation 'Hatful of Hollow', all the while challenging the preconceptions of pop music.  

Morrissey would explain:  "To be quite honest, we are very angry.  I mean, in very simple terms we are very, very angry.  We're angry about the music industry.  We're very angry about pop music.  And I think it's about time that somebody said something and somebody did something that is of value.  Which is always very difficult because when you try to say someting with value and intelligence, you have to stand trial, you have to go before the jury, as it were, and explain yourself...I don't think that courtesy is really old fashioned...I think civility and common courtesy are really buried within everybody, but now we're in an age when people feel really embarrassed to be polite, and feel quite embarassed to open doors for others.  And I think that's sad, but it's only because I think that to be that courteous is considered to be quite weak and trivial...[the tendency which has overtaken it is toward violence], but this is because, in my opinion, of nuclear weapons.  Because it seems that ultimately, regardless of what happens in the world, the only way to solve our disagreements is by violence, is by nuclear weapons.  And as long as we live in a world where nuclear weapons are the only answer, and the ultimate answer after conversation has failed, I think people will be violent...It's completely connected. It all weaves in and it's all kind of embroidered to make one overall foul image.  From the time that you get hit when you're a child, as covered in a song called 'Barbarism Begins At Home', violence is the only answer.  Conversation is pointless.  And it continues through school.  Certainly if you to to a working class school...Violence towards animals, I think, is also linked to war.  I think as long as human beings are so violent towards animals there will be war.  It might sound absurd, but if you really think about the situation it all makes sense.  Where there's this absolute lack of sensitivity where life is concerned, there will always be war.  And, of course, there will always be war as long as there are people willing to fight wars in armies.  Which is quite another matter, which I must cover one day on a B side...The link is that I feel animal rights groups aren't making any dramatic headway because most of their methods are quite peaceable, excluding one or two things.  It seems to me now that when you try to change things in a peaceable manner, you're actually wasting your time and you're laughed out of court.  And it seems to me now that as the image of the LP hopefully illustrates, the only way that we can get rid of such things as the meat industry, and other things like nuclear weapons, is by really giving people a taste of their own medicine."

Unsatisfied with the sound of their debut, the band produced 'Meat Is Murder' themselves with engineer Stephen Street, who they had met during the recording of their single  "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now".  The sessions featured Morrissey on vocals;  Johnny Marr on guitars and piano;   Andy Rourke on bass guitar;  and Mike Joyce on drums.  'Meat Is Murder' reached number one hundred and ten in the US, fifty eight in Australia, forty five in Germany, forty in Canada, thirty nine in the Netherlands, twenty seven in Sweden, thirteen in New Zealand, and number one in the UK.

"How Soon Is Now?" was added to US pressings of the album.  Marr remembers;   "The vibrato sound is fucking incredible, and it took a long time. I put down the rhythm track on an Epiphone Casino through a Fender Twin Reverb without vibrato. Then we played the track back through four old Twins, one on each side. We had to keep all the amps vibrating in time to the track and each other, so we had to keep stopping and starting the track, recording it in 10-second bursts... I wish I could remember exactly how we did the slide part – not writing it down is one of the banes of my life! We did it in three passes through a harmonizer, set to some weird interval, like a sixth. There was a different harmonization for each pass. For the line in harmonics, I retuned the guitar so that I could play it all at the 12th fret with natural harmonics. It's doubled several times."

"That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"

"Barbarism Begins at Home"

'Meat Is Murder'
full album:

All songs written and composed by Morrissey and Johnny Marr. 

1. "The Headmaster Ritual" 4:52
2. "Rusholme Ruffians" 4:20
3. "I Want the One I Can't Have" 3:14
4. "What She Said" 2:42
5. "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" 4:59
6. "Nowhere Fast" 2:37
7. "Well I Wonder" 4:00
8. "Barbarism Begins at Home" 6:57
9. "Meat Is Murder" 6:06

"How Soon Is Now?" was added to the US edition and to post-1992 UK WEA re-issues, as track 6. The 2011 remaster restored the original UK track listing.

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