Morrissey A-Z: "Ambitious Outsiders"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member

The next song up is "Ambitious Outsiders" from the Maladjusted album.

What do we think? Do people like this song? (I've never really got the point of it, to be honest - and as a first-person plural lyric it pales in comparison to "Nobody Loves Us".)
 

MrShoes

The Courage to Get on People's Tits!
Subscriber
I always felt that it wasn't a song to rush towards...

However I appreciated the musicality of the song and use of the word, "waylaid". After all what is Morrissey if he doesn't take opportunities to elevate our vocabulary?

Perhaps if you are a ZPG advocate then its higher up on your hit parade.

MrShoes
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Now here's a song to divide opinion... :)

Morrissey's entire career has been about the outsider, and it is no surprise that he should tackle this kind of topic. I can understand why it might be too dark for some, but I always felt it was one of the more interesting lyrics on Maladjusted and certainly preferable to some of the frivolous tracks. There are very few other artists who could write a song about this subject on a mainstream album.

The music and the production let the song down and the same can be said for several other tracks on that album.
 
J

Janice

Guest
The title is better than the song. It’s probably the weakest song on the album, which IMO, is one of my top 3. That said, it’s not a bad song.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Love it as a lyric, but don't like it musically, so don't play it very often. The unsettling, almost threatening aura this emits is quite impressive though.

To me it falls into the same serial killer-ish thematic and atmospheric category as Michael's Bones, Jack The Ripper and Spring-Heeled Jim, although the plural form gives it an unusual feeling of unity that makes it stand out.

I find the "keeping the population down" bit the most intriguing part of the lyrics and it always makes me wonder if he means passively, by simply not having children, or actively, by, you know, reducing the number of children of others :lbf:

It works as a piece of performance art, but not as a pop song and in my opinion contributes to the patchiness of Maladjusted.

On a sidenote, if it was released today it could be seen as a comment on some of the more bizarre conspiracy theories...
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Love it as a lyric, but don't like it musically, so don't play it very often. The unsettling, almost threatening aura this emits is quite impressive though.

To me it falls into the same serial killer-ish thematic and atmospheric category as Michael's Bones, Jack The Ripper and Spring-Heeled Jim, although the plural form gives it an unusual feeling of unity that makes it stand out.

I find the "keeping the population down" bit the most intriguing part of the lyrics and it always makes me wonder if he means passively, by simply not having children, or actively, by, you know, reducing the number of children of others :lbf:

It works as a piece of performance art, but not as a pop song and in my opinion contributes to the patchiness of Maladjusted.

On a sidenote, if it was released today it could be seen as a comment on some of the more bizarre conspiracy theories...

I've always assumed it was the latter, about keeping the population down. Which is really dark.

And good point about performance art - you're right, that's much more what it's like.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I've always assumed it was the latter, about keeping the population down. Which is really dark.
Me too, actually. It's sinister. Saying it's their "own fault for reproducing".
I can see why he said that it's the lyric he's most proud of.

And it's a small miracle that it didn't cause a scandal at the time.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Goddard's summation is particularly dark:
"Among his most disturbing lyrics, it appeared to voice the unapologetic conscience of a paedophile ring in the face of mounting tabloid hysteria. Teasing society’s greatest fears and paranoias about child abusers – that they walk among us unnoticed, monitoring the school-bus run while calculating their opportunity to seize another victim – the song dares to blame their crimes on the children’s parents as punishment for ‘reproducing’"

Had this been the title track, I suspect there would of been a huge furore - Maladjusted worked out a better choice methinks.

The assertion that it draws from Young's Revolution Blues interests me as Young fan - a couple of bits match, but the subject matter doesn't.

Agree, the tune probably shines brightest here not the words.
Regards,
FWD.

Add: there were a couple of 'rings' mentioned on the news mid-late '90s.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Goddard's summation is particularly dark:
"Among his most disturbing lyrics, it appeared to voice the unapologetic conscience of a paedophile ring in the face of mounting tabloid hysteria. Teasing society’s greatest fears and paranoias about child abusers – that they walk among us unnoticed, monitoring the school-bus run while calculating their opportunity to seize another victim – the song dares to blame their crimes on the children’s parents as punishment for ‘reproducing’"

Had this been the title track, I suspect there would of been a huge furore - Maladjusted worked out a better choice methinks.

The assertion that it draws from Young's Revolution Blues interests me as Young fan - a couple of bits match, but the subject matter doesn't.

Agree, the tune probably shines brightest here not the words.
Regards,
FWD.

Add: there were a couple of 'rings' mentioned on the news mid-late '90s.
Was wondering where Goddard got the paedophilia association from, because personally I don't see that in the lyrics. To me it seems like the narrator's more focused on punishing the parents.
It does make more sense if there were news stories on the subject at the time though.
 

MrShoes

The Courage to Get on People's Tits!
Subscriber
Having a peek at what's listed on Passions Just Like Mine, it appears that Moz chimed-in himself as to the song's darkness..:

"Quotes

"In the 2009 expanded and redesigned edition of the "Maladjusted" album, Morrissey said that this song "...is my favorite track [on this album], and so well put together."

"Morrissey, in an interview to KROQ (Los Angeles radio station) in 1997, when told that "...this song Ambitious Outsiders which sounds like this evil child-murdering-incorporated NAMBLA theme", answered: "Not quite, not quite. But it's creeping towards it, definitely. But a great song, I think, I'm very proud of it. (Interviewer: Yeah, eerie as hell...) Well, I like music to be slightly dangerous. I do - I like it to be pushed. There's not really much point making safe music, I don't think."

MrShoes
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
This is very clearly a song about paedophile murderers.
Child murderers and/or kidnappers, yes, but I don't see the narrator's primary motivation as being paedophilia. It's an obvious assumption but the lyrics are directed at and focus on the parents.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I always thought the paedophilia angle was pretty blatant:
"Top of the list is your smiling kids
But we'll be smiling too - so that's OK"


As a song, I think the only thing keeping it down is the cheap synthesiser strings. This was one that should have got the full orchestra/Morricone treatment, but I guess given Morrissey's wobble in popularity at the time, they just didn't get a big enough budget from the record label.
 
T

Trans

Guest
I love this song. It sounds very angry lyrically and simmering. The musics precise and marching quality make me think of something powerful and tense and tight which underscores that feeling imo. What do people make of the ambitious part of the title
 

Ketamine Sun

A Most Misunderstood Member
Me too, actually. It's sinister. Saying it's their "own fault for reproducing".
I can see why he said that it's the lyric he's most proud of.

And it's a small miracle that it didn't cause a scandal at the time.

dark humor mixed with the reality that the world and the way we treat it, well it could only take so much.


The song starts with much promise
but the musical arrangements and musical ideas are patchy, thrown together, go nowhere and make little sense together. By themselves the parts are nice though, and maybe the only reason they were not cut out. Musically(the theater of it) it could have fit on Uncle.
 

Dale Wharfe

Well-Known Member
I love this song. It sounds very angry lyrically and simmering. The musics precise and marching quality make me think of something powerful and tense and tight which underscores that feeling imo. What do people make of the ambitious part of the title
I always thought the 'Ambitious Outsider' title was a dig at himself for besmirching impressionable adolescents with his unique brand of misery.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I love this song. It sounds very angry lyrically and simmering. The musics precise and marching quality make me think of something powerful and tense and tight which underscores that feeling imo. What do people make of the ambitious part of the title
I was going to comment on that but forgot to include it in my previous post.
It's an interesting choice of word as it has mostly positive connotations. The outsiders in the song certainly are ambitious in their own malicious way but I think it's possible that the title existed on its own for a while before being attached to this lyric.
 
Top Bottom