Morrissey A-Z: "Late Night, Maudlin Street"

CJM

Practising troublemaker
Should any songwriter pen just one such song in their life they could die knowing they left the world a jewel of indescribable beauty. That this jewel is one of many Morrissey has mined from his inner psyche is testament to his genius (but lashings of kudos due also to Messrs Reilly and Street).

In the meanderings of my mind I often imagine that Maudlin Street is a 5 or so minute walk from John Cooper Clarke’s Beasley Street
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
A classic and, while I appreciate the contributions of the musicians, this is 98% about Morrissey. Some of his finest lyrics and one of the key tracks on Viva Hate.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 43rd from 264 solo songs.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Paresi and Vini do their best, but musically this is very slight stuff from Street, and really struggles to keep the interest going over its length. Luckily its one of Morrissey's meatiest lyrical/vocal contributions which saves it.

I think there was a deliberate attempt to have another go at something similar on the next album with 'The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye', with another very long, very repetetive, simple backing - but that time Morrissey just didn't have anything interesting to say, and the whole thing fell flat on its arse.
 
M

Mozzer1980

Guest
So much melancholy, nostalgia, despair and hope in it at the same time. One of his most beautiful songs.
I hope that something equally beautiful will be the result of cooperation with a young and brave artist like ASAP Rocky. I keep my fingers crossed and I can't wait.

8 ASAP / 10 Rocky
 
T

Trans

Guest
Academically it looks good on paper with nice ideas but recorded I often find my mind wandering during this song. It doesn’t hold my interest very well musically
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
So, I've just got on the bus to go home.
I've nagged the record shop owner in to giving me the Viva Hate display in the window and I've bought the record and cassette.
The whole first side of the cassette blows me away and I get to this track and think: drum machines?
This is more Strangeways...
But after a full listen, I feel reassured that he will survive the split and that's without even turning the tape over...
Sublime.
He's telling me a story and I want to listen.
Just a wonderful song, wonderful time period - that's about it really.
FWD.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
So, I've just got on the bus to go home.
I've nagged the record shop owner in to giving me the Viva Hate display in the window and I've bought the record and cassette.
The whole first side of the cassette blows me away and I get to this track and think: drum machines? This is more Strangeways...
But after a full listen, I feel reassured that he will survive the split and that's without even turning the tape over...
Sublime.
He's telling me a story and I want to listen.
Just a wonderful song, wonderful time period - that's about it really.
FWD.
After listening to Maudlin Street I also went & listened to the full VH...then YA...& then Vauxhall.
A morning well spent. :)
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I just love this song so much, and I truly hope he tries to write a few more songs like this before he stops. ("Once I Saw the River Clean" feels like a step in that direction...)

Your gran died and your mother died
On Maudlin Street
In pain and ashamed
With never time to say
Those special things


Just gorgeous.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
The most beautiful, aching song he's ever recorded.

In fact, it's more than that - it's a journey and a pathway to another realm.
 
It's very hard to give this song as low a score as 10/10.

It's Moz's greatest song bar none. It's beauty is beyond my ability to describe.

I can see why some wouldn't rate it as highly, as you have to have lived that life, complete with northern phraseology for it to fully hit you in the feels.

But to have someone write a song about your adolescence while you're still living it, as if they're stood next to you, is the gift the Moz had that made him such an outstanding artist.

He had another go with Once I Saw The River Clean but he's got too much money now to write with the level of pain that gave birth to this.
 
D

Deleted member 29235

Guest
'Late Night, Maudlin Street' from Viva Hate (1988)

The sense of a secret world, available only to those able to decipher its clues, engenders faith in its faithful just as it engenders doubt in the skeptic. At the time of Viva Hate's release, I counted myself very much one of the faithful. Like its contemporary, Twin Peaks, Viva Hate - Morrissey's first solo album, and his most tricksy, arcane record by far - made the metaphysical world more real than the physical, and for a dreamy, queer, Catholic adolescent, this was an irresistible tactic. Now that almost two decades separate me from that embarrassing kid, it's fitting that my favourite Morrissey song remains one that ostensibly deals with nostalgia. 'Late Night, Maudlin Street', Morrissey's aching seven and a half minute paean to his adolescence in suburban Manchester - "I was born here and I was raised here, and I took some stick here" - begins with the narrator packing up his childhood house alone, haunted by memories of his childhood sweetheart. If this sounds like uncharacteristically saccharine territory, it probably is. Morrissey's habit of constructing his lyrics around a set of allusory Easter eggs is once again in play, casting contradictory and compelling shadows over character, voice and narrative. Familiarity with queer semiotics, 50s and 60s playwrights, the output of Ealing Studios, and above all Morrissey's autobiographical mythos, can complicate even the simplest-seeming of his lyrics.

In fact, 'Late Night, Maudlin Street' is named partly for Bill Naughton's book of acerbic character studies, Late Night, Watling Street, and partly for the school in Carry On Teacher - hardly the gesture of one bent on sincerity. For all its chimerical beauty (due in part to arrangement by Vini Reilly of the Durutti Column, whose glazed guitars are all over this album), for all its appeal to lost love and urban decay, 'Late Night, Maudlin Street' relates the tale of relationship breakup - referring now to the Smiths, now to the separation of Morrissey's parents, now to Naughton's characters, now to the loss of Morrissey's own, never-named sweetheart - in a narrative as fragmentary and impressionistic as Reilly's guitars, as remote and washed-out as Stephen Street's treated drums, yet located always in a place so vividly recollected, it hurts. It's testament to Morrissey's talent as a vocalist that the emotion of the song never wavers; this is one of his finest performances on any record; but it is his unique ability to construct a believably moving narrative out of disparate cultural signifiers that kept me dreaming then, keeps me dreaming now.
Petra Davis

 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
This song is so dense in emotion: sad, melancholic, warm, longing, humorous, self-depreciative, violent. Yes, Morrissey can capture it all in just 6 minutes. Very personal, and yet rcognizable to many struggling with themselves in their youthful years.
A rare piece of beauty, you knew it couldn’t and wouldn’t be repeate.
 
T

TPB

Guest
Great song, but I NEVER play it anymore, save for Viva as a whole or the IJWTSTBH 7".

Journalists Who Lie gets better with every listen.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
The subtle connections between this and other songs like "Break Up The Family" feels like a story cycle where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. As great as the song is on its own it feels like part of something larger.

Yes!! "Dial-A-Cliché" is probably a part of that cycle too, well at least for me. I didn't realize that until this A to Z thread, and it has really made me appreciate that song so much more, shameful as it may be.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
Yes!! "Dial-A-Cliché" is probably a part of that cycle too, well at least for me. I didn't realize that until this A to Z thread, and it has really made me appreciate that song so much more, shameful as it may be.
Agree, and "Ordinary Boys" is another one.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
Paresi and Vini do their best, but musically this is very slight stuff from Street, and really struggles to keep the interest going over its length. Luckily its one of Morrissey's meatiest lyrical/vocal contributions which saves it.

I think there was a deliberate attempt to have another go at something similar on the next album with 'The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye', with another very long, very repetetive, simple backing - but that time Morrissey just didn't have anything interesting to say, and the whole thing fell flat on its arse.

Yes and no. It is clearly a song centered around the lyrics. If you think the lyrics are one outstanding piece of poetry, as I do and some others seem to do, you wonder what other choice there is for the music but to take a back seat.
 

Bluebirds

Well-Known Member
Seeing this at the Royal Albert Hall in 2002....Now My Heart Was Full. One of the greats. And this.....

Don't leave your torch behind
A power cut ahead
1972, you know
And so we crept through the park
No, I cannot steal a pair of jeans
Off a clothesline for you
But you without clothes
Oh, I could not keep a straight face
Me, without clothes?
Well, a nation turns its back and gags
And I'm packed.
 
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