06 July 2022
The new track from upcoming Morrissey album, Bonfire of Teenagers, has everybody talking and shows fans the artist still has the power to draw fierce interest, debate and discussion after all these years in the business.
Never one for placating or mollycoddling his audiences, Morrissey has often used his witty, frank and honest lyrics to pierce the heart of many sensitive issues and difficult subjects. Over the years, when many entertainers would stray from confronting such things, Morrissey has tackled it all head on. For instance, as far back as the early 80's the Brit legend was promoting animal rights and issues within the meat industry. Whilst such topics are far more commonplace now, Morrissey was inarguably at the very forefront – with other spearheads such as Sir Paul McCartney – in bringing the subject to a wider audience. Along with this, Morrissey has often worked against societal gender stereotyping, pushed for women's liberties and even opened serious discussion on police brutality. These are the kind of issues Morrissey has tackled through his music, demonstrating how he has always been an artist who never shies away from the things that matter.
It may come as no surprise then, that the lyrics to the song Bonfire of Teenagers (the title track of the album itself) has aroused an emotional response online and on social media recently. The track explores the tragic event of the bombing at Manchester in 2017, in which 22 people were killed at an Ariana Grande concert. During Morrissey's Las Vegas show recently, the artist said, “This song is new, it’s about England’s 9/11… Obviously in jolly old England, most people won’t talk about it — but I will.” Morrissey certainly has. Whilst some online discussions of the track seem intent on criticising some of the lyrics, many fans and readers fully relate to the singer's take. Not a song of inactive, stagnant sadness, Bonfire of Teenagers is instead wonderfully explicit in its raw anger about the needless and tragic deaths. The song serves as an anthem for those who still feel the depth of fury about the night of those events.
While the Mancunian Oasis anthem 'Don't Look Back In Anger' (which is mentioned in the song lyrics) can perhaps be soothing to many at such a time, Morrissey instead takes his listeners aside and assures them that yes, it is absolutely okay to be angry about this; yes, sometimes anger is a very normal, human response to hurt, pain, death and tragedy. That Morrissey still clearly feels pained at the atrocious actions that took place in his homeland back in 2017 shows us there is a side of him that is still very passionate about justice and truth. Morrissey was never going to explore such an issue without hitting the nail hard on the head. He's been a fierce lyricist from the start and has no intention to filter himself now. It's what has made him the legend he is.
Morrissey will be touring the UK in October this year. Visit ticketmaster.co.uk for more details.
Photo credit: @sadglamour/Twitter