Something in the Dooyoo system by Morrissey I haven't reviewed yet. I know someone who is going to be thrilled. "Glamourous Glue" is a single by, er, Morrissey, obviously. The song was originally on his 1992 Your Arsenal album and issued as a single in the United States at the time but only released as a British single in 2011 with this package. It was designed to cash in on Morrissey's surprising twilight comeback of recent years to some sort of prominence and success but Glamourous Glue only charted at number 67 or something so it wasn't a spectacular reissue. Lady Bracknell alone bought 25 copies to make a gigantic Morrissey themed collage for her living room wall but it still wasn't quite enough to crack the top fifty. It's a solid and decent song and an interesting one but I'm not quite sure why this particular Morrissey opus was plucked from the dusty vaults and thrust back into the limelight as if it was the great undiscovered gem of his career. I can think of a few other songs that might have have been better to dig out of the archive. His 1994 song "Oh Mother, Please Draw the Curtains and Bring Me a Biscuit" and the much later "My Trousers Are On the Washing Line" are simply much better in my opinion. You do get some nice extras with this package to go with the single though. As most fans will have the single already the extras are naturally of most interest here. You get an unreleased demo for a really lovely song called "Treat Me Like A Human Being" and the remastered original music video for Glamorous Glue in addition to some rare photographs. Treat Me Like A Human Being alone makes this worth considering if you are a Smiths/Morrissey fan. I'd never heard of it before but I think it's great.
The actual single (Glamourous Glue in case you forgot!) is a stompy somewhat glammy song that strongly bears the stamp of Your Arsenal producer Mick Ronson. While that album is credited as being one of Morrissey's stronger works I did find his voice a bit harsher and deeper on that and preferred the introspective wonder of "Vauxhall & I" myself - a much softer record and vocal performance by Morrissey. Glamourous Glue builds in rhythmic fashion and features some impressive guitar work and a dreamy interlude (where everything slows down and Morrissey's vocals sound distorted) but still somehow ends up as less than the sum of its parts. The lyrics aren't the greatest and rather vague. Everyone lies, don't vote Conservative, you can't trust anyone, we look to Los Angeles for the language we use. Morrissey doesn't dream anymore and London is dead. Or something. The infectious flippancy of Morrissey's better lyrics is absent here. The song is generally believed to be about the pernicious American cultural influence on Britain and the language we use (it's got a million times worse since Morrissey wrote this song too I suspect) although the song only hints at this theme towards the end. Morrissey seems to be deliberately ambiguous here too with the opening line. I never quite know if he means to say "jar", "job" or "joy" in the opening line but I think he means job. It's a perfectly fine song but not one that screams single and one that many will already own.
Treat Me Like A Human Being is an unreleased demo circa Viva Hate (late eighties) and it's a shame I think that it was never a bona fide song at the time because it's absolutely wonderful and sounds like a Smiths b-side. It's very "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" or "Half A Person". Morrissey sounds like The Smiths era Morrissey - probably because he practically was - on this song and it's not a million miles away from his beautiful (but completely unknown) solo era b-sides "Michael's Bones" and "I Know Very Well How I Got My Name". I always find it slightly strange and frustrating how Morrissey allowed some right old rubbish to go on albums like Maladjusted and Southpaw Grammar but had all these beautiful little b-sides that no one has ever heard of. He's wondering here why someone doesn't like him and wandering lonely streets with a packet of Wotsits because it's all he can think about and he won't get any peace of mind until they are nice to him again. It's a recurring theme in Morrissey's work and inspired one of his most famous lines in The Smiths ("It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate, it takes guts to be gentle and kind.") I think this song is so lovely and wonderful in its understated simplicity as Morrissey wallows in self-pity and sensitive gentle bedsit melodrama as only he can. "Three words could change my life, So once, just for once, just for once, treat me like a human being, I'd like to know how this feels..."
The other main part of the package - The Glamourous Glue video - was filmed at a blues club in Chicago in 1992, partly in the surrounding streets/partly in the club and in the early hours. Morrissey is just singing in what looks like an empty bar with his rockabilly backing group and has a gold lame shirt and a pair of jeans on. I don't think many people could get away with a gold lame shirt and a pair of jeans but the Morrissey of 1992 could. I suppose Morrissey was almost like a character he was playing and his whole life was devoted to being a pop star. He had a sensualist's eye for the complexities of visualisation and the cohesive mix of images, words and music without embellishment made it work. It helped too of course that Morrissey was very handsome and slender in the early nineties and looked great in the videos. For some strange reason the song stands much taller and sounds better when you listen to it while watching the video. It's a very simple but enjoyable promo film with a dusty small town creaking sign nowheresville Americana atmosphere and Morrissey doing that thing during the guitar solo where he uses the microphone cord as a whip. I'm not sure what the technical term for that is. Using a microphone cord as a whip I suppose! I liked this video anyway and it improves the song.
This package is very cheap (two or three pounds) but one for completists only as you can watch the video on YouTube and get Glamourous Glue on Your Arsenal. I think the package is attractive though with some nice photos and I enjoyed the content so I'm giving this four Morrisseys out of a possible five.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Glamorous Glue
2 Treat Me Like A Human Being
3 Glamorous Glue (remastered promotional video)