Morrissey A-Z: "Asian Rut"

MrShoes

"Ooo, there's goobers on his bod." - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
I admit I was also confused about the song's message upon its release in 1991. Back then, the arrangement and vocal delivery sounded a bit condescending, even vitriolic. See also "Journalist who lie', sounding similarly ridiculous, but not in a good sense. So one could feel he sings those lyrics in disdain.
It might no be the case, I am just saying, that I, as a non-native speaker, and who didn't really have access to British press, felt this way. It is one perspective to consider, especially for Nerak, to give us a break about Morrissey being hunted for his animal liberation or whatever views.

When having a listen on YouTube to your referenced, "Journalists Who Lie" (because I cannot wait around til we move the discussion to songs under the letter "j"), under the oft funny comment field, one finds this:

Courtney F. 1 year ago
"Trump's favorite song"

Given the times, I had to share that.

MrShoes
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I admit I was also confused about the song's message upon its release in 1991. Back then, the arrangement and vocal delivery sounded a bit condescending, even vitriolic. See also "Journalist who lie', sounding similarly ridiculous, but not in a good sense. So one could feel he sings those lyrics in disdain.
It might no be the case, I am just saying, that I, as a non-native speaker, and who didn't really have access to British press, felt this way. It is one perspective to consider, especially for Nerak, to give us a break about Morrissey being hunted for his animal liberation or whatever views.

A journalist actually said the Panic thing was to take him down a peg or two - I'll dig it up at some point.

But also, I know British journalists & they can't stand anyone being preachy about anything.

20210122_153146.jpg


He also couldn't be more sincere on Journalists Who Lie - they hurt him.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Appears to me that either Morrissey may suffer from some self-denial or fancy himself an ambitious-insider instead.

Separately -- Nerak, are you Morrissey-Solo's own academic historian? The speed at which you are able to produce supporting reference material is notable. All in good fun and in the interests of communal discourse - of course!

MrShoes

I'm just used it from work! I'm always having to research something.
 

Ketamine Sun

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A journalist actually said the Panic thing was to take him down a peg or two - I'll dig it up at some point.

But also, I know British journalists & they can't stand anyone being preachy about anything.

View attachment 67830

He also couldn't be more sincere on Journalists Who Lie - they hurt him.

It’s not unusual, I’ve gotten anti-vegetarian comments before. Carnivores usually respond with a joke or comment about how they can’t wait to sink their teeth into a cow or some animal, of course they only react in this way because they don’t understand why someone would choose to not eat animals, and they themselves in the back of their mind know that they may be wrong in choosing to eat animals, but instead will attack with jokes, etc.

People fear what they can’t understand, so they attack in someway.

And if you’re supposed to be just a pop star, then having strong intelligent views, well you must be brought down a peg or two or three.


Anyway, it’s a wonderful song, musically theatrical in mood, a precursor to songs like Lifeguard Sleeping, Ambitious Outsiders and Sorrow Will..
 
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GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I like the mood, but it's not one of my favourites, probably my least favourite on Uncle. Not a song I would ever play on its own.

I can't put my finger on what exactly bothers me about it, but I think it might be the vocal. Doesn't really fit with the lyrics and drama of the music, I think.

Also feel like the story needs a bit more fleshing out, but all in all it's an interesting vignette.

Out of the three main songs that have been labelled "racist", this one has always baffled me the most. Like someone already mentioned, he clearly sympathises with the victim here.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I like the mood, but it's not one of my favourites, probably my least favourite on Uncle. Not a song I would ever play on its own.

I can't put my finger on what exactly bothers me about it, but I think it might be the vocal. Doesn't really fit with the lyrics and drama of the music, I think.

Also feel like the story needs a bit more fleshing out, but all in all it's an interesting vignette.

Out of the three main songs that have been labelled "racist", this one has always baffled me the most. Like someone already mentioned, he clearly sympathises with the victim here.

They usually just cite the title.

The disconcerting thing is, who is the narrator? Why does he know so much when he's only passing through? He's part of the story but it's not clear if he's sinister or in trouble himself.

I sometimes wonder if it's a teacher. Watching & doing nothing.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
They usually just cite the title.

The disconcerting thing is, who is the narrator? Why does he know so much when he's only passing through? He's part of the story but it's not clear if he's sinister or in trouble himself.

I sometimes wonder if it's a teacher. Watching & doing nothing.
Yeah. That's part of what's baffling me. Says a lot about the hacks and anyone jumping on the bandwagon if they just assume it's racist simply because it mentions the word "Asian".

As for the narrator, I don't really see him as part of the story. The last lines aren't meant to be taken literally, he's not really there. The important part is the "on my way to somewhere civilised". The narrator wants to move on from a terrible occurrence which seems to be very common (English boys beating up brave Asian kids).
Maybe it's a memory?
Idk, like I said, the whole lyric seems like it needs more work...
 
M

Musician

Guest
A journalist actually said the Panic thing was to take him down a peg or two - I'll dig it up at some point.

But also, I know British journalists & they can't stand anyone being preachy about anything.

View attachment 67830

He also couldn't be more sincere on Journalists Who Lie - they hurt him.

Yes, poor victim Morrissey. Well, it's his shortcoming if he can't handle journalists. But let's not het into this again...
What I meant is, both songs (Asian Rut, too) sound like a novelty record musically. At this point only Death at one's elbow was similarly close to a novelty song, so no wonder if some (including me) felt he's ridiculing the protagonist.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I admire the fact that's it's musically quite adventurous for Morrissey, and it's fairly dramatic. St the same time however, it's also slightly plodding.
As an album track it's fine, though it's a curious choice to have it so upfront as the 2nd track in.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I admire the fact that's it's musically quite adventurous for Morrissey, and it's fairly dramatic. St the same time however, it's also slightly plodding.
As an album track it's fine, though it's a curious choice to have it so upfront as the 2nd track in.
That's a really good point, it stops the album in its tracks as the second song. If Kill Uncle had started with Our Frank then Sing Your Life, Mute Witness, King Leer, I would have liked it a hell of a lot more.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Yeah. That's part of what's baffling me. Says a lot about the hacks and anyone jumping on the bandwagon if they just assume it's racist simply because it mentions the word "Asian".

As for the narrator, I don't really see him as part of the story. The last lines aren't meant to be taken literally, he's not really there. The important part is the "on my way to somewhere civilised". The narrator wants to move on from a terrible occurrence which seems to be very common (English boys beating up brave Asian kids).
Maybe it's a memory?
Idk, like I said, the whole lyric seems like it needs more work...

The narrator mentions 'our' school - so he's part of the school.

I'd say the passing through was was him giving someone (or himself) a non-answer about what he was doing in the vicinity.

It's very eerie - sunshine, silence, drugs, strange/ly used 3 times...

There's a lot going on in a tiny wee song.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
That's a really good point, it stops the album in its tracks as the second song. If Kill Uncle had started with Our Frank then Sing Your Life, Mute Witness, King Leer, I would have liked it a hell of a lot more.
Asian Rut is also the least enjoyable one out of the 2-3 'weird' songs on Kill Uncle, so the placing is indeed quite unfortunate. The only real improvement on the re-designed edition, which is a mess otherwise.
I would swap it for a b-side to be honest, probably Tony The Pony.
 
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GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
The narrator mentions 'our' school - so he's part of the school.

I'd say the passing through was was him giving someone (or himself) a non-answer about what he was doing in the vicinity.

It's very eerie - sunshine, silence, drugs, strange/ly used 3 times...

There's a lot going on in a tiny wee song.
Let me rephrase it then - he's not part of the action. I was giving my thoughts on whether he's sinister or in trouble - I'd say he's neither.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Yes, poor victim Morrissey. Well, it's his shortcoming if he can't handle journalists. But let's not het into this again...
What I meant is, both songs (Asian Rut, too) sound like a novelty record musically. At this point only Death at one's elbow was similarly close to a novelty song, so no wonder if some (including me) felt he's ridiculing the protagonist.

Most of The Smiths songs had chirpy music with bleakly comic lyrics... that tends to be Morrissey's style.

I don't know why you picked Death At One's Elbow out of a hat.

And why would you think he's taking the piss out of Glenn? Tragicomedy is laughing at fate, not human suffering.
 
Go ahead and grab some popcorn and a pack of Twizzlers, cause when ya listen
to this thing it's kinda like bein' at the pictures.
Moz does a heck of a job of settin' the mood and the scene.
That Asian Boy got stuck in the worst kind of Rut.
If he don't avenge his friends murder, then he's lettin' evil prevail, but at the
same time, avengin' the murder is just addin' to the circle of violence.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Let me rephrase it then - he's not part of the action. I was giving my thoughts on whether he's sinister or in trouble - I'd say he's neither.

I wasn't disputing your post - just continuing to speculate.

There's also the murdered best friend that we don't know anything about beyond that. And who slammed the breaks on. And where did he get a gun...
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
IMO, the lyrics are fairly too-on-the-nose. An "Asian boy" is seeking revenge for his only friend who was killed by "English boys" (three against one). The presumption that the action was racially motivated is predicated upon the friend being Asian or non-English.

If anything it is arguably anti-racist or commentary on the pain resulting from racism.

Of course the musical press, seeking to gather anything remotely negative to produce their dribble, connect the dots with other songs like, "Bengali" and the "National Front Disco", and wrapping oneself in your nation's flag - and you have the makings of fodder for the press.

MrShoes

I agree with you. I would say that Bengali and National Front Disco are more ambiguous than this one. This is just a song about gang violence, a theme that is recurrent in the world of Morrissey. Here it comes with a racial twist, but I always thought it reflected a certain reality in English cities around that time. The song also shows empathy with the victim, the Asian boy who lost his very best and only friend. And the accompanying tune is appropriately mournful and sad.
 

born to mourn and yawn

Well-Known Member
Go ahead and grab some popcorn and a pack of Twizzlers, cause when ya listen
to this thing it's kinda like bein' at the pictures.
Moz does a heck of a job of settin' the mood and the scene.
That Asian Boy got stuck in the worst kind of Rut.
If he don't avenge his friends murder, then he's lettin' evil prevail, but at the
same time, avengin' the murder is just addin' to the circle of violence.
Indeed. The atmosphere is very cinematic, but more in a woodcut-like way, like in them old silent movies.
The old cantastoria made use of pictures to illustrate their gruesome tales, and they actually, just as a sidenote, originated in India.
1611338865036.png
 

gordyboy9

its not me its you.
for me bengali is M telling people from other lands dont come here as it is as bad as where you are now.
illegal immigrants get to the scottish border and realise it is f.,.,,, freezing then they turn round and thumb a lift all the way back to londonshire.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The problems start with the title. Rut - used in the sexual meaning, and you know Morrissey is always interested in the sexual side of words. And calling out a person by their race is not cool. As soon as he starts singing "ooo Asian boy" - it's so condescending. Is this a song you would feel comfortable playing for your Asian friends? Embarrassing.
 
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