Morrissey A-Z: "Children in Pieces"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member


The song up for discussion today is "Children in Pieces" - a b-side from 2008 and scooped up on to the Swords compilation as well.

What do we think of this one?
 
J

Janice

Guest
It’s got better over time, I think. A grower, rather than a shower. 7/10
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Interesting the way the first bit tells us about the abuse in industrial schools, and the second bit is someone in authority telling a child he won't help.

It's very noisy.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
I guess it must be down to Morrissey's contrarian nature that he chose this piece of music to use for a song about child abuse. It's possibly the oddest blend of lyrics/music in his career and he is firmly to blame with this one.

Jesse's music is no work of genius, but with the right subject matter it might have been a reasonably enjoyable semi-punky track.

It's certainly a good thing that Jesse's songwriting has since significantly diversified, though.

In the poll on the other board it ranked 227 from 264 solo songs.

Thankfully tomorrow's b-side is far superior...
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
Interesting the way the first bit tells us about the abuse in industrial schools, and the second bit is someone in authority telling a child he won't help.

It's very noisy.
Is the second part of the lyrics sung from his perspective, or does he merely put himself in the shoes of the parent (perhaps his own father)? The latter would make more sense to me. But yeah, very dark stuff here.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Is the second part of the lyrics sung from his perspective, or does he merely put himself in the shoes of the parent (perhaps his own father)? The latter would make more sense to me. But yeah, very dark stuff here.

It could be a parent, or the bishop... anyone who could send the kid home or leave it alone.

Rare case of him swearing in a song.
 
A

Anonymoos

Guest
Love it - one of Jese's better efforts, and the lyrical twist gives it a nice edge. 8/10
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
A song I never play on its own, although I like the music. The guitar solo towards the end is nice and I like the eerie backwards vocals and music box outro as well. No idea why there's camera shutter samples at the beginning though.

It's really the somewhat uncertain vocal melody that bothers me. Given that they'd already been working on the song during the Ringleader sessions you'd think he'd have had time to come up with something more substantial.
The subject matter is interesting but the lyric is lacking something, in my opinion. The only lines that really grip me are these:

But instead of sympathy I find
My sentimental heart hardens


A sidenote worth mentioning is that the song was engineered by one "Joe Chicarrelli", who I assume to be Joe Chiccarelli, who of course went on to produce Morrissey's last four albums.

ChildrenInPiecesCredits.jpeg



People who don't like distorted guitars will surely disagree but I find the original instrumental demo quite enjoyable.

 

Verso

Well-Known Member
People who don't like distorted guitars will surely disagree but I find the original instrumental demo quite enjoyable.

Wow, never heard this instrumental version before. You can really hear how much of it is lifted from Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears" and coincidentally enough The Cure's "Boy's Don't Cry." As a demo, it sounds pretty promising but the finished product is just no good for me. Morrissey never finds his footing, which I sadly find to a be a common issue with a lot of what Jesse writes for him.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
The esteemed Gustavo Santaolalla is an intresting part of this (besides the Catholicism theme continuing).
I'd love to know what he contributed to both My Dearest Love & this track.
We never did get the tango track he asked Morrissey to sing on either 🤔
Regards,
FWD.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Wow, never heard this instrumental version before. You can really hear how much of it is lifted from Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears" and coincidentally enough The Cure's "Boy's Don't Cry." As a demo, it sounds pretty promising but the finished product is just no good for me. Morrissey never finds his footing, which I sadly find to a be a common issue with a lot of what Jesse writes for him.
Morrissey obviously liked the different sound Jesse brought to the band (something I generally agree with), which is not surprising, looking at his own musical reference points.

It seems Morrissey actively tried to adjust his own writing to fit that sound but didn't always succeed. Especially at the beginning it often lead to rather tuneless vocal efforts.
I always thought that to some extent it might be a communication problem, as other co-songwriters have mentioned that he often struggles to verbalise his own ideas and wishes. Or just a lack of adaptability on his end.
Personally, I think their songwriting partnership has benefitted from working with Chiccarelli.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
Is the second part of the lyrics sung from his perspective, or does he merely put himself in the shoes of the parent (perhaps his own father)? The latter would make more sense to me. But yeah, very dark stuff here.
My take is that the song tries to point out how systematic abuse hardens everyone involved. That's why the narrator in the second verse finds him/herself turning on the kid instead of helping him, which is his/her first impulse.

Anyway, I do like this. The sound is more Pixies / shoegaze kind of noise instead of the chug rock that ruled this period. It sounds a bit unfinished, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for a b-side.
 
A

Anonymoos

Guest
Am I misremembering, or did that instrumental demo actually leak long before the finished song itself emerged? I like the finished song, but I remember some people being disappointed that Morrissey didn't provide a 'better' lyric/vocal.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Am I misremembering, or did that instrumental demo actually leak long before the finished song itself emerged? I like the finished song, but I remember some people being disappointed that Morrissey didn't provide a 'better' lyric/vocal.
Leaked circa 2006.
A couple of years prior to the All You Need Is Me single.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
Am I misremembering, or did that instrumental demo actually leak long before the finished song itself emerged? I like the finished song, but I remember some people being disappointed that Morrissey didn't provide a 'better' lyric/vocal.
Improving things is not really Morrissey's thing. He writes what he writes and then sings it, no rewriting and only rarely several takes. Sometimes that works, but often things sound unfinished because of that.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Typically chuggy meat-and-potatoes rock àla mid-to-late 00’s Jesse - but it works! It’s crunchy as f*** and with a lot punk and spunk to it. Mozzer’s lyrics and vocal melody aren’t half bad either.

Man, I’ve said it before, but remember when the Jesse Tobias chug rock was the worst we could expect from Moz? Somewhere in California, Gustavo Manzur must’ve said ‘hold my beer!’ We didn’t know how lucky we were.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Typically chuggy meat-and-potatoes rock àla mid-to-late 00’s Jesse - but it works! It’s crunchy as f*** and with a lot punk and spunk to it. Mozzer’s lyrics and vocal melody aren’t half bad either.

Man, I’ve said it before, but remember when the Jesse Tobias chug rock was the worst we could expect from Moz? Somewhere in California, Gustavo Manzur must’ve said ‘hold my beer!’ We didn’t know how lucky we were.
Gustavo is actually from Austin, I think.
Your profound dislike for the guy is quite remarkable. 😅
 
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