Morrissey A-Z: "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?"

Mike Rourke

Active Member
Nah, he was the right producer. The success of the album proves that.
Not really. In the early 2000s, before Quarry was recorded, a number of new songs were previewed. It was clear that two of these songs (Irish Blood and, in particular, First of the Gang) were much better than the others. They hadn't been 'produced' by anyone at that point.
When the album finally came out, these two songs were still easily the best, but not really much better or worse than their live previews from a few years earlier.
Producers can affect things a little but not that much. If they're given great songs, it'll be a great album - if they're given mediocre songs, it'll be a mediocre album.
This song (How can anybody know) is pretty awful - First of the Gang on the other hand is brilliant. They were both produced by Finn. The difference is that one is a great song and one's a bit rubbish.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
Not really. In the early 2000s, before Quarry was recorded, a number of new songs were previewed. It was clear that two of these songs (Irish Blood and, in particular, First of the Gang) were much better than the others. They hadn't been 'produced' by anyone at that point.
When the album finally came out, these two songs were still easily the best, but not really much better or worse than their live previews from a few years earlier.
Producers can affect things a little but not that much. If they're given great songs, it'll be a great album - if they're given mediocre songs, it'll be a mediocre album.
This song (How can anybody know) is pretty awful - First of the Gang on the other hand is brilliant. They were both produced by Finn. The difference is that one is a great song and one's a bit rubbish.

If Irish Blood and First of the Gang emerged unchanged on the album, and retained their strength as a result, then you can also argue that Jerry Finn was a good producer because he was able to recognize when something was really good, in which case you don't change a winning horse. Remember, when Art-hounds was reviewed here, several people argued that the live version from 2012 was stronger than the recorded version. I personally preferred the live version of All The Young People to the album version. So it can be worse.

It may well be that in the case of Morrissey's music, some producers were hired to help the band perfect their sound (YA and V&I come to my mind) or expand their sound (Visconti, Joe C.) but I find it hard to know for certain.

I do agree with you that, when songs are really good or artists have a strong identity of their own, producers can only make a marginal difference.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Not really. In the early 2000s, before Quarry was recorded, a number of new songs were previewed. It was clear that two of these songs (Irish Blood and, in particular, First of the Gang) were much better than the others. They hadn't been 'produced' by anyone at that point.
When the album finally came out, these two songs were still easily the best, but not really much better or worse than their live previews from a few years earlier.
Producers can affect things a little but not that much. If they're given great songs, it'll be a great album - if they're given mediocre songs, it'll be a mediocre album.
This song (How can anybody know) is pretty awful - First of the Gang on the other hand is brilliant. They were both produced by Finn. The difference is that one is a great song and one's a bit rubbish.
I don't think anyone suggested that a producer will take a terrible song and make it great.

But I also don't remember anyone suggesting back in 2002 that, good as they were, those two songs were guaranteed to become two of the biggest hits of Morrissey's entire career. The arrangement for Irish Blood, English Heart didn't change much, but the sound of it was subtly influenced by the producer. I think it would be difficult for anyone to argue that another producer would have caused that song or the album to have become more successful than they were.

Anyhow, we can talk about how much the producer influenced individual songs again very soon when I'm Not Sorry is discussed...
 
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Ketamine Sun

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I don't think anyone suggested that a producer will take a terrible song and make it great.
But I also don't remember anyone suggesting back in 2002 that, good as they were, those two songs were guaranteed to become two of the biggest hits of Morrissey's entire career.

The arrangement for Irish Blood, English Heart didn't change much, but the sound of it was subtly influenced by the producer.

Yes, almost any producer may have a subtle or great influence on the sound of the project they’re working on, for better or for worse.
I think it would be difficult for anyone to argue that another producer would have caused that song or the album to have become more successful than they were.

Maybe in some parallel universe YATQ was produced by a different producer and so reached higher chart success.

Kidding aside, Quarry was successful in the charts, but it’s not only me that feels it’s not such a successfully sounding album, so it’s not really the success it could have been. Maybe another producer could have steered the album in a better direction, we’ll never know.

I would have preferred a better sounding album and less success in the charts, but I’m guessing that Morrissey wouldn’t. Lol.

Anyhow, we can talk about how much the producer influenced individual songs again very soon when I'm Not Sorry is discussed...

Yes, there are some songs that survive better than others.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
People saying Morrissey was playing it safe with Quarry and creating an album full of sure things are missing the fact that the first song on the record is "America Is Not The World."
 

JJKelsall

Member
I liked this a lot more when I was a teenager and first heard it. For me, the lyrics haven't aged very well. Still brings a little smile with some of the lines but not something I listen to outside of listening to the whole album these days.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
People saying Morrissey was playing it safe with Quarry and creating an album full of sure things are missing the fact that the first song on the record is "America Is Not The World."
It was a statement that was scarcely going to challenge his target audience. Was it?
 
I may consider this Morrissey's worst song. Tuneless, just not inspired at all. No melody, generic music. I have no idea how this isn't a b-side and some of those great b-sides didn't end up on the album.

Morrissey's style of songwriting is very peculiar, being presented with a sort of finished song and then throwing vocals on top. Often the songs don't feel that way though, they feel so cohesive, or to be dramatic, they feel magical. But this one actually sounds like his band threw him a throwaway track and he just improvised some spoken word ranting on top. It really feels lazy to me and I am usually a big defender for Morrissey's more modern era of music.

I think this could have been great if he just thought of a good melody.
 
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