Morrissey A-Z: "(The) Never Played Symphonies"

M

Mongoose Juice 2

Guest
"The Never Played Symphonies"

"Reflecting from my deathbed
I'm balancing life's riches against the ditches
and the flat gray years in between
All I can see are the never-laid
That's the never-played symphonies"

As Morrissey is facing death after a long and amazing life he is weighing up the successes he has had with the miseries he suffered before (and during) his success. But despite the highs and lows the only thing he is drawn to are the songs that he hasn't written - the ideas and works in progress that one day he wanted to arrange and perform but which will never be recorded or heard except in his mind.

"I can't see those who tried to love me
All those who felt they understood me
and I can't see those who very patiently put up with me
All I can see are the never-laid
Or the never-played symphonies"

During this evaluation of his life he is not concerned about his family, friends or loved ones. All the people who admired him - fans, colleagues, confidants etc - who tried to get close to him over the years mean nothing. All he can think about are the songs he wanted to write.

"You were one, you meant to be one
and you jumped into my face and laughed
and kissed me on the cheek and then were gone forever
...not quite"

One of the songs he wanted to complete was about a fan who broke through his security and managed to kiss him before bring whisked away. Out of the thousands of adoring fans who try to get near to him year in year out, the few seconds of this one cheerful fan remained in his memory. His tribute to the fan is this song. "Gone forever … not quite" meaning that the fan has been immortalised in this song.

"Black sky in the daytime
and I don't much mind dying
When there is nothing left to care for anymore
Just the never-laid, the never-played symphonies"

As the end approaches and blindness takes over, he is at ease and has no fear of death. All the things he cared for when he was alive he no longer has to care for as his life is ending, and so he doesn't. But even slipping from this mortal coil doesn't stop him from thinking about the songs he will never write.

"You were one, you knew you were one
and you slipped right through my fingers
No not literally but metaphorically
and now you're all I see as the light fades"

Particularly, he is thinking about the song he wanted to write about this one fan. He even comes up with a cheeky euphemism which he would have used in the song… And when he finally dies his last thought is with this one fan and the song under construction which will never be heard (Not quite, indeed).

In this song he is telling us that his music and the effect it has on people who it touches is the most important thing in his life - more so even than the legions of people who adore him and those who have entered his personal life. The song has an abstract quality in that the song itself is one that he will be wishing he had the time to write on his deathbed.

Not a bad tune, Moz. Not bad at all.
 

crotty32

Active Member
Brilliant track,every time I compile a top twenty a song like this comes along and just shows it is impossible to do.I love the sparseness of the accompaniment.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
Great track that substitutes rock guitars for delicate piano and displays one of Moz’s most tender vocal deliveries. As opposed to the score-settling of Quarry, this song displays a more wistful looking back, not unlike the atmosphere that permeates most of Vauxhall. On the whole, the lyrics do their job and then some, excepting this clunker: “not literally but metaphorically”. But, overall, it doesn’t detract from the rest of the song’s beauty and power. Excellent b-side, could have been an album track in its own right, definitely.
8/10
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
And there it is. My ALL TIME FAVORITE Morrissey song. Number one on my list, every day of the week. That’s all I can hope to say about it, really. Perfection is so hard to analyze. I’ll live and die for this song.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
"The Never Played Symphonies"

"Reflecting from my deathbed
I'm balancing life's riches against the ditches
and the flat gray years in between
All I can see are the never-laid
That's the never-played symphonies"

As Morrissey is facing death after a long and amazing life he is weighing up the successes he has had with the miseries he suffered before (and during) his success. But despite the highs and lows the only thing he is drawn to are the songs that he hasn't written - the ideas and works in progress that one day he wanted to arrange and perform but which will never be recorded or heard except in his mind.

"I can't see those who tried to love me
All those who felt they understood me
and I can't see those who very patiently put up with me
All I can see are the never-laid
Or the never-played symphonies"

During this evaluation of his life he is not concerned about his family, friends or loved ones. All the people who admired him - fans, colleagues, confidants etc - who tried to get close to him over the years mean nothing. All he can think about are the songs he wanted to write.

"You were one, you meant to be one
and you jumped into my face and laughed
and kissed me on the cheek and then were gone forever
...not quite"

One of the songs he wanted to complete was about a fan who broke through his security and managed to kiss him before bring whisked away. Out of the thousands of adoring fans who try to get near to him year in year out, the few seconds of this one cheerful fan remained in his memory. His tribute to the fan is this song. "Gone forever … not quite" meaning that the fan has been immortalised in this song.

"Black sky in the daytime
and I don't much mind dying
When there is nothing left to care for anymore
Just the never-laid, the never-played symphonies"

As the end approaches and blindness takes over, he is at ease and has no fear of death. All the things he cared for when he was alive he no longer has to care for as his life is ending, and so he doesn't. But even slipping from this mortal coil doesn't stop him from thinking about the songs he will never write.

"You were one, you knew you were one
and you slipped right through my fingers
No not literally but metaphorically
and now you're all I see as the light fades"

Particularly, he is thinking about the song he wanted to write about this one fan. He even comes up with a cheeky euphemism which he would have used in the song… And when he finally dies his last thought is with this one fan and the song under construction which will never be heard (Not quite, indeed).

In this song he is telling us that his music and the effect it has on people who it touches is the most important thing in his life - more so even than the legions of people who adore him and those who have entered his personal life. The song has an abstract quality in that the song itself is one that he will be wishing he had the time to write on his deathbed.

Not a bad tune, Moz. Not bad at all.

Oh stop, everyone knows this is about Johnny Marr.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
the previous 5 posts have said everything i could ever say about this song so i wont say anything.
10 never/10 played.vivamozz.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
I hate this one. It represents a type of Morrissey song to me that I just don't like and I think that when he does this type of thing he gets away with murder with the people that think it's really meaningful.
I wouldn't be so harsh but I can see I'm not going to ruin the song's standing so no need to state it carefully.
This, "Friday Mourning," and "My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye" are the type of thing I'm talking about.
"no not literally but metaphorically" makes "in the bar with my head on the bar" and "could it be he's only got one knee' sound like the heights of poetic expression.
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
Wonderful, wonderful song. Would have been a lovely way to open 'Quarry' rather than the turgid, clunking 'America is not the world'.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Like others, I adore this song - and it feels authentic to me. (Plus, perhaps I'm giving Morrissey too much credit here, but I've always thought that the "no not literally but metaphorically" line was a deliberately clunky joke. It makes me smile whenever I hear it, anyway.)
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
but I've always thought that the "no not literally but metaphorically" line was a deliberately clunky joke. It makes me smile whenever I hear it, anyway.)
Likewise! I’m absolutely positive that it’s deliberate. It’s such a funny and quirky line, I actually get goosebumps when he sings it. It’s authentic, just like the entire song (as you put it).
 
I'd love to be contrarian here and tell you that I don't like it, but it's magnificent.

....as the light fades.

First heard in a record shop in Macclesfield, where I can almost never can be found. Bought it instantly (FOTGTD CD single, not the shop)
 

Barking

Well-Known Member
Likewise! I’m absolutely positive that it’s deliberate. It's such a funny and quirky line
Plus, perhaps I'm giving Morrissey too much credit here, but I've always thought that the "no not literally but metaphorically" line was a deliberately clunky joke.
Well, nobody was much amused.
I hate this one.
You're a fascinating canine puzzle.
Oh stop, everyone knows this is about Johnny Marr.
FINALLY!
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Yes, the "no not literally but metaphorically" line is indeed clunky and I remember cringing upon first listen. It may well have been intentional, but this is one of those occasions when Morrissey's attempt at humour is to a song's detriment.

A shame as it is otherwise enjoyable with the vocal and vocal melody particularly impressive.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 101st from 264 solo songs.
 

MrShoes

"Ooo, there's goobers on his bod." - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
This is a song that, after I listen to it, I know I should like it. But for whatever reason it never resonates with me.
 
Tags
morrissey a-z
Top Bottom