Ringleader of the Tormentors

I have the new album.

It’s playing right now.

I am swooning.

Last night, when Mr. Shakes came home, he pulled the beautiful thing out of his jacket and handed it to me, and that’s when the ritual began. I slowly pulled off the cellophane and annoying stickers, and then held it in my hands, looking at the cover, looking at the track list. Then I opened it, breathed in the magical air—that particular scent of a new CD. And then I slipped out the liner notes, the lyrics. The grail.

It’s been exceedingly difficult to avoid reading any of the lyrics in advance this time around, since the reviews have been fantastic, which means lots of quotes. I always read advance reviews, but I try to skip the bits with excerpted lyrics, because those are, with Morrissey, the best part.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On the back page of the liner notes, is a picture of Mozza sitting on his powder blue Vespa, fiddling with an ancient camera. He’s leaning against a stone wall, upon which is scrawled in black graffiti: Smash Bush. That’s when the panting began. The CD went in the player.

Twelve tracks washed over me like the ocean. Now I’m spreading your legs / with mine in between / dear God… Retrousse nose / turned up and mischievous / forget-me-not eyes / that cried if we left his side… It’s the same old SOS / but with brand new broken fortunes / I am the same underneath / but this you, you surely knew? / Life is a pigsty… Streets of wet-black holes / on roads that you can never know / You can never have them / but they always have you… At last I am born / vulgarians know / I am finally born / I once thought that time accentuates despair / but now I don’t actually care / because I am born, born born…

Now I know, in the future (when all’s well), when I look back at this time, what music will accompany my memory. It is the music of strings arranged by Ennio Morricone, of an Italian children’s choir directed by Rosella Ruini, of production by Tony Visconti. They are songs that look at the state of the world, which looks hopeless, but sound hopeful nonetheless.

Which is, as it happens, exactly how I feel.

I live the life
I feel the pain
To sing the song
To tell the tale…

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