Title: Kill Uncle
Musicians: Morrissey – vocals, Mark E. Nevin – guitar, Mark Bedford – bass guitar
Andrew Paresi – percussion, drums, Seamus Beaghen – keyboards, Steven Heart – keyboards, Nawazish Ali Khan – violin, John Deacon – bass guitar (tracks 2, 4 and 8)
Linder Sterling – background vocals
Producer: Alan Winstanley and Clive Langer
Kill Uncle is the second solo studio album by English singer Morrissey. It is generally considered Morrissey’s most unconventional album, probably due to its mature torch song (“There Is a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends”) aspects combined with quirky music and lyrics that range from ironic and tongue-in-cheek to some of his more introspective.
Kill Uncle was recorded when Morrissey was in a transitional phase. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Uncle
1. “Our Frank” – On “Our Frank”, Morrissey’s lyrics describe “frank and open, deep conversations” that get him nowhere and leave him disheartened.The song features some uncharacteristic production for the singer, with Morrissey’s voice being overdubbed and echoed. The bass line is also interesting.
2. “Asian Rut” – I find this track as one of the worst on the CD. The music itself is disturbing, but it must be pointed out that it was supposed to be. I first thought that it was a quasi racist song, but I found out that while the song does indeed deal with racism, it is actually against racism. It turns out “Asian Rut” is a tale about the murder of an Asian by three English boys in which Morrissey’s vocals are backed only by strings and bass, plus sound effects, lending an eerie quality to the somber narrative. The song continues the tradition of Morrissey examining English racism from a unique angle. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Uncle
3. “Sing Your Life” – This is one of the better songs on the CD with a subtle rockabilly flavor. The strings from the first two tracks are present in the song as well, and they rise and fall in a fashion similar to “Our Frank”. The song has Morrissey instructing the listener on how to make a song, as he sings, “Walk right up to the microphone and name all the things you love, all the things you loathe.” Ironically enough, a rockabilly version of the song also exists, recorded live at KROQ in Los Angeles.
4. “Mute Witness” – “Mute Witness”, the fourth track, features piano backing composed by Clive Langer. The song is a somewhat farcical tale of an attempt to get information out of a witness who cannot speak at a trial.
5. “King Leer” – The upright acoustic bass carries this song, which is kind of a silly song with its use of puns.
6. “Found Found Found” Langer – “Found Found Found”, another Langer track, is the only heavy song on the album. I’m all about heavier songs, but this one is not all that good in my opinion especially when you add over-compressed dirty bass.
7. “Driving Your Girlfriend Home” – In this ballad, Morrissey tells of how he’s driving the girlfriend of one of his friend’s home. He reveals that she asks him, “‘How did I end up so deeply involved in the very existence I planned on avoiding?'” and that “She’s laughing to stop herself crying.” These outpourings are interspersed with driving instructions, and Morrissey tells us, “I can’t tell her” what he feels about her and that the ride concludes with them “shaking hands goodnight so politely.” In a surprise twist of fate, I can realistically relate to this song. Too bad the music is somewhat annoying and strange in my opinion.
8. “The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye” – This often cited as Morrissey’s most misunderstood song ever recorded. I find this song to sound like a track to a horror film about evil clowns (clowns are evil anyway). It turns out that the lyrics are describing the “pain because of the strain of smiling” and the dichotomy between one’s public image and private personality. The music consists of a carnival-like synthesizer and features sound effects like that of a door slamming and a camera lens snapping, along with piano accompaniment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Uncle
9. “(I’m) The End of the Family Line” – This song sounds like the same structure as the previous one and just as depressing. The singer rues that he will never have children, an insult into the “fifteen generations … of mine” that produced him.
10. “There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends” – This is just a terrible sounding song in my opinion.
11. “Tony the Pony” – This song is only on the US version of the album. While it is more upbeat, it is equally stupid.