Southpaw Grammar

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Southpaw Grammar
Studio album by Morrissey
Released 28 August 1995
Recorded March–April 1995
Genre Alternative rock, art rock[1]
Length 47:50
Label RCA
Producer Steve Lillywhite
Morrissey chronology
Vauxhall and I
(1994)
Southpaw Grammar
(1995)
Maladjusted
(1997)
2009 re-release cover
Singles from Southpaw Grammar
  1. "Dagenham Dave"
    Released: 21 August 1995
  2. "The Boy Racer"
    Released: 27 November 1995

Southpaw Grammar is the fifth studio album by English alternative rock musician Morrissey. It was released on 28 August 1995 through RCA Records in the UK and Reprise Records in the US, and charted at number 4 in the UK and number 66 in the US. The singles lifted from the album were "Dagenham Dave" (which reached number 26 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1995) and "The Boy Racer" (which reached number 36 in October).

Background[edit]

The nature of the album is different from past Morrissey releases, such as the inclusion of two tracks which surpass the ten-minute mark, the near two-and-a-half-minute drum solo courtesy of Spencer Cobrin which opens the track "The Operation" and the sampling of a Shostakovich1 symphony. AllMusic described it as "[Morrissey's] art rock album, complete with strings, drum solos, and two ten-minute songs."[1]

According to Morrissey himself, the title refers to "the school of hard knocks";[citation needed] that is, boxing (a southpaw being slang for a boxing left-hander and grammar a reference to British grammar schools). Another reference to boxing is the original cover photo, a photo of boxer Kenny Lane taken from the April 1963 issue of boxing magazine The Ring.

Release[edit]

Southpaw Grammar was released on 28 August 1995 through RCA Records in the UK and Reprise Records in the US. The album charted at number 4 in the UK and number 66 in the US. On its release Southpaw Grammar was an eyebrow-raiser for fans and critics alike.

The singles released from the album were "Dagenham Dave", which reached number 26 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1995, and "The Boy Racer", which reached number 36 in the UK Singles Chart in October.

On 27 April 2009 Sony BMG released a remastered version of Southpaw Grammar in the UK. This version included three previously unreleased tracks, "Honey, You Know Where to Find Me", "You Should Have Been Nice to Me" and "Fantastic Bird" (the last of which dates from the Your Arsenal sessions) as well as a single B-side "Nobody Loves Us" and new artwork by Anthony Lui, including previously unseen photographs by Linder Sterling, closer to Morrissey's vision. The digital version from iTunes Store adds live versions of "London" and "Billy Budd", recorded in London.[2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 2.5/5 stars[3]
Drowned in Sound 7/10 (reissue)[4]
Los Angeles Times ***[5]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[6]
Spin 8/10[7]
Stereogum very favourable[8]
Uncut 4/10[9]

The critical reception to Southpaw Grammar was mixed.

Rolling Stone qualified it as "[Morrissey's] most powerful solo outing to date".[6] The Los Angeles Times described it as "the most musically dynamic album from the Messiah of Moans since he revitalized British rock with The Smiths in the mid-'80s".[5] Stereogum named it as Morrissey's "peak" and "quintessential document".[8]

According to Uncut magazine: "On its release, Southpaw Grammar seemed to be the point where the Great British Public officially fell out of love with Morrissey. The casual Smiths fan had all but lost interest while even the scary Moz obsessives were a little puzzled."[9] Drowned in Sound wrote "Southpaw Grammar is in some ways the most daring thing the ex-Smith has ever put his name to... [...] At the same time it's also pretty craven, in that it dilutes the impact of its three key tracks – 'The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils', 'The Operation' and 'Southpaw', dark, sprawling semi-instrumentals dominated by the remarkable drumming of Spencer James Cobrin – with lightweight fluff like 'Dagenham Dave' and 'The Boy Racer'."[4]

Q magazine listed it as one of the top 50 albums of 1995.[10]

Musical style[edit]

Spin magazine described the album's musical style as "[differing] from the crushed flowers studio formalisations of last year's Vauxhall and I, building instead on the earlier Your Arsenal, Morrissey's sly, unexpected blending of rockabilly and glam."[7]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils" (features Fifth Symphony sample) Morrissey, Boz Boorer 11:15
2. "Reader Meet Author"   Morrissey, Boorer 3:39
3. "The Boy Racer"   Morrissey, Alain Whyte 4:55
4. "The Operation"   Morrissey, Whyte 6:52
5. "Dagenham Dave"   Morrissey, Whyte 3:13
6. "Do Your Best and Don't Worry"   Morrissey, Whyte 4:05
7. "Best Friend on the Payroll"   Morrissey, Whyte 3:48
8. "Southpaw"   Morrissey, Whyte 10:03
2009 Expanded Edition version
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Boy Racer"   Morrissey, Whyte 4:55
2. "Do Your Best and Don't Worry"   Morrissey, Whyte 4:05
3. "Reader Meet Author"   Morrissey, Boorer 3:39
4. "Honey, You Know Where to Find Me"   Morrissey, Boorer 2:55
5. "Dagenham Dave"   Morrissey, Whyte 3:13
6. "Southpaw"   Morrissey, Whyte 10:03
7. "Best Friend on the Payroll"   Morrissey, Whyte 3:48
8. "Fantastic Bird"   Morrissey, Whyte 2:53
9. "The Operation"   Morrissey, Whyte 6:52
10. "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils" (features Fifth Symphony sample) Morrissey, Boorer 11:15
11. "You Should Have Been Nice to Me"   Morrissey, Boorer 3:35
12. "Nobody Loves Us"   Morrissey, Whyte 4:50

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Southpaw Grammar – Morrissey | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Years of Refusal: New Album Information; Southpaw Grammar: Remastered Version Details; Ireland Festival and Concert Dates | True to You". True to You. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Webber, Brad (7 December 1995). "Morrissey Southpaw Grammar (Reprise) (star) (star...". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 December 1995. 
  4. ^ a b Lukowski, Andrzej (29 April 2009). "Morrissey: Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted (Expanded Editions) / In Depth // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Cromelin, Richard (16 September 1995). "Album Reviews : Morrissey's Essence Remains the Same : ***, Morrissey,"Southpaw Grammar", Reprise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Weisel, Al (5 October 1995). "Morrissey Southpaw Grammar Album Review | Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Hunter, James (November 1995). "Records". Spin. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Schoup, Brad (10 December 2013). "Morrissey Albums from Worst to Best Southpaw Grammar (1995) – Stereogum". Stereogum. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Morrissey – Southpaw Grammar/ Maladjusted – Uncut.co.uk". Uncut. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Rocklist.net...Q magazine Recordings of the Year". Rocklist.net. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 

External links[edit]