Morrissey is arguably the greatest disturbance popular music has ever known. Even more than the choreographed carelessness of punk and the hyperbolic gestures of glam rock and the New Romantics, Morrissey’s early bookish ineptitude, his celebration of the ordinary, and his subversive endorsement of celibacy, abstinence and rock ‘n’ roll revolutionized the world of British pop. As a solo artist, too, he consistently adopts the outsider’s perspective and dares us to confront uncomfortable subjects. In his brilliant book, Gavin Hopps examines the work of this compelling performer, whose intelligence, humour, suffering and awkwardness have fascinated audiences around the world for the last 25 years.
Hopps traces the trajectory of Morrissey’s career and outlines the contours and contradictions of the singer’s elusive persona. The book illuminates Morrissey’s coyness (how can he remain a mystery when he tells us too much?), his dramatized melancholy (surely more of a radical existential protest than the gimmick some believe it to be), and his complex attitudes towards loneliness and alienation, as well as his intriguing sense of the religious.