Thursday, November 26, 2009

#3 Morrissey


Maybe Chicanos were EMO before EMO was trendy. But there is something to the lyrics of Morrissey that gets Chicanos all riled up. And by riled up, I really mean Emo’d out.

If you really want to understand Chicano culture, learn the lyrics to this popular Morrissey song, visit an 80’s club, and wave your body around feeling the music. Don’t forget to close your eyes.


I am the son, I am the heir,
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar,
I am the son and heir,
Of nothing in particular,

You shut your mouth
how can you say,
I go about things the wrong way,
I am human and I need to be loved,
just like everybody else does.


If someone asks you why you love Morrissey, say that “he is bad ass, because he loves Mexicans, he said so at a concert in Mexico.” Furthermore, Morrissey, has been vetted by another Chicano favorite, Ask A Mexican’s Gustavo Arellano who claims that:

His trembling falsetto brings to mind the rich, sad voice of Pedro Infante, while his effeminate stage presence makes him a UK version of Juan Gabriel. As in ranchera, Morrissey's lyrics rely on ambiguity, powerful imagery and metaphors. Thematically, the idealization of a simpler life and a rejection of all things bourgeois come from a populist impulse common to ranchera.


While that sounds mighty theoretical and philosophical, Chicanos have deep seeded melancholy feelings of belonging that derive from various sources, being disconnected to either the U.S. or Mexico, living in a space of in-between, not sure of where they belong, etc., much like the lyrics of many of Morrissey’s songs that deal with identity crisis’ and girlfriends in a comma.


Iconically, Morrissey also looks like a bad ass greaser; a genre that has situated Chicanos to an embraced working class, flannel shirt, dark denim jean wearing, pompadour sporting identity.


Next time you download a CD to your iPod, make sure that you differentiate Morrissey from The Smiths, because that is a whole different music complexity that will surely loose you any brown beret points if you dare get them confused. Whatever you do, don’t bring up objectification, class or the difference in Mexicans from Mexico and Mexicans from the U.S. (Los Angeles in particular) and say that Morrissey likes Mexicans because they have great hair, are terribly nice, and have nice skin, all of which combined, are great… per Morrissey.


2 comments:

Moon said...

Yea, I like Morrissey too...I have all his CD's by that I mean The Smith's greatest Hits one. I once knew a guy, a Chicano guy, who said he has never felt for a man what he feels for Morissey....I dont know if that had anything to do with him being Chicano but I just leave it at that.

Wendy Carrillo said...

"he has never felt for a man what he feels for Morissey" - yes, that is a typical non-gay (riiiight) emotion from Chicano males towards Morrissey. Further study is needed.