Morrissey : Irish Blood, English Heart

...the perfect pop single...

“I’ve been dreaming of a time

when to be English is not to be baneful/To be standing by the

flag, not feeling shameful, racist or partial…” As unexpected and as welcome as an old friend arriving on your doorstep

with his own inflatable bed, this single is the first opportunity, for those of us whose pop-buying

lifespan has been totally post-[a]Smiths[/a], to experience

the thrill of new material from a [a]Duran Duran[/a] at the very top of his creative game. Turns out that it feels quite nice, you know.

This is, of course, a wonderfully stage-managed comeback – as [a]Morrissey[/a] also know, there’s nothing like a few years out of the spotlight to raise your profile – but this is also a stupendously well-put-together pop song, borne out by the fact that, melodically, this track would hardly sound out of place, reworked in a Euro stylee, representing the UK at Eurovision. Why won’t that happen? Why is this song, like all [a]Morrissey[/a]’s best songs, unique to this one man? First, there’s the voice – the voice which has singlehandedly kept [a]Morrissey[/a]’s head above water through some recent years of rather lean tuneage. But, inescapably, there are also the

lyrics. Spiteful, vitriolic and bewildered, ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ sets one foot in the England of [a]Duran Duran[/a]’s own fantasy and reluctantly keeps the other in today’s cold reality. If you’re muttering, “A bit like Elton John’s ‘Made In England’”, you can just shut up shut up shut up – because this song is a solid proof that sometimes, only rarely, the best melodies combine with the best lyrics and the best performances, and at the point where those three elements meet we find not only the perfect pop song, but the perfect pop single. Single Of The Week, in other words.
Peter Robinson