Morrissey has debuted new song ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’ – a track he says is about “England’s 9/11”, the Manchester Arena bombing.
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On May 22 in 2017, 22 people died and hundreds were injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the foyer at the venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. In the wake of the tragedy, Oasis‘ single ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ became an anthem of love and solidarity for many in the city.
Grande and Coldplay famously covered the track together at the One Love Manchester tribute show, Noel Gallagher and U2 also played it in memory of the victims (with Noel also being joined by Johnny Marr for a performance of the song on the first anniversary of the bombing) as did Courteeners when they played an emotional homecoming show at Manchester’s LCCC Old Trafford cricket ground shortly after the attack, with Metallica also performing a rendition in tribute since, along with many others.
Noel Gallagher also vowed to donate royalties from the song to help the families of victims, before Liam followed suit.
Now, fellow Mancunian Morrissey has addressed the attack, airing the title track of his upcoming album during his current Las Vegas residency.
“This song is new, it’s about England’s 9/11,” he told the crowd last week before performing the track. “Obviously in jolly old England, most people won’t talk about it – but I will.”
The lyrics of the song start with “Bonfire of Teenagers, which is so high in May north-west sky – Oh, you should’ve seen her leave for the arena – On the way, she turned and waved and smiled: ‘Goodbye’.” The lyrics then turn to the adoption of Oasis’ track, when Morrissey notes: “And the silly people sing ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, And the morons sing and sway: ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, I can assure you I will look back in anger ’till the day I die.”
The lyrics then go on to describe the female fan attending the arena in the song as being “vaporised“, before ending on the repeated line “Go easy on the killer“.
A number of Morrissey fans online have dubbed the track “powerful”, while others have taken issue with the nature of the lyrics.
Writer Fiona Dodwell posted: “Morrissey expresses anger at the many innocent lives lost and even that is twisted and criticised by some. I’m more perplexed by those who DON’T understand his feelings on this.”
Photographer Kevin Cummins replied: “I feel the issue here is calling the people of Manchester ‘silly’ and ‘morons’ when they were grieving. I don’t live in Manchester, but I fail to see how a natural outpouring of grief should be criticised.”
I feel the issue here is calling the people of Manchester ‘silly’ and ‘morons’ when they were grieving. I don’t live in Manchester, but I fail to see how a natural outpouring of grief should be criticised.
— Kevin Cummins (@KCMANC) July 4, 2022
The Vegas gig also saw Morrissey debut new songs ‘Rebels Without Applause’, ‘Sure Enough, The Telephone Rings’, ‘My Hurling Days Are Done’, and ‘I Live In Oblivion’.
Introducing the latter, he told the crowd: “This passion play that you call life – when you come to the end, you will either be shoved in a hospice, shoved in a home, or at the mercy of the NHS; which is a fate worse than life.”
Earlier this month, Morrissey played the first night of his 2022 US tour and debuted his new single ‘I Am Veronica’ as well as airing some rarely performed solo and Smiths tracks. New album ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’ will be Morrissey’s album first since leaving his label deal with BMG, when he announced that it would be sold to the highest record label bidder.
Announced via the singer’s website, ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’ has 11 tracks and was completed in Los Angeles.
A war of words erupted earlier this year between Morrissey and his former Smiths bandmate Johnny Marr when the singer asked Marr to stop mentioning him when giving interviews in an open letter posted on his website. Marr then replied: “An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953, It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business… a bit 2021 yeah?”
The former Smiths frontman also attracted controversy last year when he referred to the coronavirus pandemic as “Con-vid” in an interview, while appearing to agree with his nephew Sam Esty Rayner that “‘COVID society’ is also the precise description of slavery”.
Morrissey is set to tour the UK from September through to October.