Morrissey's memoir, "Autobiography," is out in the United Kingdom -- and other publications have tasked British correspondents with summarizing its startling contents. While the Daily Beast assigned someone to run through the 457 pages encompassing the life of the embattled, dramatic and turbulently gifted singer/songwriter, we've come up with something more pleasurable: finding a song to pair with some of the revelations the Daily Beast pried out of the book.
- Morrissey had a two-year romance with a man: The love affair brightened up Morrissey's music and his life, for a time; because of Morrissey's integrating the love into his work -- including his book! -- we're pairing it with "To Me You Are a Work of Art," off 2006's "Ringleader of the Tormentors." The romance eventually ended; it's easier for Moz to love art than another person.
- Morrissey and Chrissie Hynde love trolling strangers who approach them. Hynde yells at strangers who criticize her and bites a dog (?) -- not everyone understands her, but Morrissey loves her company, unlike that of so many people. We suggest "The World Is Full of Crashing Bores" off 2004's "You Are the Quarry" -- proof that Morrissey's approval is hard-won.
- Morrissey's hatred of the media is not exactly a shocking revelation, but apparently it's all over the book; he complains about the headlines on articles about him, in particular. And one of his greatest songs (speaking subjectively) deals obliquely with "rumors" in the press but suggests that it's the framing, not the story itself, that's at fault: "Speedway," off 1994's "Vauxhall and I."
- But some of the press is particularly hated -- Morrissey's feud with an NME journalist gets particular play. One Julie Burchill comes in for mockery for her bodily appearance. Poor Burchill. But like any argumentative troll (he is!), Morrissey refuses to apologize, as elaborated in the song "I'm Not Sorry," from "You Are the Quarry.
- Morrissey slept over with a close male friend in his youth, a relationship (charged if sexless) suffused with the sort of ardency that is dealt with perfectly in the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" off the 1985 album "The Queen Is Dead." The song is an anthem of finding love amid disaffection.
- Morrissey's battle with his record label is, unlike young love or even the uncontrollable anger provoked by a feud, just unrelatable to any reader who's not in the recording industry. How can anybody possibly know how he feels? He addressed his remove from society in "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" from "You Are the Quarry."
- Morrissey turned down an offer to appear on "Friends," disgusted by the venality of the producer asking him to sing in a "depressing" manner. Not to go back to the "You Are the Quarry" well, but an angrily reflective book suits the 2004 Moz mood. American TV didn't suit him -- unsurprising given his stated belief that "America Is Not the World."
- Morrissey writes about his youthful thoughts of suicide -- a melancholy that still colors Morrissey's work, as in "That's How People Grow Up," from 2009's "Years of Refusal."
In "That's How People Grow Up," Morrissey describes his difficult upbringing as having provided him a certain fortitude. In many of his later songs, that strength of character curdles into a everyone-but-me-is-a-fool oppositional mentality -- as evidenced by some of the book's reported issues of tone and debates. Until the book comes out in the U.S., we're happy sticking to some of his earlier work.