Amidst all the manic depressive ups and downs of pandemic life music has been one of my biggest highs in recent weeks.
I’ve been wiring it straight into my brain through my newly bought airpods during my thrice-weekly runs and sometimes while I’m gardening.
A few weeks ago, to add a bit of variation to my now over- listened to playlist I thought it was about time I downloaded a few new albums.
Inspired by a rather annoying newspaper review that marvelled at how at the age of 60 Morrissey was still capable of producing great music I downloaded his new album ‘I’m not a dog on a chain’.
I enjoyed the album so much I started to explore Morrissey’s back catalogue and found, amongst it all, on his 2014 album ‘World Peace is None of Your Business’ the greatest pop song of all-time.
Called ‘Staircase at the University’, it’s a typical Morrissey mix of depressing lyrics – about an over-pressurised student’s gruesome suicide – set incongruously to the most wonderful uplifting music.
It kicks off with a piercing whistle before you get carried along by Morrissey’s beautiful baritone voice. He’s surely one of the few male pop singers = with a genuinely great voice, the way he sings “smile in a while” in the song’s opening lines gives me goose-bumps.
It builds with a brass accompaniment before he sings these extraordinary staccato lyrics:
Crammin’, jammin’, pack-em-in rammin’
Chock-a-block box, power study, polish up
And if it breaks your heart then don’t come running to me
They herald the start of the two finest minutes of pop music where I defy anyone not to feel up-lifted. I just can’t help singing these words at the top of voice when I’m breathlessly running and can’t help dancing to them as I jet-wash the patio!
The song climaxes with the most beautiful passage of flamenco guitar music before a burst of rhythmic clapping takes you through to the screeching end of the song where I feel down that it’s over.
Never released as a single, this song feels like my own discovery. I must have played it on repeat dozens of times and am still showing no sign of tiring of it. You’ve got to give it a listen.