Oooo we are finally at, "At Amber". Can I tell you how much I love this song! So underrated, but always welcome when it pops up on rotation.
Lyrically, its classic Moz. So many potent quotables, from the opening stanza,
I'm calling you from the foyer
Of the Sands Hotel
Where the men and the women
Are acquainted quite well
to his angered telephone companion,
And you, my invalid friend
You slam the receiver when you say
"If I had your limbs for a day
I would steam away"
I even remember listening to the song then actually visiting the Sands hotel in the early 90's. Interestingly enough, I did find it somewhat awful - comparatively to the "new" Vegas strip offerings.
I always felt it was a sound from a time when Morrissey was expressly himself. A song to wrap myself around in, and remind myself of simpler times when Morrisey was in his ascendency as an artist and less complicated in his views/actions.
And in his usual odd way makes a fair point, invisible disabilities can be just as limiting as visible ones when society isn't geared to accommodate them... in some ways they're worse because its assumed the person is being difficult or useless deliberately.
I love this song from its sliding/shifting music to the lyrics and there phrasing. It’s amusing the formality of the language mixed with the subject matter. A sort of pomp on the surface with anxiety swimming underneath. Very morrissey
I love this song. The theme of other people enjoying themselves while Morrissey observes from the outside is fairly common (Pretty Girls Make Graves, Rubber Ring, etc.) and he often presents himself as incapable of participating and/or spiteful of those who can. But in this song, when he finally admits "it's not low-life, it's just people having a good time" the delivery is perfect and it's one of those rare, warm moments where he gives both himself and the revelers a bit of a break.
In either this version or in its The Bed Took Fire form the song is pretty average b-side material. Nothing to really dislike about it, but both musically and lyrically it is pretty thin. The words feel fairly half-baked and I can see why it wasn't exactly a priority to release it at the time.
Generally speaking, with some exceptions, I would say that the quality of songs takes a slide downwards across those first 7 solo singles. That being said, this is certainly much stronger than Get Off the Stage.
I think it was originally intended to be the b-side to Interesting Drug and was one of the 6 songs recorded with Andy, Craig and Mike.
In the poll on the other board it ranked 218 from 264 songs.
Almost feels like two ideas for a song merged to make one.
Not seeing how this could have related to burning beds (unless that's a heating option in the hotel) or where invalids come in to it.
Don't be an amber gambler
Does interest me though due to its writing being so early as to predate the US move, yet clearly showing a love and understanding of all that imagery - self fulfilling prophecy?
"Track two is called "At Amber" and I have to ask you what does "At Amber" mean to start with?
What does it mean? It means...
In England traffic lights are red, amber, and green which they're not here, and amber is being in a state of flux, neither going nor stopping, it's somewhere in the middle.
Now, do you drive over here?
I drive over here, yes. I find it easier to drive here and when I go back to England I begin to make really silly mistakes.
Like driving on the other side of the road?
Well, yes, yes. Sometimes I begin on the wrong side, which is your side, and it's catastrophic really. But it's easier to drive here."
Morrissey 'explains' the song (dodges the question morelike ) on KCXX Radio, San Bernardino, August 9, 1998 via motorcycleaupairboy & wayback (10 years post-writing).
While listening to the song again, I had to think of "The Graduate" and its amber-coloured dim hotel lobby scenes all of a sudden. Why this came to my mind today, I cannot say.
Not saying that the song is about the film, but maybe there was some inspiration in the film.
"Invalid" does not only mean physically disabled but also "formally wrong" or "not according to regulations", and that's what the ill-fated relationship between Benjamin and Mrs Robinson is.
It's a song I haven't listened to a lot because it was on my least favorite EP of the 7 singles before Kill Uncle. And it sounded a little odd at the time, using more synths than what we were used to at that point.
But it was nice to hear it live in 2020. It blends well sonically with the recent stuff from Dog and it showcases a bitchy Moz (The room is cold / I dispute the bill / I sleep in my clothes), in a pleasant way though.
A perfect and lovely song. A b-side, so of course only I knew about it! well at least it felt that way to me at the time.
The working title ‘The Bed Took Fire’ I always thought it pointed to some guilt of his to get out of bed and enjoy life like others do, especially when he is able bodied to do so. The Visconti idea of using the effect Eventide Harmonizer (falling pitch) on the snare was a nice touch.