Morrissey A-Z: (The) National Front Disco

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
The hit single that never was - because of its title. Another attempt at self-sabotage?

The song rocks, is infectious and the way it powers up and down makes me think it would have gone down well with the grunge kids of that time.

The title was enough to wind up people: the fact that someone dares to name a song after the far right was still taboo. And Morrissey knew that all too well but it is just part of his personality to be brave and to go against the grain. There are several songs on YA dealing with the disenchanted British working class after 10+ years of Thatcherism and in a rapidly changing world. These songs together provide a bleak reality: some turn to "glamorous glue", others become tough hooligans ("We'll let you know"), and yet others are attracted to extreme right ideology ("National Front Disco"). Morrissey is observing this state of despair, and expressing it in his own words without judgement. He sees himself as a voice of that British working class, and empathizes with them. That's my interpretation, for what it is worth.

I struggle to see any irony in the words though.

Like all others here, I adore this song.
 
V

Vegan Cro Spirit .888

Guest
I love the song and love hearing the live versions, but I'm going to be contrarian and ask if the media really set Morrissey up. I think he certainly gave them everything they needed to do so and I feel that he enjoys doing this and that time has proven this to be so.
As far as the song itself, I mostly agree with Alain's interpretation/explanation. I don't see anything wrong with making David a somewhat sympathetic character, either. Young, misguided and "got in with the wrong crowd."
Still, I think it's possible to hear the song different ways. For example, one line which goes, "we wonder if the thunder is ever really gonna begin" which sounds like it could describe this group that David has joined waiting around for this event they've all been told will happen soon, much like the die hard QAnon people now. But after he says this, he repeats "begin, oh begin," and it's not hard to imagine that he sounds like he's really urging on this event.
Another part
"There's a country,
You don't live there,
But one day you would like to.
And if you show them what you're made of,
Ah, then you might do."
This is talking about a mythical country, "you don't live there," but it's a dream that could come true. And when you combine this idea with the references to the wind blowing your life and your dreams away, and the things Morrissey has repeatedly said over decades about the changes and the loss of national identity, the affiliation he feels with some of the emotions expressed by the people that actually do have far right beliefs is genuine. In my opinion this song is not as ironic as I thought it was when it was first released.
I'm not saying that he supports all of the ideals that these far right nationalist groups promote, but his connection with this kid he's singing about is more than just seeing him as a lost young man in with the wrong crowd. It's almost like "this is a stupid way to go about it but I understand what you're talking about."
And how far is "England for the English" from comments he made in that 2007 NME article?

All of that doesn't really matter to the song. I think the reason it's so powerful is because it is a real situation and we're able to understand this character whether we agree or not. It's more powerful because it's left unresolved and you have to think for yourself. But it's not a simple ironic statement. It's ridiculous for him to be demonized for the lyrics of a song, especially one that leaves the interpretation to the listener. But let's also not pretend that this is an example where poor Morrissey didn't know what he was doing and the evil press wanted to use this innocent song to destroy him. It's ambiguous and it it wasn't it wouldn't be as strong.
9/10


:expressionless:

WTF? a 'real situation' inside 'mythical country'??:crazy:
:hammer:
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
The hit single that never was - because of its title. Another attempt at self-sabotage?

The song rocks, is infectious and the way it powers up and down makes me think it would have gone down well with the grunge kids of that time.

The title was enough to wind up people: the fact that someone dares to name a song after the far right was still taboo. And Morrissey knew that all too well but it is just part of his personality to be brave and to go against the grain. There are several songs on YA dealing with the disenchanted British working class after 10+ years of Thatcherism and in a rapidly changing world. These songs together provide a bleak reality: some turn to "glamorous glue", others become tough hooligans ("We'll let you know"), and yet others are attracted to extreme right ideology ("National Front Disco"). Morrissey is observing this state of despair, and expressing it in his own words without judgement. He sees himself as a voice of that British working class, and empathizes with them. That's my interpretation, for what it is worth.

I struggle to see any irony in the words though.

Like all others here, I adore this song.

It was his performance at Finsbury Park that was described as ironic, after the NME wrote its hit piece.

People were trying to explain the picture that went from the NME to the tabloids and was hyped to an unbelievable degree because race rows are good copy.

The NME pulled the same trick in 2007 by giving Morrissey's comments a spin designed to fit the tabloid debate rather than Morrissey's intention. Journalists have admitted that - so it's not in doubt.
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
After only hearing lightweight singles like "We Hate It..." and "...Fatty," it was a relief to finally get Your Arsenal and hear more substantive songs like this one. It reminds me of that optimistic era as a fan where it seemed like Morrissey's music could only get better and better.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
In 1992 Morrissey brilliantly lampooned the far right. From 2017 onwards he urged everyone to vote for them. Just heartbreaking.
 
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