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Meat Is Murder (song)

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Cover art
THE SMITHS song
Name Meat Is Murder (song)
Album/single Meat Is Murder
Length 6:06
Writer/composer Morrissey / Johnny Marr
Producer The Smiths
Release February 1985
Recorded Autumn 1984


Information

Information taken from Tony Fletchers book “A Light That Never Goes Out” on The Smiths:

Morrissey knew perfectly well that he ran the risk of alienating at least 90 percent of his audience with the song, and yet it was a risk he was not only willing to take but, in terms of naming the album for it, he was willing to bet the band’s career upon it. He set out on the process of educating not just the critics but the public at large without subtlety, without apology, and without guilt; rather, he set out to impose guilt upon the carnivores, even those who were throwing flowers at his feet.

When it came to the music, Morrissey had told Johnny Marr of both the title and concept in advance and the guitarist duly submitted something atypically flat, ponderous, mechanical and ‘nasty’ - so much so that it took a while to realise that it had been written in 6/8 time, the rhythm of his nostalgic and melancholic ballads.

Morrissey then supplied Stephen Street with a BBC Sound Effects album with mooing cows on it and asked the engineer if he could make it sound like an abattoir. Street succeeded by adding other incidental noises to that of the cow and putting them through a reverse echo. That was mixed in alongside the simple guitar chords and Marr’s lead piano melody that sounded as if originally intended for a ghost film.

The final arrangement was not particularly loud, abrasive, or even harsh. But at more than six minutes in length, ‘Meat is Murder’ was an unforgiving of its listeners as Morrissey was of meat-eaters.

Lyrics

Heifer whines could be human cries
closer comes the screaming knife
this beautiful creature must die
this beautiful creature must die
a death for no reason
and death for no reason is MURDER
and the flesh you so fancifully fry
is not succulent, tasty or nice
it's death for no reason
and death for no reason is MURDER
and the calf that you carve with a smile
is MURDER
and the turkey you festively slice
is MURDER
do you know how animals die?
kitchen aromas aren't very homely
it's not "comforting", "cheery" or kind
it's sizzling blood and the unholy stench
of MURDER
it's not "natural", "normal" or kind
the flesh you so fancifully fry
the meat in your mouth
As you savour the flavour
of MURDER
NO, NO, NO, IT'S MURDER
NO, NO, NO, IT'S MURDER
who hears when animals cry?

Live History

Play count (The Smiths concert): 75

The Smiths live history:

... further results

Play count (Morrissey concert): 387

Morrissey live history:

... further results

Appears On

Cover Versions