On… Morrissey’s oxymoronic affection

“And here we come upon what it perhaps the most surprising ‘oxymoronic’ aspect of Morrissey’s work. For, in spite of the sense of pathos and privation that pervades his lyrics, they are filled with moments in which everyday things and experiences are affectionately preserved, and elevated by their preservation; moments which, if they are not epiphanies, nonetheless allow such phenomena to ‘put off’ their ephemerality and exceed their commonplace appearances in the direction of an epiphany.

In fact, I’m not sure Morrissey has ever sounded so full of affection as when, apropos of nothing, he sings of ‘loafing oafs and all-night chemists’ – an affection he transmits to the listener and which is of itself transformative; for in loving such things, he makes them loveable. In aesthetically celebrating the kitsch, the everyday and the ‘lowly’, and in the process uncovering what it is that makes them loveable, Morrissey is, we might say, glorying in their infirmity.”

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