WE'LL LET YOU KNOW

How sad are we ?
And how sad have we been ?
We'll let you know
We'll let you know
Oh, but only if - you're really interested

You wonder how
We've stayed alive 'till now
We'll let you know
We'll let you know
But only if - you're really interested

We're all smiles
Then, honest, I swear, it's the turnstiles
That make us hostile
Oh ...

We will descend
On anyone unable to defend
Themselves
Oh ...

And the songs we sing
They're not supposed to mean a thing
La, la, la, la ...

Oh ...
You're lonely
Oh ... you're lonely
Oh ...
GET OFF THE ROOF !
Oh ...

Your Arsenal !

We may seem cold, or
We may even be
The most depressing people you've ever known
At heart, what's left, we sadly know
That we are the last truly British people you'll ever know
We are the last truly British people you will ever know
You'll never never want to know


One of Morrissey's best-loved tunes, most mis-interpreted, and hence most controversial. Critics have a ridiculous tendency to selectively quote, and here's a fine example. Never mind the surrounding context, the critics can just pick out "we are the last truly British people you'll ever know" and thereby prove Morrissey's obvious xenophobia. Or not.
The song progresses from an intial state of typical Moz introspection. The indeterminate "we" is expanded into the community of football hooligans, thus placing the attitude expressed in the lyrics firmly out of Morrissey's personal beliefs. That such a forceful lyrical manoeuvre was purposefully ignored by his critics is rather ironic, as Morrissey rarely makes such a bold move in his more controversial songs.
Morrissey's ambivalent attitude towards the hooligans is a struggle between the cowardice of the people ("we will descend on anyone unable to defend themselves") and his beloved notion of a Lost Britain embodied in the fierce "patriotism" of the hooligans. As he says :

"I understand the level of patriotism, the level of frustration and the level of jubilance. I understand the overall character. I understand their agression and I understand why it must be released ... when I see reports on the television about hooliganism in Sweden and Denmark or somewhere I'm actually amused ... as long as people don't die, I am amused."

Finally at the end, the British character is revealed as someone "you'll never want to know". Seemingly intentionally tempting fate, this line is spoken half-obscured at the end of the song.
Some particularly haunting and unusual sound effects form the middle of the song, with the acoustic guitar providing the linking thread between the demure start of the song and the faux-apocalyptic finale.


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