Morrissey, Famous Romantic Type Singer

“Greatest-ever lyricist of desire that has ever moaned."

Posted Jan 17, 2012



I had a student from the University of California help me out for two weeks during the winter break, which ended last week. This was the third year I've had a U.C. extern and I've enjoyed them a lot. Cara wrote a guest blog for me about Jack Kerouac and I and helped her with a short story. When I mentioned to people that I had an extern they would look at me with question marks in their eyes. You have a what? "It's like an intern," I'd say. "Ever since Monica Lewinsky was Clinton's intern, nobody wants to be called an intern any more, so they've changed the title to extern," I would tell them. But I wasn't really sure about that, so I looked it up. My on-line dictionary says:

1 a person working in but not living in an institution, such as nonresident doctor or other worker in a hospital.
2 (in a strictly enclosed order of nuns) a sister who does not live exclusively within the enclosure and goes on outside errands.

Then, way down the list, Google lists extern as someone who is just learning something about a profession as opposed to an intern, who can take more responsibility and handle some jobs alone. Several Universities have externships where students shadow someone in order to learn about their profession. This is more like it.

I wanted to find out what it's like to be 19 years old so I asked Cara who her favorite singers were. One was Morrissey. I learned from her and from listening to and reading about him that he's a Romantic type in the Enneagram. He's witty, tender, disenfranchised, antisocial, and he connects deeply with his millions of fans around isolation and revulsion.

He's Steven Patrick Morrissey, singer-songwriter, lyricist of alternative rock, indie pop, and indie rock. Born in 1959 in what is now Greater Manchester, England, he rose to prominence in the 1980s as lyricist and vocalist of The Smiths, which broke up in 1987. Then he began a solo career.

In his teens he was often lonely and depressed and began taking prescription drugs. Many of his songs reflect his depression. Journalist Mark Simpson said Morrissey was "one of the greatest pop lyricists-and probably the greatest-ever lyricist of desire-that has ever moaned." Some of his titles that reflect the dark side of the Romantic personality are What Difference Does It Make? Viva Hate. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get, Maladjusted, Satan Rejected My Soul, Maladjusted, and Black Cloud.

He insists on being true to himself, in pure Romantic style. For example, he criticized Madonna, Elton John and George Michael for having pointless lyrics and for being more interested in being celebrities than in their music. In October 2004, he released a statement urging Americans to vote for John Kerry for President as a "logical and sane move. Bush has single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet."

As for his music, I like the irony in: I Don't Mind If You Forget Me
No no no no no no no
You can only be strong for so long
It might not eat you but it would be too
So this is why I tell you
I really don't understand, this time

Rejection is one thing
But rejection from a fool
Is cruel

More famous types can be found on this blog and my other blog. A list is on

About the Author

Elizabeth Wagele was the co-author with Ingrid Stabb of The Career Within You: How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality.

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