Morrissey – a post-Punk Dylan?

A couple of weeks before a Morrissey gig, a thirty-something friend had defined Mozza as “a post-Punk Dylan”.   

Though a recent convert, I’m a great admirer of Morrissey (and The Smiths).  I went to see Mozza solo at his enthralling recent London Roundhouse gig with the challenging Dylan comparison in mind – it had had me ruminating for days.  Morrissey, ex-front man of English post-Punk indie pioneers The Smiths and a solo artist for over twenty years, is certainly the nearest musician there is to a Dylan for a younger generation. 

Like Dylan, Morrissey’s main strength is as a writer: he’s a superior pop lyricist to anyone of his generation.  Like Dylan, Morrissey is revered by a large, loyal fanbase.  Like Dylan, Morrissey/Smiths had a profound impact on the direction of popular music.  And, like Dylan, Morrissey has a charismatic stage presence. 

But comparisons stop there.   

Dylan has far more depth and breadth than the Mozz.  His writing and music draws on far more sources than Morrissey’s.  Both his artistic canvas and his palette are far richer than Mozza’s. 

In a nutshell, Dylan is a great artist with universal resonance: he explores what it is to be human.  Morrissey is a great entertainer with a narrower focus: he explores what it is to be Morrissey.  

Gerry Smith

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