Music Monday: Ringleader of the Tormentors

2 July 2012

Four days from now, I will turn 31 years old. At various points in my life I have been an evangelical Christian, a graduate student, an actor, a comic, a wimp stuck in unenjoyable relationships, a man in love, a musician, a shoe salesperson, a teacher, a deputy director and an apartment cleaner.

Where I am and where I come from collide in today’s Music Monday selection.

Morrissey’s Ringleader of the Tormentors arrived in 2006. I bought it on the day it was released in the United States. I immediately took it to my girlfriend’s apartment, put it in my computer, plugged in my headphones and consumed the album. At that point, it was the most beautiful thing I had heard and it remains a pivotal album for me. It is deep. It looks back without anger, but with perspective. It is depressed and hopeful. It is contented, but not content. The narrators of this album could die knowing they had done their best. They had glimpsed the lows and the highs and could be ready to go at anytime. They looked back and saw sadness, but also saw an ability never to compromise in the face of stupidity and the constant, crushing pressure of conformity.

This is one of the most adult albums I know.

A few days ago, I waited for GF in the parking lot of her building as she finished up work. I let track seven (“Life is a Pigsty”) of Ringleader of the Tormentors wash over me. It is my favourite Morrissey track to date and fills me with such love and wonder and hope that I feel my entire body will explode. Perhaps I’ve missed the point of the song.

When you listen to this album, please listen to it on headphones or as loudly as possible.

-JPR

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