Morrissey A-Z: "Sweetie-Pie"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member




We finish up the S section with this Morrissey/Farrell composition, a B-side from the single of "I Just Want To See the Boy Happy" - released in December 2006.

What do we think of this one?
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Farrell version 👌

Rather long quote via J. Hamill's 15 mins:

J: Shall we talk about one of the most beautiful songs written by you ‘Sweetie-Pie’.

M: Ah, very nice of you to say that.

J: I’m sure you’ve been told that the alternate version gives people the proper goose bumps!

M: I haven’t!

J: It’s a very emotional listening experience. Very rousing. Did recording take place during the sessions in Italy for ‘Ringleader of The Tormentors’?

M: Yes. What happened in Italy was, for a variety of reasons, we just couldn’t get that album going. The studio wasn’t ready, there were all these kinds of hurdles to us getting the record together. About three weeks into the trip we finally got everything going and we started charging through the songs. Morrissey was singing, we were all playing live. At the end of a very long day, Sweetie-Pie happened to occur.

J: Were you experimenting at the piano?

M: Well, the writing process with Morrissey is very interesting, as the music person you completely deliver a track. You record a track, create it, and send it to him. If he likes it, he writes words over it. That’s the extent of the collaboration. Occasionally he will come back to you and say can we change the key or move this bit or whatever but usually he’s happy with what you give him and he just writes on top of it.

J: Did he call you up and say ‘I love this!’?

M: When he’s working on an album he just puts the word out. All the people in the band write stuff and submit it and he keeps it to himself what he has picked and what he hasn’t. About a month before we went to Italy a packet arrived in the mail and there’s all these lyrics to these songs and we quickly flick through and are like: Oh! He picked that one! So this time he picked ‘Sweetie-Pie’ and ‘At Last I am Born’ of mine, and he picked four or five of Jesse’s and four or five of Alain’s and a couple of Boz’s. So it’s not very collaborative. Anyway, Sweetie-Pie ended up at the end of a very long day. It’s kind of got a weird metre, a weird timing to it, it’s not as simple, and it requires a little more thought and care. We played it and it didn’t really happen. I feel like because it happened at the end of the day it just didn’t rise to the top. We continued to keep working on it and it just didn’t happen. Boz tried a mix. It just was a song I was never quite happy with how it developed.

J: When you wrote it at that time did you write the music that is now the ‘alternate’ version or did you write that quite haunted mix that appears on ‘Swords’?

M: No, the version that I created is much closer to the alternate version. When Morrissey feels that something is not working he goes leftfield and changes radically. That was what he recommended, and I think it was correct at that time because it wasn’t working. I think that’s how we ended up with the more radical mix.

J: So your alternate mix happened later?

M: Later, much later, years later.

J: Did you send it back to Morrissey?

M: I don’t know. I don’t think so. He has the right to put out what he wants.

J: I know he does, of course he does, I’m speaking from personal preference. I would love for Morrissey to hear your intended ‘Sweetie-Pie’, because it is stunning.

M: The version that I did was much closer to the demo and much closer to what I thought it should sound like. It’s also what I feel like, if we can call this Morrissey’s later career, suits him. He’s such a profoundly interesting lyricist, and he has such a unique angle.

J: Were you pleased when you saw the ‘Sweetie-Pie’ lyrics for the first time?

M: Oh God yeah. I mean there’s never a time where I read a Morrissey lyric and I’m not just enchanted with it. It’s so out of the box and well thought out.

J: I love the more delicate, fuller ballads like ‘Camden’, ‘Sweetie-Pie’, ‘Lost’, ‘It’s not your birthday anymore’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Istanbul’. I love it when he slows it down.

M: Beautiful songs. More reflective. These songs allow all of the colours of his lyrics and voice to emerge.


Regards,
FWD.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
love this song,farrel version is the best of the both above,.it is such a simple song with good lyrics and voice.
8 tweety pies/10 sweety pies.
 
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Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
I prefer the original version (the one that was released on the IJWTSTBH single). Super atmospheric and almost avant-garde. I remember listening to this song constantly when it first came out. I was 21 and just starting to live, with all the drama that might entail. Amazing.If you're ever in, shall we say, emotional distress, this song has some very relatable lines.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
To me, the first (Swords) version sounds more 'ghostly', full of shimmering, reverberating effects, which Moz maybe thought fitted better with the intention of the song; "Sweetie pie, I'm ending my life"..."And will be there to meet you when it's your time".

I've not heard the alternative version before, but have to say, that is really, really quite beautifully outstanding.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I like Farrel’s version. It has a grandeur that really suited the mood and surroundings at the time. But perhaps too much Like a U2 song for Morrissey to like it?

But after repeated listenings, the B-side version finally starts to make sense too. Another reminders that Morrissey loves ambient noise. Is that KY shrieking in the background?
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Notes of interest from PJLM:
"This song was recorded during the sessions for the "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" album, at Forum Music Village in Rome between September and November 2005, with producer Tony Visconti. This first version never saw the light of day. It was remixed at some point into 2006 by Visconti and vocals by Kristeen Young were added in the mix, completely transforming the song into the one that was eventually released on the latter album's fourth and final single. Musicians on this recording were Boz Boorer (guitar), Alain Whyte (guitar), Jesse Tobias (guitar), Gary Day (bass), Matt Chamberlain (drums) and Miochael [sic] Farrell (keyboards)."
 
I've no interest in the Farrell version.

The Swords version was the first song of 'meaning' that I felt he'd written in years. It reminded me of You've Had Her and I'd Love To.

Those three would make an interesting trilogy.

Wonderful song (Swords version)
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
I remember when this was released that some suggested that it was Morrissey's worst song to date.

That seemed harsh as, while it's far from perfect, it's an interesting insight into his mentality. It's bonkers, but I like some of the weirder production ideas and Kristeen Young's voice.

The piano version is a nice alternative.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 236th from 264 solo songs.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The remixed Farrell version is lovely, and it's great to be able to hear the original chords - however, for my money the original issue is the best. It's just so eerie, ghostly and unlike anything else Morrissey has done. Just super atmospheric.

I remember reading an interview with Toni Visconti somewhere (or maybe he posted it in a conversation on Facebook/Twitter/etc), where he said there is an entire album's worth of different versions of this track. Apparently they kept remixing it, and sending it to Moz for approval, only for him not to be satisfied. Would love to hear some of the other versions.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
Prefer the official b-side version.

The sounds really mirror the words
with the far off, dreamy, yearning vibe.

Though, would have been nice if there was more of a melding of both versions. A little bit of structure coming in around the ‘how I feel in my mind, and how I am in the world, they are oceans apart’ line (what a beautiful line ), maybe some piano, hand percussion, and cymbal washes rising up through the soup of strangeness at that point in the piece would have sealed its perfection for me.


There’s some good things in the Farrell version, especially with Morrissey’s voice being dryer, more intimate. But I think we have enough ‘sad Morrissey piano songs’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if Morrissey saw this, and was happier with the stranger version that came about through the frustration of getting it to work in the studio.
 
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The Wild Turkey

Wild T!
Turkerator
Prefer the official b-side version.

The sounds really mirror the words
with the far off, dreamy, yearning vibe.

Though, would have been nice if there was more of a melding of both versions. A little bit of structure coming in around the ‘how I feel in my mind, and how I am in the world, they are oceans apart’ line (what a beautiful line ), maybe some piano, hand percussion, and cymbal washes rising up through the soup of strangeness at that point in the piece would have sealed its perfection for me.


There’s some good things in the Farrell version, especially with Morrissey’s voice being dryer, more intimate. But I think we have enough ‘sad Morrissey piano songs’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if Morrissey saw this, and was happier with the stranger version that came about through the frustration of getting it to work in the studio.

Ya can tell that the music on that Farrell version was added at a later date,
'cause the vocals drag against the drums at some points.
If Moz sings along to a live track, he's always in the pocket.
Moz has natural rhythm.

Kinda wish Moz tried some more stuff like the official version.
how I feel in my mind, and how I am in the world, they are oceans apart’,
is a favorite line of mine too!
If ya ever wanna say Moz is a poet, that's one of them lines that shows it.
 

Phranc & Open

two-timer
I remember when they said, Kristeen was his daughter. From that point of view, it was an interesting collaboration. Seriously, I like both versions and Ms Youn's shrill tone doesn't really bother me. You listen to Klaus Nomi too, so don't make a fuss!
 
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klaus

Junior Whopper
the farrell version sounds like one of those budget replacement opening title tracks from a 2000s "hip" tv show that's now on netflix (e.g. dawson's creek). like they just didn't want to pay the extra money for the real song.
 
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