After 22 were killed in a suicide bombing at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, Oasis’ 1995 classic “Don’t Look Back in Anger” resurged as an anthem of sorts for the band’s grief-stricken hometown. Now, fellow Mancunian Morrissey appears to mock the Gallaghers et al. with a new song called “Bonfire of Teenagers” about the tragedy — or, as the ex-Smiths frontman calls it, “England’s 9/11.”
Morrissey debuted the track last week in the midst of his Las Vegas residency, telling the crowd: “This song is new, it’s about England’s 9/11… Obviously in jolly old England, most people won’t talk about it — but I will.” The song’s protagonist is a female fan attending Grande’s concert, who he describes as being “vaporized”: “Oh, you should’ve seen her leave for the arena/ On the way, she turned and waved and smiled: ‘Goodbye,'” Morrissey sings in his trademark baritone.
You might recall that Liam Gallagher himself performed “Don’t Look Back in Anger” at One Love Manchester, the stacked live music event Grande organized in the aftermath of the attack. Later on in “Bonfire of Teenagers,” Moz directly references the single with some not-so-subtle contempt: “And the silly people sing ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’/ And the morons sing and sway: ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’/ I can assure you I will look back in anger ’till the day I die.”
Plenty of fans (or otherwise) took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the often-outspoken singer’s latest tune: “Morrissey expresses anger at the many innocent lives lost and even that is twisted and criticised by some,” one user wrote. I’m more perplexed by those who DON’T understand his feelings on this.” Another responded: “I feel the issue here is calling the people of Manchester ‘silly’ and ‘morons’ when they were grieving.”
No matter what you think of the polarizing lyrics in “Bonfire of Teenagers,” there’s one thing we can all agree on: Morrissey will always say what’s on his mind, for better or for worse. Watch fan-captured footage of him performing the song below.
Once he wraps up his Vegas residency, Morrissey will head back to the UK this September for a handful of headlining tour dates. You can check ticket availability over at Ticketmaster, though be warned — the COVID-19 skeptic has promised “no rules, regulations, or restrictions” regarding masks or vaccines for those shows.