Upstarts

Album: The Messenger (2013)

Songfacts®:

  • Johnny Marr told The Sun that the 2011 protests and riots in Manchester were the inspiration for the song. He explained: "I was in New York watching Cross Street in Manchester on fire on the news. Then I came home and heard this young girl on night-time radio. She was talking faster than you and me put together and used the word 'upstart'. I thought it was really funny and brilliant. She was defending what had happened in town - so I crossed the two issues together into that song.

    "I didn't want it to be some heavy polemic," he added, "so I wrote it as an upbeat, catchy tune like a kids' singalong. It's a protest song for five to 15-year-olds!"
  • In an interview with Stereogum, Marr labeled the track, "a kind of lighthearted description of leaving school and getting screwed and not knowing enough to engage in some productive political discourse but still being wise enough to throw up your middle finger and say 'F--k you.'"

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