Morrissey’s “Life is a Pigsty” Lyrics Meaning

From the onset of “Life is a Pigsty”, we find Morrissey talking to someone whose identity we don’t know. But in the first verse, we get to know that he is actually making a distress call to this person. This, by the way, is an “S.O.S.” that the person is familiar with. However, Morrissey let’s us know that despite the distress call being familiar to the person, it is accompanied by brand new misfortunes.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Morrissey's Life is a Pigsty at

All in all, Morrissey is turning to this person for some sort of assistance. And from the lyrics, it obvious this isn’t the first time that Morrissey is running to this person for help to navigate the challenges of his depressing life.

“Life is a Pigsty”

What is a pigsty? A pigsty can refer to two things. First it refers to an enclosure that houses domestic pigs. It can also refer to an environment that is very filthy. When Morrissey says “life is a pigsty”, he is simply metaphorically comparing life to a very dirty and unpleasant place.

In his eyes, this life is ugly and extremely chaotic to the point where it brings nothing but depression and frustration to all who live it. Simply put, he is unable to find any meaning in this life.

Accordingly, he repeats the phrase “life is a pigsty” again and again to emphasize on how truly depressing life can be.

At some point, he even becomes frustrated with the listener who he feels hasn’t realized how horrible life is. So he tells them that if they don’t know this sad truth about life, then they know nothing!

I have lived only for you

Then he goes on to let this person know that he has lived every “second” of his life only for them. It is at this point that we get to know how important and special this person is to him. So essentially Morrissey cares so much for this person that he has basically dedicated his entire life and energy for their sake. And the saddest part of it all might be the fact that despite Morrissey sacrificing everything for this person, they apparently haven’t been too kind to Morrissey.

You can hurt me but “I still maintain life is a pigsty”

Interestingly, despite all this, the addressee apparently still doesn’t understand why Morrissey has come to the conclusion that life is nothing short of a pigsty. Imagine not only having to deal with the everyday frustrations of life, but also sacrificing your entire life for someone you deeply care about only to get treated unfairly by this same person?! However, when you run to them in your time of need, they are not too eager to lend an ear to your problems.

This is further proof that supports Morrissey’s theory that life is indeed a pigsty. And this is why a frustrated Morrissey now tells this person that they can even go ahead and “shoot” him and “throw” him off a moving “train”, but he is never going to change his stance on life being a pigsty.

“Life is a pigsty
And if you don’t know this
Then what do you know?
Every second of my life I only live for you”

I’ve tried my best to change

They say that there are a number of healthy ways to cope with depression and pessimism. And all of these ways involve the depressed person thinking and acting in manners that are both positive and healthy.

Morrissey, who is clearly dealing with depression, tells his beloved one that he has actually been “shifting gears all” his life in an attempt to overcome the challenges bedeviling his life. Simply put, he has been taking positive steps to overcome these depressive challenges in his life that make life very depressing. However, all these efforts have proved futile because he can’t run away from his pessimistic depressed life. And this is something he claims that this person is surely aware of.

I can’t reach you

Now Morrissey desperately wants to “reach” this person he cares deeply about. But he apparently can’t. It is not made clear why he is unable to connect with this person. It is possible the reason he is unable to do so might have something to do with either physical or emotional distance. But from the looks of things, it appears that the latter is more likely. This person (whom he loves so much) is apparently now emotionally closed off to Morrissey. As a result of this, Morrissey is finding it almost impossible to establish a deep emotional connection with them.

Please help me

So now Morrissey is desperately pleading with this person to come to his aid. He strongly believes that they are the only one who can save him from this torment. So he begs them to “stop time”. It is not clear how the stoppage of time would help him overcome this pain. But he does so all the same. Then he directly and desperately pleads with them again and again to “stop this pain”.  

The final hour of my life

As we make our way towards the end of the lyrics, we get to know that the narrator has reached “the final hour” of his life. But even at this point, he finds himself “falling in love again”. It is not clear if with this line Morrissey is talking about literally coming to the end of his life. But if he is, then the statement could suggest that love is so powerful that it can still exist and be experienced even if you are on the verge of breathing your last – a phase which can be considered the most challenging of a person’s life.

But who is Morrissey really falling in love with again at this desperate point of his life? The simple answer would be the addressee.  

Life is a Pigsty

When was “Life is a Pigsty” released?

Released on April 3 of 2006, “Life is a Pigsty” is the seventh song on the tracklist of the “Ringleader of the Tormentors” album. Said album, which was also released in April, marks the rock singer’s eighth studio project.

The “Ringleader of the Tormentors” project was made public through a joint effort between Attack Records and Sanctuary Records. It was supported by four singles. The first single released from this project was “You Have Killed Me“, and this song dropped on March 27 of 2006.

The second single, “The Youngest Was the Most Loved”, came out on June 5 of 2006. “In the Future When All’s Well” is the title of the album’s third single, which was issued on August 21. The final single, “I Just Want to See the Boy Happy”, dropped on December 3.

A commercial success, “Ringleader of the Tormentors” dominated major album charts in the UK and several other regions including Sweden, Greece and Malta. It also enjoyed significant success in the US, where it reached #27 on the Billboard 200 chart.


Morrissey wrote this song along with his regular songwriting partner Alain Whyte. Production was done by American record producer Tony Visconti, who is noted for working with an array of musicians including renowned English singer David Bowie.

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